Why Do Cats Sleep So Much? (Amazing Facts About Your Cat’s Sleeping Habits!)

why do cats sleep so much
Cute cat lying on its owner's knees, close up view

Why do cats sleep so much? This is a question many new pet parents ask. If you’ve never owned a cat before it may seem like you’ve found the laziest kitty on the planet!

In this post you’ll discover why your cat sleeps all day, then keeps you awake half the night! Plus, why your cat actually prefers to sleep on you rather than the plush cat bed you bought!

We’ll look at why your cat is very active around dusk and dawn, and bust the myth that cats can see in the dark. You’ll also find out why your cat makes snoring noises and if she dreams.

How many hours a day do cats sleep?

Just like us, age, health and lifestyle all play a part in the amount of hours your cat spends sleeping. Kittens like babies need plenty of sleep. A growing and developing body requires a lot of rest.

If you’re adopting a newborn kitten you can expect her to sleep for 20 hours or more a day. She must be kept warm and given the correct nutrition to help her develop into a healthy adult.

As your cat grows and matures she’ll still sleep between 15 to 20 hours a day, and as a senior you may find she sleeps at the upper end of that range. Health can play a part in your cat’s sleeping habits.

If you suddenly notice she’s sleeping a lot more you should get her checked out just to be on the safe side. A cat that’s off colour will sleep until it feels better.

Boredom can also make your cat sleepy. Find ways to keep your kitty active and entertained, so she’ll spend less time zzzzz!

Why your cat sleeps during the day and wants to play at bedtime

Your kitty isn’t being lazy, as it’s a cat’s natural behaviour to sleep mostly during daylight hours. Felines are mostly active around dawn and dusk, and this is when they spend time hunting prey.

Being woken up at 3.00 am by a paw softly tapping my cheek is my cats way of letting me know he wants to play. Though he spends time outside during the day he’s still very active at night. It’s like your cat deliberately stores all her energy up just so she can keep you awake when you’re going to bed!

Actually, this is partly true. Your kitty has evolved to conserve energy during the day and hunt at dusk as she’s a descendant of the African wild cat.

Hot desert conditions make it sense for cats to sleep during the heat of the day, and store up energy for hunting. Your cat isn’t slacking, she’s just following her natural instincts.

The myth cats can see in the dark

Many still believe cats have the ability to see in total darkness. This is false as your cat can see no more than you can if the lights are turned off.

Your kitty’s eyes are designed to see well in dim light. She has up to eight times more rod cells than a human, giving better night vision.

Your cat also has large eyes in relation to the size of her head. If we were the same our eyes would be the size of tennis balls!

This gives kitty a great advantage when it comes to hunting. As well as having large eyes, she has fantastic peripheral vision.

Her field of vision is about 200 degrees compared to that of a human which is 180 degrees. Added to this, your cat can swivel her ears, picking up sounds from prey or predators.

Another amazing advantage your cat has are reflective layers at the back of her eyeballs. These are known as tapetum lucidum and allow more light to be absorbed at twighlight.

Why does my cat sleep with one eye open?

It’s not unusual for cats to sleep with one or both eyes open. It can be unnerving if you suddenly see your kitty lying there with her eyes open, yet no response.

Cats are always on the alert except when they’re in a deep sleep. Three quarters of the time your cat spends sleeping is in a light doze.

Your kitty is still very aware of what’s going on around her and will jump up in a second if disturbed. You may have noticed your cat just sitting with half closed eyes. Her ears will still swivel at the slightest sound, and her body ready to spring into action.

This is very similar to light sleep we experience just before entering the deeper stages of slumber. You’ll know your cat is in a deep sleep as her eyes will be tightly closed and she’ll probably curl up into a comfortable position.

Do cats dream?

You may notice your kitty twitching when in a deep sleep. This is a sign she’s dreaming. Yes, even cats dream! Of course, you can’t ask kitty what she dreamt about, but we can only assume it’s chasing birds or mice!

Just like us, they experience the same electrical activity in the brain during sleep. Your cat will have REM or rapid eye movement
while she’s in a deep sleep.

Restoration and healing take place during the deeper stages sleep. This is the same for all mammals including humans. Without sleep you’d soon fall ill, and the same applies to your cat.

Why does my cat snore?

Surprisingly, your cat can snore during sleep, just like you do. This normally happens if your cat is sleeping in an odd position, or is overweight.

The soft palate at the back of the throat falls back causing a temporary obstruction in the airways. This often happens in obese cats as well as humans. Some breeds of cat such as persians have shorter nasal passages and longer palates, resulting in noisy sleep.

Why does my cat like to sleep on me?

why does my cat sleep on me
Beautiful young woman with cute cat lying in bed at home

You spend a lot of money on a plush bed for your kitty only to find she prefers sleeping on your chest! This is very common and in no way reflects on your taste in cat beds!

