The Mystery Behind Why Cats Sleep so Much
Being a master of stealth requires a great deal of energy. For cats, they have to be able to wait for any kind of action for hours on end (all the pouncing, pawing, hunting, stalking, and running notwithstanding). Plus, jumping to dizzyingly high places or perching dangerously on the edge can make anyone feel a bit, well, drowsy to say the least.
The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital ask – are these the reasons cats sleep so darn much?
Nocturnal, Diurnal, or Crepuscular?
Cats are commonly mistaken for nocturnal mammals, but they’re actually most active during the hours surrounding dawn and dusk. That makes them a crepuscular species, and their sleeping patterns reflect this. These times of day are not only prime for hunting small rodents, but they also happen to be when a cat’s predators are mostly inactive.
Of course, domestic cats have grown accustomed to sharing their lives with humans. While there are countless people who consider themselves night owls, the fact is that cats and their human guardians are designed to spend most of the night sleeping.
24 Hours a Day
Cats sleep more in a single day than other mammals (especially kittens and senior cats), but they deserve the 15+ hours a day dreaming. Studies show that cats in the wild hunt 15-20 times each day, consuming 10-15 small prey! While the time spent endeavoring to hunt and eat is relatively small, it’s immensely exhausting. Thus, a cat might spend the majority of a 24-hour cycle storing up energy before embarking on another hunt.
Cats who live indoors have no need to hunt and don’t typically have depleted shares of energy to refill. This can lead to a cat sleeping 20 or more hours each day, waking only to hit the food bowl, litter box, and maybe an owner’s lap. Also, instead of hunting actual prey, you might notice that your crepuscular cat wakes up to play during the hours that have been hardwired into him or her.
Normal or Not?
Cats sleep to refuel – and because they can. It’s simply in their nature to spend so much time resting between heightened bouts of physical exertion.
However, cats may also sleep a great deal when they’re ill or injured. Take stock of how long your cat usually sleeps, and investigate if it goes beyond that for any reason. If you’re between wellness exams, don’t worry. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital can help you determine if your precious pal is suffering and can figure out what he or she needs to get back on a healthy track.
Adorable When Cats Sleep
You might notice that your cat alternates between a half-alert nap and a deep sleep. When dreaming, watch for twitching whiskers, a flicking tail, and the characteristic rapid eye movement. What do they dream about when cats sleep? Your guess is as good as ours!
As always, please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s sleeping habits.
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