If you are a first-time cat owner, you may notice that your cat sleeps a lot. Without a lot of experience, this may be alarming to you. You may ask, why does my cat sleep so much? Rest assured, a cat that sleeps a lot is almost always typical.
There are several reasons for this, all of which we will explore below. We will also touch on a few things to note if you think your cat’s sleep patterns are abnormal or if they change suddenly.
It’s also worth noting that cats can sleep lightly or deeply. They can sleep almost anywhere, from the most bizarre perches, nooks, and crannies, to sleeping on your legs or your head.
They are expert nappers and snoozers; all of the above are considered here. Here’s why your cat tends to sleep so much, and it has nothing to do with your TV choices.
What is the Normal Amount of Sleep For a Cat?
Cats are very good at sleeping because they get a lot of practice. The average cat can sleep between 12 and 16 hours per day. That’s not the whole story, though.
Just under half of cats sleep up to 18 hours per day. In general, older cats tend to nap for more hours a day, while younger cats, still curious about their world, will have a lot of energy to burn.
Is it Sleeping?
Like humans, cats experience several stages or depths of sleep. Sometimes cats have their eyes closed but do not seem to be sleeping. They enter a phase of non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM). Light sleep allows them to stay alert, so they will open their eyes or react if any noise occurs. Ears may also point in the direction of the disturbance.
They can also enter a REM type of sleep like humans. In this stage, they move their eyes behind their eyelids, like humans’ eyes do when they dream. It is surmised that cats are dreaming, too. A profound REM sleep may see a sleeping cat twitching its paws or lightly vocalizing.
Why Does My Cat Sleep So Much?
Cats’ sleep patterns are slightly different from humans. They tend to fall asleep many times daily and seldom sleep for long periods. A human may sleep 7-9 hours in one go, then stay awake for the rest of the day. Cats may sleep for an hour or two here and there several times a day.
1. Nocturnal Patterns
A human’s circadian rhythm is diurnal, which dictates that we tend to sleep at nighttime. Cats, on the other hand, are crepuscular. What does that mean? Cats have two specific periods of high energy; early in the morning before the sun rises and early in the evening at sunset.
The early cat catches the bird, it seems. On the other hand, scientists postulate that nighttime activity involves preying on nocturnal animals like rodents.
2. Energy Conservation
Cats expend a lot of energy when they are indeed awake and active. A cat’s body temperature is significantly higher than a human’s, and they burn many calories, given how much they eat.
Just like people, they also need to recharge and repair. This makes sleep very appealing to the cat’s bodily needs.
When Should You Be Concerned?
With all that said, a few cases may invite closer inspection. Not all sleep is healthy, and not all the time. Here’s when you must look into possible problems with your cat and its sleepiness.
This applies especially if your cat’s behavior suddenly changes, and there’s no apparent reason for the sudden pattern shift.
Cats need play and stimulation as much as any other pet. When bored, they may sink into a malaise that includes unhealthy sleep. They may even suffer from depression or anxiety. A good collection of cat toys will help here.
Certain types of illness can affect a cat’s sleep. If a cat is sleeping uncharacteristically much, it may be a sign of something not quite right.
- Deafness — Cats who fail to react to noises while asleep may suffer from deafness. It is true that some breeds of cats ( especially white cats) are more prone to deafness. Blue-eyed white cats, in particular, have a high chance of being deaf.
- Hypothyroidism — This rare hormone-related problem can cause severe lethargy.
- Kidney Disease — If increased sleep and more water consumption become common, it may be a sign of kidney disease.
Stress, as a general state, has its purposes. It keeps cats (and people) out of danger and usually alerts us to things that may be wrong.
However, stress can become a negative aspect of your cat’s life. Kitty may be isolating and possibly sleeping more than it should. Usually, this will be accompanied by other worrying signs like aggression, overgrooming, or spraying.
A Note on Depression
Stress and other factors can lead to depression, which is a more complex situation in most cases.
Some believe cats do not suffer from depression, but the science is inconclusive. We know they display symptoms similar to humans at times, and sometimes similar events trigger them. Cats have been seen to “get depressed,” for example, when a family member dies.
Cats suffering from depression may also be sleeping more than average. They will also seem not to want to socialize or be around people and other pets. In some cases, depression can work itself out with a bit of attention and play. It could take weeks or months, though.
Final Thoughts on Why Your Cat Sleeps So Much
For the most part, your cat sleeping a decent 12-16 hours per day is nothing to worry about. It’s part of your cat’s healthy lifestyle and will help regulate energy, body, and mind.
You need only look closely if the sleep pattern has suddenly changed. Additional visual cues like hair loss, aggression, and sudden isolation may indicate stress, anxiety, or even physical health problems. Talk to a vet about possibilities and potential remedies in such a case. Sometimes, it just requires some patience and love.
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