You might imagine that there is a short and sharp answer to the question How Long do Cats Sleep? But alas there are lots of factors to consider when it comes to how long cats sleep and how long they should sleep.
How Long do Cats Sleep?
1. What Factors affect how much a cat sleeps?
On average, cats sleep 15 hours a day. Some cats can sleep up to 20 hours a day. Cats are crepuscular. This means that they tend to be most active at dusk and dawn and sleep in between. There are several factors that can influence how much a cat sleeps:
The key driver of how long a cat sleeps tends to be age. Kittens will sleep most of the day. However, when they become teenagers (when they are around 12 months old) they will suddenly become more active and will sleep less.
Senior cats tend to sleep more than adult cats. Cats will sleep more frequently and for longer periods of time as they grow older.
Here are what is considered normal amounts of sleep for cats throughout their lives:
-Kittens will sleep the majority of the time.
-Teenagers 6 months to 3 years tend to have erratic sleep with lots of play in between
-Adult cats will have a more stable sleeping pattern and will average between 12 and 20 hours of sleep a day. At this stage cats will often adjust their sleeping habits to match that of his loved ones – you! Cats are social so they will want to spend as much time with you as possible.
-Adult cats will sleep more than younger cats as they will tend to have less energy and may have more trouble moving.
If it is raining or cold cats tend to sleep more. For outdoor cats, this will be because they can’t explore as extensively outside. However, even indoor cats seem to react to bad weather and will tend to sleep more when it is cold and wet.
If a cat is exposed to higher amounts of artificial or natural light they will sleep less than cats who are not. Cats will often sleep more in darker months as well.
4. Activity Level
A very active cat may well sleep less than more sedentry cats. Bored cats may sleep for longer. Just like us humans, feeling sluggish or depressed can result in a cat that spends more time sleeping. This is one of the many reasons that stimulating play activities are great for cats.
2. Why do cats Sleep All the Time?
It’s in their genes. Despite your favourite feline probably receiving regular delicious meals from you, part of your cat still thinks that it is living in the wild. This means that they will sleep for hours so their batteries are fully recharged for when they next hunt.
Cats need their energy for when it comes time to pounce – even if that pounce is only on a toy mouse. Running, climbing and pouncing take up a lot of energy!
3. Your Cat Isn’t Always Completely Asleep
Yes and no. About 3/4 of the time your cat will be snoozing or napping and the other 1/4 will be a deep sleep. Have you noticed that sometimes your cat’s eyes are a little open while they are sleeping? Or that their ears twitch a little? This means they are in light sleep mode so that they can get some rest but are still alert.
You might notice that your cat is in a position where he can spring up and into action any moment. This is where the phrase cat nap originated.
In deep sleep, cats like humans can be in a REM state. For a cat deep sleep tends to only last for five minutes and they will then return to dozing. This pattern will continue until they wake.
As cats age, not only do they sleep more but they spend more of that sleeping time in a deep sleep – around 30 to 40% of their shut eye time.
Your cat’s sleeping position is often the best indicator of what type of sleep it is experiencing. Signs of a cat in deep sleep can be tightly closed eyes, all curled up, having their tail over their face or in a ball position. A cat in light sleep is usually in a position that would allow it to move quickly if needed.
4. Do Cats Sleep more at night?
Cats tend to sleep during the day but stay awake during the night. Again, this is their genes. Cats normally hunt birds or small mammals. These types of prey tend to be less aware of danger when it is dark so this would be the best time of day for successful hunting. Cats also have excellent eyesight so have traditionally hunted at night where they have an advantage.
5. Do Cats Dream and Snore?
I have written an entire post around Do Cats Dream which you can read. The short answer is we think so. Cats do snore – particularly Persian and Himalayans cats as well as other flat-faced cat breeds. Snoring in cats happens when your kitty’s airway gets obstructed from skin near the soft palate and tends to be a sign that your cat is feeling relaxed (I think my cat Alexie is always feeling relaxed).
6. Cats love fresh litter
It is hard to imagine wanting to have a nap in the toilet but have you noticed that your cat likes to lie down in the litter just after you have changed it? Alexei definitely likes to do this. Apparently, this is because cats like the feel of fresh litter underneath their paws. No one knows why.
7. Why does my cat sleep on me?
Cats commonly like to sleep on part of their owner. There are several reasons why your cat might like to sleep on you. These range from pure love to you being comfortable to your cat feeling safest when they’re with you. Cats will sleep anywhere as long as they feel safe. They do like warm and quiet places. My cat Alexei likes to sleep up high. And he completely rejects all cat beds – does anyone have a cat who uses their cat bed?
8. Is there such a thing as too much sleep for my cat?
If it’s normal for your cat to spend a good portion of the day sleeping what isn’t normal? The key factor to consider is are they sleeping considerably more than they normally do? Sleep changes can point to a more serious health concern. If your cat is sleeping considerably less this could be a sign of hyperthyroidism or other health conditions. Extra sleep could mean your cat is in pain or ill.
However, it is the change rather than the absolute amount of hours that your cat is sleeping that can help you to identify if you should take your favourite feline to the vet.