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Today I wanted to discuss cat sleeping. This is because I spend a lot of time watching my cats sleep (not in a wierd way), trying to squeeze onto the sofa, or bed, or chair, next to them and of course I love a good sleeping cat picture too, here’s a cute one of Hades for good measure:
People often assume that cats are lazy and while they love a good snooze as much as the rest of us, they are actually pretty active and just like you or me, they sleep to recuperate from their day. So let’s give them a bit of slack, shall we? I delved into the world of cat sleeping to answer some of the most asked questions about why are furry friends spend so much time asleep!
The term “cat nap” wasn’t plucked out of thin air! Kitties love to sleep but contrary to popular opinion they only average around 15 – 18 hours sleep per day for a healthy cat, that being said, it can sometimes be all at once! You may not notice your cat’s activity patterns because a lot will be done in the evenings or early morning in line with their natural instincts.
For example, Toolbox kitty Hades (above) tends to do all of his sleeping at once because he is very active in the evening, all the way through until the morning and then he goes to bed (literally in my spot) at about 9am, and stays there! Even the kids can’t get him to move. On the other hand, Pheonix trips in and out all day taking little snoozes for about an hour or so before she gets up and does something else. So all cats are different when it comes to their habits and you may find them adapting to your own routines (so that they can get uninterrupted bed space usually!)
Yes! I have always wondered this myself, seeing evidence of my cats twitching, pretend running or even licking while they are sleeping so I had a little research and it turns out yes they do!
It was William Dement in 1958 who discovered that cats get to an REM sleep state and therefore they dream like we do! It was a revolutionary discovery which helped to kick off further sleep research in humans as it was discussed that if it occurred in animals as well as us then it must be true and further studied. Cats can also pay attention to scent and sound so that they can be alert for predators or prey for up to 70% of their sleeping.
What do you think they are dreaming about?!
Cat sleeping behaviour can be affected by many things including their environment and literally the weather! (they are pretty sensitive souls aren’t they?) Rain and cold weather promotes them to sleep, particularly for domestic cats who tend to only hunt for fun so when the bad weather rolls in, they prefer to cuddle up somewhere warm and dry. Let’s be honest, nothing beats a duvet day in the winter!
If you have an indoor cat and you find they are sleeping more than normal, this can be because they aren’t stimulated enough and have a tendency to get lethargic if they are bored. Try introducing some games, toys or multi-levels in your home such as a cat tower or shelves. You may find my affordable DIY cat toys list helpful.
For outdoor cats it can be harder to tell if their sleeping habits are normal because they could be hunting, playing or walking longer distances, making them more tired on some days than others. Outdoor cats who are hunters exert a lot more energy chasing and catching their prey so they need to rest and recuperate.
There are situations where snoring is normal and where it isn’t. During REM sleep or while sleeping in certain positions when kitties are most relaxed you may hear some snoring or sleep sounds which is normal.
For cat breeds that have flatter faces, you may also find they are snorers because they have shortened noses and makes the air harder to travel through quietly!
Situations that you need to be wary of where snoring is concerned is if it comes on suddenly and your cat doesn’t usually snore or if your cat is overweight. With overweight cats, it’s not so much the snoring that’s the issue but if they are so big that they are suddenly snoring then it means they are obese enough to start having other health problems so it is a little warning sign to watch out for.
If snoring is accompanied by any of these symptoms or you are concerned about your cat sleeping at all, talk to a vet:
Cat sleep behaviour differs between kittens and senior cats, with them both being worn out fairly easily, particularly if they over exert themselves. This means that senior cats tend to need more sleep and their activities will reduce which normally starts to happen when they are around 11 years old. These changes should be subtle and if they start to happen quickly it could be a sign of an underlying issue and if you find your senior cat sleeping less, this may be down to hyperthyroidism and should be consulted at the vets as well. Alternatively, if your cat is spending a lot of time “in bed” but not asleep, this could indicate arthritis or other joint problems that need to be looked at.
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