Cats normally sleep curled up together for warmth and comfort. They love anywhere that’s warm so their bodies don’t have to work so hard at generating heat.

If your cat decides your chest is a good place to sleep at night take it as a compliment. She enjoys the warmth of your body and feels safe.

The soothing sound of your kitty purring is very beneficial to your health, and helps you drift off to sleep. Though the weight of an eight pound cat sitting on top of you may be a little uncomfortable!

When to be concerned if your cat is sleeping too much

A wet day affects your cat in the same way it affects you. Sleeping more in bad weather is normal and nothing to worry about. You may also find your cat sleeps more in very hot weather. No one wants to rush around in the heat if there’s no need to!!

However, if you notice sudden changes in your cat’s sleeping habits it could be a warning sign something’s not right. An overactive kitty that sleeps less could be a sign of hyperthyroidism.

On the other hand if your cat is noticeably sleeping more you should get her checked out. As I previously mentioned, a sick kitty will sleep until she feels better.

Aging cats tend to sleep more, just like your elderly aunt or grandma. This is completely normal and just a part of life. Arthritis can make seniors less inclined to jump on the bed or sofa. (your cat, not your aging grandma!)

Providing blankets and bedding near a warm radiator will help keep your kitty comfortable. Apart from sleeping more you may notice her hearing isn’t as sharp, so keeping your senior indoors may be kinder.

So now you know the answer to why do cats sleep so much.

Whether you’re a new cat parent or a seasoned one you’ll never cease to be amazed at how much sleep these fur babies need.

In this post you’ve discovered just how many hours a day cats sleep, as well as the difference in vision to ours. You’ve also learned about the myth that cats can see in the dark.

We’ve looked at the sleep cycle of cats and if your kitty experiences dreams. Plus, why your cat snores. We’ve also discussed why your cat prefers to sleep on you rather than the expensive bed you bought her.

I’d love to hear about any experiences you’ve had with sleeping cats, and feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for taking the time to read my post.

Wishing you a purrfect day 🙂
Kathy

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12 comments

  1. Excellent post about the sleeping habits of cats. I once had a kitten that was for my daughter and found that these creatures are very active .The sleeping patterns do not surprise me at all considering they are decedents of African cats.
    Having these animals around will definitely be beneficial to help keep the house clear of unwanted visitors

    1. Thank you Eric, yes, domesticated cats descend from Africa, and the middle east, and their sleeping habits still reflect that. Having a cat in your home will definitely keep mice and spiders away! Though you may find a few bodies your cat brings you as gifts!

  2. How interesting and informative. I have not owned a cat for years but had one when I was a young man. She was beautiful and “chose” me as her owner/friend. Her name was Cleo – She used to sleep next to me on my bed at night and did everything she could to get as close as possible. You are so right about the soothing effects of Purring, so calming and so natural! When we eventually move to a new home away from too much road traffic I will look for a new friend.
    Regards
    Mike

    1. Thank you Mike, yes, cats often choose their owners. They often take to one member of the family in particular. How lovely that she used to sleep on the bed with you. I hope you do decide on a new furry friend when you move. 🙂

  3. I’m pleased you have busted the myth that cats can see in the dark. I just like most of us assumed they could. What is the basis of this myth?
    But it does make sense that their eyes are designed for dim light. Does this have any thing to do with the best time for their cat hunter ancestors, to hunt of food?
    I don’t have a cat, but my dog Louka dreams a lot. He yells and whimpers, and his legs move …I’d love to know what was going on in his dog life in his dreams.
    This is a very interesting and informative read.

    1. Hi Honor, people used to think cats were able to see in total darkness, but I really don’t know were the idea originated. Yes, they evolved to see well in dim light from their ancestors days of hunting. As they came from hot desert regions, cats had to conserve energy by resting in the heat of the day. It was only around dawn and dusk they became most active. Yes, it would be great if you could ask your dog what he dreams about 🙂 🙂

  4. Wow, I really thought cats could see in the dark. Do you know if that’s the same with dogs?

    You know, me and my girlfriend was watching a friends cat for a couple of months and it would always meow and jump on us in the middle of the night haha. SO annoying but I kind of miss the damn thing now that it’s gone.

    1. Hi Nate, yes, dogs can also see in dim light. Just like cats, they have more light sensitive rods than us humans. Must have been scary having your friend’s cat jump on you in the middle of the night!!

  5. Hey Kathy,

    It’s really interesting to read this article about cats and their different habits. Also great to read some of the myths about cats.
    It’s really unbelievable for me to read that cats sleep almost 20 hours a day. Thanks for a very informative article, today I come to know many facts about cats.

    Regards,
    jivita

    1. Hi Jivita, glad you enjoyed my article. Yes, there are lots of myths surrounding cats, but one thing that’s true is they really do sleep up to 20 hours a day! It’s mostly the elderly and newborns that sleep for that length of time though. 🙂

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