Ah, the life of a housecat. They are happy, loved, and regularly fed, and let’s be serious – they tend to rule the house. As if that weren’t enough, they also get to nap all day. A mature cat may sleep 16-20 hours a day, and kittens sleep even more than that. Which begs the question, “Why do cats sleep so much?” Read on to find out!
Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?
They Need Their Energy
Picture your cat playing with his favorite toy. He probably treats it almost as he would prey – sneaking up on it and just when the time is right, pouncing on it for all he’s worth. Cats never seem to fully lose their hunting instinct, and their sleep behaviors prepare their bodies for the energy they will expend while they hunt.
Time of Day Matters
Think of your last visit to the zoo and the behavior of big cats like lions and tigers. Were they playing or sleeping? Unless your zoo trip took place in the evening, chances are good those big cats were resting while you were there. Cats spend most of the daytime hours and very dark nighttime hours sleeping and are most active around dusk and dawn. Going back to hunting behavior, during dawn and dusk, cats are able to sneak around in the shadows to stalk their prey but still have the benefit of a bit of light to guide them. By sleeping during the day and dark night hours, cats are also able to avoid coming in contact with many of the animals who would hunt them.
Now, depending on your cat’s temperament, you may find that she is awake more during the day because she wants to visit with you. Cats will modify their routines to accommodate their current situations. And if you and your kitty have a strong bond, she’ll do what she has to do to spend time with you!
Kitty Sleep Cycles
Like humans, cats go through sleep cycles. Unlike humans, the majority of a cat’s naps takes place in a dozing state. This keeps them on-guard should they be in danger while dozing (you’ll notice the way their bodies are usually positioned while sleeping enables them to spring up at a moment’s notice if necessary). This is also why you may find your cat likes to sleep up high or in another “safe” spot like a cozy cat bed safely tucked in a corner. A cat’s deep sleep cycle lasts only about 5 minutes, and they then return to the dozing cycle. During one nap, a cat goes back and forth between dozing and deep sleep. So, if you’ve ever felt badly for accidentally waking your cat, don’t worry – he was probably just dozing!
As you know, each cat is unique – her preferences, temperament, and age play a big part in how much shut eye she gets each day. Hopefully now you have a bit more insight into why cats do tend to sleep away so much of the day!