What Do Cats Dream About?

As cats spend so much of their life sleeping, you may be wondering what do cats dream about? Watching your peaceful kitty sleeping you’ve probably noticed her twitching and even snoring.

Does this mean she’s dreaming, and if so, what will her dreams be about? Even if we don’t always remember our dreams, we all have them during sleep. Knowing your pets dream as well can be fascinating, making you wonder what images they see.

In this post you’ll discover what goes on in your cat’s brain during sleep, and why she twitches. Plus, some of the things that may crop up in her dreams from daily life and lots more.

It always amazes me how much cats seem to love sleeping. On average our feline friends sleep between 15-20 hours a day, and curl up anywhere they feel like. Whether on your laptop, windowsill, kitchen counter, or laundry basket, they’ll find somewhere cosy!

Your cat’s sleep cycle

cat curled up asleep

Similar to us, cats experience several stages of sleep which occur in cycles. These are deep or NON-REM sleep and REM sleep. Your cat’s health and wellbeing depends on sleep just as it does with you. The only difference being, your kitty needs a lot more of it!

Deep sleep is when healing and cell renewal take place, whereas the REM stage of sleep is when information stored during the day is filed and sorted. Everything your cat experiences from playing with a toy to being cuddled is filed away somewhere in the brain.

Kittens sleep a lot more than adults, so it’s assumed they dream a lot more as well. Just like human babies they are learning and making sense of the world around them. As a result, plenty of REM sleep is needed for storing all these new and exciting experiences.

Do cats dream in the same way we do?

what do cats dream about when asleep

We know cats dream by their twitching body movements when asleep. In fact it’s been proven by scientists that animals dream. A study was carried on rats during which their brains were monitored for activity while awake. Then, when asleep. Astonishingly, the exact same brain pattern was found in both.

This indicates activities the rats performed during the day were acted out in dreams. At one time it was believed only humans dreamed, but nowadays it’s assumed all animals are capable of dreaming including our feline friends.

As your cat experiences the world in a different way to you her dreams will reflect that. However she will dream in a similar way to you. She’ll experience deep sleep and REM just the same as you, but her images will revolve around her own little world.

Unfortunately, as no cat has ever told their owner what they dreamt about, we’ll never know exactly what goes on! However, with leg twitching movements it can be assumed your cat is either chasing a toy or hunting.

What do cats dream about?

Most cats with a loving home will probably dream about eating a favourite food, playing with a toy, or cuddling up to their owner on the sofa. If your kitty goes outside for a night prowl this will be reflected in her dreams.

Rapid eye movements, twitching legs and swishing tail may indicate she’s chasing prey. We often find ourselves working out problems during sleep, with dreams providing solutions. Maybe your kitty is working out how to open the box of cat treats in her dreams!!

Whereas dogs may dream about finding ways to please their owners, cats are far more likely to fantasies about their owners pleasing them!! Sleep is when your furry feline may be plotting to make you feed her more!

Do cats dream in colour?

As we know cats are able to see colour, it makes sense that they’d dream in colour as well. When was the last time you had a dream in black and white?? Of course, we also know cats don’t see colour in the same way as us, so that will be reflected in the dream images they see.

Do cats have nightmares?

Unless your cat is able to tell you she’s had a bad dream there’s no way of knowing. However, twitching paws in a frantic manner, jerking movements of the head, and chattering noises, would suggest a nightmare. It could be your cat is reliving a negative experience either from her past or something that happened during the day when she was out.

Never wake your cat up if you think she’s having a bad dream. Chances are you may be scratched or bitten. This is because she may be confused on first waking and still be reacting to the events from her dream.

Do cats sleepwalk?

While some people experience sleepwalking, it’s highly unlikely to occur in cats. A mechanism in the brain paralyses muscles during REM sleep. This is found in all animals including humans. Though humans can bypass this mechanism it’s extremely rare in other animals.

The only time you’d see your cat sleepwalking is if she’d suffered brain damage. A professor from a French university in Lyons discovered that cats with lesions in the brainstem were able to act out dreams.

Some cats included in the study appeared to be stalking prey as they were crouching low. In addition, some seemed to be chasing imaginary toys, while others looked for food. This is very rare and you won’t find dozen’s of kitties sleepwalking on the streets like zombies from the living dead!!

In conclusion

So now you know the answer to “what do cats dream about?” you have some idea of what’s going on in your kitty’s little head. As with humans and cats, the brain is always active. In fact, lack of sleep can cause severe health problems.

REM stage of sleep serves to process information and help your cat make sense of the world around her. Kittens sleep most of the time as their bodies are growing and they’re taking in a lot of information. Adult cats sleep a bit less unless they’re unwell, and elderly cats sleep even more!

As previously mentioned, you can only guess what your cat is dreaming about. She’s unlikely to keep a dream diary and unless she suddenly gets the power of speech, she won’t be telling you either! Quivering whiskers, fluttering eyelids, and twitching paws suggest she’s probably running or hunting.

Avoid disturbing your cat during deep sleep as this is when the body is repairing itself or carrying out general maintenance. Provide you feline friend with a cosy place to sleep that’s private and somewhere she won’t be disturbed.

There are plenty of cosy cat beds to choose from and you could even make your own. If your cat sleeps with you, provide a blanket so your duvet isn’t covered in cat hairs!

If you’ve enjoyed this post please share. Also, if you have any questions or would like to share experiences, please leave your comment below.

Wishing you a purrfect day:)


6 thoughts on “What Do Cats Dream About?”

  1. Interesting article. I remember seeing a video of a dog sleeping on his side and dreaming about chasing something. He woke up, kept running, and slammed into a wall LOL It was hilarious and at the same time interesting to think about how animals (cats, dogs, etc) have dreams too.

    • Hi Ivan, that sounds like a very funny video:) Yes, it’s a very interesting topic, and gives us all something to think about. Sadly, we’ll never know what our pets dream about, but at least we can make a guess!

  2. This information you have provided here in your post gives me a new perspective on cats – never thought of them having dreams or nightmares!…….This is a great niche and you’ve got your information in place to help people who have cats as pets. Well done.

  3. How interesting article-I always thought cats are normaly dreaming. I used to watch our late cat while sleeping. It wasn’t difficult, as, as you say they are capable of, she was sleeping a huge part of the day. She mostly slept in this adorable position of her body curled up and her head twisted so that her muzzle was facing the ceiling, while the top of her head was flat on the surface. She could get into this position while playing or “cuddleing”, so I assumed she does it when she was pleased or happy. It even appeared she smiled, although some would argue cats can’t smile. Anyway, at the moment she was waking up, she made this stretch, almost as the one we people do after a good sleep. So, always though that’s a reliable sign that she had a nice dream.

    • Hi Kerry Anne, thanks for sharing your story:) I’m sure cats can smile, especially when having a nice dream! Yes, watching a cat stretch after waking up is much like a person stretching after a good night’s sleep! In many ways they are similar to us:)


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