Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

As a cat owner, you probably already know that your favorite furry pal is a right Snoozy McSnoozerson. We love them for it too, not least because of the adorably weird positions they can often sleep in.

Have you ever wondered why cats sleep so much though? Admittedly, if we were snuggled in a wearable blanket and had meals and treats on tap, we’d be asleep all the time too! There’s more than comfort to why your feline friend snoozes so much though and in some instances, it might require a trip to the vet.

Let’s take a closer look at why cats sleep so much:

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

If you have wondered how can cats sleep so much? And should they? Don’t worry, there’s a really interesting reason for it. Your cat comes from a long line of cats descended from wild cats. Cats in the wild naturally sleep all day in order to be completely alert and full of energy by the evening. In the evening, it is hunting time where cats have to be agile and fast in order to eat. Although your cat is domesticated and doesn’t have to hunt, they still listen to their instincts and snooze in preparation.

Why Do Cats Need So Much Sleep?

Whilst it makes sense to sleep ready for the nighttime in terms of instincts, you may still wonder how can cats sleep so much. Is it even normal for them to be sleeping all the time?

Don’t worry, adult cats actually sleep up to 20 hours a day! As they get older, they will get snoozier so a younger adult will sleep closer to 12 hours, but a senior could get 20 plus hours in.

They may have a pattern of sleep that is normal for them, just like we do. If you have a kitten or an adolescent cat though, they are less likely to have a pattern of sleep. Kittens sleep a lot because their body is using tons of energy growing and learning, just like human babies. Did you know that they have a fully developed sense of smell and hearing from as young as four weeks old? That’s a lot of sensory input for such a tiny weener!

You should expect your kitten will have a ton of energy when they wake, eat, then go back to sleep.

When cats get to the teenage stage, they are awake more, but still showing bursts of energy and playfulness, and then sleeping in-between.

Are Cats Always Sleeping Properly?

Cats have different levels of sleep, and different sleep cycles just like humans. They can sleep deeply, but they can also spend a lot of time light sleeping. In fact, this is what they do most of the time. This is so they are resting but they remain alert. You can tell it is only a light sleep because their ears will still be responsive to noise, and they might easily wake up if you make a noise. This is actually where the phrase ‘cat napping’ came from. In ancient Egypt, the cat or ‘Mau’ was worshipped as a sacred animal, and Egyptians would replicate their behavior, including the famous cat nap.

Once a cat enters deep sleep, it may be less responsive and might even dream, where it can twitch, move and even meow.

What Do Different Cat Sleeping Positions Mean?

cat sleeping

Interestingly, different cat sleeping positions have different meanings, adding even more complexity to your cats downtime habits. Here’s an overview of common kitty sleeping positions and what they mean:

  • Curled Up – A curled up kitty is sleeping like this to conserve heat, as she would have done in the wild
  • In A Box – A cat sleeping in a box is doing so to stay safe and secure
  • Belly Exposed – A cat sleeping with their belly exposed is very relaxed and exposing her most vulnerable area, meaning she feels very safe with you
  • Eyes Showing White Skin – If a cat has their extra eyelids showing, they are likely dreaming
  • Loafing – If a cat is loafing they are in for a quick nap between activities
  • Paw On The Face – This means your cat is trying to block out the light in the room for better sleep
  • Sleeping On A High Point – This is so your kitty can keep an eye on her surroundings, and stay safe whilst sleeping
  • Weird Position – A weird yoga cat sleeping position generally has no reason other than your cat is very relaxed

Should You Ever Be Worried About A Cat’s Sleeping Habits?

Every cat is different in how much they sleep and the key to checking their sleep levels are normal, is to observe what is normal for your kitty. If your cat begins to sleep a lot more, then it could be time to visit a vet, especially if they seem generally lethargic when awake as well. Cats who are sleeping less can also be experiencing a health issue, so it’s important to take note either way.

If your cat is an outdoor cat, they are not neutered, and they seem to be sleeping more, it might be that they are more active at night. This could be because they are in season, or because they identify other cats are in season. If they seem to be screaming at night, indoors or outdoors at night, this could be why the daytime is a snoozy time for them.

“Cats can have it all: admiration, an endless sleep, and company only when they want it.” – Rod McKuen

As long as your cat sleeps at their usual times, headbutts, plays and eats when they wake, they’re happy and healthy and all you need to do is enjoy them and their associated weirdness. If their sleeping patterns do change, don’t hesitate to speak to a vet. The sooner an issue is picked up, the better the prognosis for your beloved fish nibbler.

About Anneka Dalrymple

I am a writer of 6 years, and I’m a total animal nerd. I love wildlife, but none so much as my own tiny lion, April. She’s a 10 year old floofer who adopted us, and we’re so much happier for that. I have also grown up with animals and at one point we had 6 cats, 2 dogs and 2 rabbits. Pets are a total gift.

Leave a Comment