When it comes to a cat’s sleeping habits, it seems like humans are either envious or annoyed. Envious because it seems like cats can fall asleep anywhere at any time; annoyed because sometimes their waking schedule coincides with their human’s sleep. So I thought I’d pull out some fun facts about cats and sleep that you’ll not only find interesting, but maybe even a little helpful!
- Cats are crepuscular…but we’re also adaptable. We are most active at dawn and dusk. (That’s what crepuscular is.) And that’s when our prey is also most active. But if your cat lives with you indoors and you create bedtime routines, it is possible for cats to adjust to human sleeping schedules.
- Although we do sleep 12 to 16 hours a day, we don’t do it in one long stretch. Rather, we alternate short stretches of sleep with being active. This type of sleep cycling is called polyphasic.
- Also we don’t sleep so much as we catnap. Even though it looks like we’re sleeping nonstop, we’re not. We’re really only sleeping for 15 to 30 minutes, and just sort of resting in between without falling into a deep sleep. But there’s a reason for that.
- Cats’ sleep cycles enable them to awaken, alert, at a moment’s notice. As both predator and prey, this is instinctual. We can escape danger, or hear a mouse or other foraging critter while we’re dozing and respond accordingly. This is also why you should be careful about disturbing a sleeping cat. They may jolt into consciousness and react by attacking or fleeing. Not the best way to awaken!
- The ideal sleeping temperature for a cat is way higher than what humans consider comfortable. While a human’s preferred sleeping temperature is around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, cats are comfy in the 80s! That’s why you often find us kitties napping near heat sources, especially in the winter.
- We regulate our sleeping temperature by our positions. Is it cold out? We sleep tightly curled up. A warm afternoon? We stretch out. A hot summer day? You may find your cat stretched out on their back, tummy exposed. This is why we don’t need blankets!
- Yes, cats can snore and dream, just like humans. The flat faced breeds and mixes, like Persians, are more likely to be snorers. All mammals have REM sleep, which is when dreaming is most likely to happen. So if your sleeping kitty’s feet or whiskers are twitching, they are likely dreaming.
- A cat’s sleeping schedule can indicate health problems. Anything from heart or kidney disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism, arthritis or boredom can cause a cat to sleep more. And while you may not think boredom is a health problem, it really is. If a cat isn’t getting enough mental and physical stimulation it can lead to decreased quality of life, which in turn leads to illness.
- If your cat is restless and sleeping less than normal, that could be a cause for concern too. It may be a sign of hyperthyroidism or FIV. If you notice any significant changes in your cat’s sleeping patterns, a visit with your veterinarian is in order.
I hope you enjoyed finding out more about how and why your cat sleeps the way they do! Did any of these surprise you? Let me know in the comments.
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