How Long Does a Cat Sleep per Day? - Cat Sleeping Behavior
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Cats are known to love to sleep. They often sleep for hours during the day. In fact, it is not uncommon for a cat to sleep up to 16 hours a day, with some cats sleeping even more. Although this may seem excessive to some, this is completely normal behavior for cats. Even though it is normal for cats to sleep for long periods of time, there are certain situations where excessive sleeping can be a cause for concern.
In the following AnimalWised article, you will learn how much a cat sleeps per day, the reasons why cats sleep so much, and when you should be concerned.
Why do cats sleep so much?
There are a couple of reasons why cats sleep so much. First, it is important to remember that cats are natural predators, and hunting requires a lot of energy. Sleeping helps cats conserve energy, so they are ready to hunt when they need to.
Second, cats are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk. During the rest of the day, they may sleep to conserve energy for their active periods.
Finally, cats sleep so much simply because they are wired that way. Cats have a unique sleep pattern that allows them to get the rest they need without compromising their ability to be alert and responsive when needed. This pattern includes several short periods of deep sleep followed by periods of light sleep during which the cat can be easily awakened.
You may be interested in this other article where we talk about where cats sleep.
The sleep cycle of cats
The sleep pattern of cats is quite different from that of humans. While humans have a fixed sleep at night, cats are polyphasic sleepers, i.e., they sleep in several short phases during the day and night. During these sleep periods, cats go through multiple sleep stages, including both REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and REM sleep.
In general, cats sleep about 12–16 hours per day, with some cats sleeping up to 20 hours per day. Furthermore, cats' sleep cycle usually lasts about 20–30 minutes, and they may go through various cycles during the day and night.
The sleep cycle of cats consists of two main phases:
- During the quiet sleep stage, cats are in a state of relaxation, and their breathing and heartbeat are slow and regular. They may also experience muscle twitches, which are a normal part of the sleep cycle. This phase of sleep is characterized by sleep that is not REM.
- During the active phase of sleep, cats are in a state of alertness and may move or make sounds. This phase of sleep is characterized by REM sleep, during which the cat's brain is active and it can dream. During REM sleep, the cat's breathing and heart rate increase, and its eyes move rapidly under the eyelids.
Cats have these unique sleep architecture that allows them to sleep deeply and lightly in short cycles, so they are awake and responsive to their environment even while asleep. Thus, they are able to pounce on prey or respond to threats.
While it may look different from our own sleep behavior, it's important to remember that cats have different biological needs and instincts that have shaped their sleep patterns.
You may also be interested in this other article, where we discuss why cats sleep with their eyes open.
Why do kittens sleep so much?
An average kitten sleeps almost 90% of the time, or about 20-22 hours per day. Although this may be considered excessive, there are several reasons why kittens sleep so much.
First, kittens are born with an underdeveloped nervous system and need plenty of rest in order for their bodies to develop and grow properly. During sleep, kittens secrete growth hormones that help them develop and mature.
Second, kittens have a lot to learn in the first few weeks of their lives, such as how to walk, run, jump, and play. All of these activities require a lot of energy. Sleep helps kittens restore their energy levels, so they can practice and learn these skills.
Finally, kittens require plenty of sleep to maintain their immune systems and fight off infections. As newborns, kittens have not yet developed a strong immune system and need sleep, so their bodies can produce the antibodies necessary to fight off disease.
All these factors make it necessary to provide kittens with a comfortable and safe place to sleep and rest.
If you want to know how to best care for your kitten, do not miss this other article, where we explain everything you need to know about kitten care.
When should I worry that my cat is sleeping too much?
While it is normal for cats to sleep for long periods of time, excessive sleeping or lethargy can be a sign of underlying health problems. Sleep disturbances in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including physical discomfort, stress, and medical conditions. Here are some common causes of sleep disturbances in cats:
- Physical discomfort: if your cat is in pain or uncomfortable, it may be difficult for him to sleep. Common causes of physical discomfort include arthritis, dental issues, and digestive problems.
- Stress and anxiety: cats are sensitive animals and can easily become stressed or anxious. Loud noises, changes in routine and unfamiliar surroundings can trigger stress and anxiety and lead to sleep disturbances.
- Medical Conditions: certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and kidney disease can cause sleep disturbances in cats.
- Health problems: if your cat seems lethargic and has no energy when awake, this could be a sign of a health problem. If your cat is sleeping more than usual and also showing physical symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or difficulty breathing, you should take him to a veterinarian immediately.
- Age-related changes: as cats age, their sleeping habits may change, such as sleeping more during the day and less at night.
- Boredom: cats who are bored and have little stimulation or interaction with their environment may sleep excessively as a way to pass the time. When cats are bored, they may lack the mental and physical stimulation that they need to stay active and engaged, which can lead to lethargy and oversleeping.
- Heat: a cat in heat or estrus may experience changes in sleep patterns, including more sleep than usual. During this time, a female cat's body releases hormones that prepare her for mating. This can lead to changes in her behavior, including increased restlessness and vocalizations.
Here are some signs that you should be worried if your cat is sleeping too much:
- Sudden changes in sleeping habits: if your cat suddenly starts sleeping much more or less than usual, this could be a sign of an underlying problem. Also, If your cat sleeps more than usual and also eats less or shows no interest in food, this could be a sign of a health problem.
- Behavioral changes: if your cat's sleeping habits have changed, and he is also showing other behavioral changes, such as increased aggression, hiding or avoiding social interaction, this could be a sign of an underlying problem.
If you are concerned about your cat's sleeping habits, it is always best to see a veterinarian. He can examine your cat and determine if there are any health issues that need to be addressed.
You may be interested in this other article, where we explain why your cat sleeps with you.
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