How Many Hours A Day Do Cats Sleep?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. November 26, 2018
How Many Hours A Day Do Cats Sleep?

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If you envy your cat for the amount of hours it spends sleeping every day don’t worry, you're not the only one! Whether your cat sleeps on top of you , on a chair, under the sun, on the computer and in the strangest and most unlikely places, know that cats are expert sleepers!

Although it seems incredible, a cat’s body needs all that rest in order to remain healthy. Are you wondering why cats sleep so much? if so, don’t miss out on reading this AnimalWised article where we will be discussing how many hours a cat sleeps a day.

You may also be interested in: How Many Hours a Day Does a Dog Sleep?

How many hours a day do kittens sleep?

If you have a litter of newborn kittens at home you will defiantly notice that they spend most of their time sleeping. It’s also normal that this may cause worry for any new kitten owner. However, as long as these kittens wake up to eat and be cleaned by their mother, there is no need to worry.

During a kitten’s first days of life and until around week 4 or 5, kittens sleep around 90% of the day. This translates into 20 hours of sleep per day. But is all this sleeping time for kittens necessary? Yes! Because while kittens are sleeping, the hormones which stimulate their growth is released. This amount of sleep ensures that a kitten fully develops in the stipulated period of time.

Although kittens sleep a lot, they do not remain completely inactive. It is not uncommon to notice that when your kitten is in a deep sleep that they will move their paws or that their bodies will shake. These movements correspond to the exercise necessary for the correct development of a kitten[1].

As of the fifth week, kittens drastically reduce their sleeping hours down to roughly 65% of their time. You will notice that the left over 45% of this time will be dedicated to playing and feeding. If your kitten is however struggling to sleep, we recommend taking a look at our article on; How To Help A Kitten Get To Sleep.

How Many Hours A Day Do Cats Sleep? - How many hours a day do kittens sleep?

How many hours a day do cats sleep? - Adult cats

After the fifth week and before a cat’s first year of life, as we have already mentioned, kittens sleep only 65% of the time. However, once a cat reaches adulthood, the average number of hours a cat sleeps increases again. This sleep time for cats increases back to around 70% and 75%; 15 or 16 hours a day. Generally, it takes one year in their home before a cat reaches adulthood. This time does, however, depend on the breed of cat, as some cat breeds take longer to reach adulthood.

Despite these long periods of rest, an adult cat does not sleep 16 hours straight. These 16 hours of sleep are usually broken up into cat naps throughout the day. During these nap times, you will notice that your cat will wake up quite easily. In fact, a cat only falls into deep sleep once or twice a day. You will have also probably noticed that cats can fall asleep anywhere! For example, does your cat like to sleep with you? For more, we recommend taking a look at our article on; Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Feet?

How many hours do cats sleep? - Senior cats

Feline old age is calculated slightly differently depending on a cat’s breed. Although, generally, once cats are over twelve years of age most of them are considered senior cats. When cats reach old age it can be difficult to notice any change as they don’t alter physically. But little by little, you may notice your senior cat’s behavior change. Older cats become more sedentary and calm. A change in physical appearance in cats only occurs once they are around 15 to 18 years old or if your old cat is sick. Is your cat getting old? Find out by reading our article on: 5 Signs of Old Age In Cats.

When cats grow old there is a decrease in their activity and senior cats tend to sleep more hours. An old cat will sleep roughly 80% to 90% of their day; 18 at 20 hours. This is very similar to the amount of hours a kitten sleep in a day. Do you know how old your cat really is? If not, we’re here to help you tell a cat’s age.

How Many Hours A Day Do Cats Sleep? - How many hours do cats sleep? - Senior cats

Why do cats sleep so much?

There is no unanimous agreement on the reason why cats sleep so much, although most studies are flattering in this regard. These such studies indicate that cats have the luxury, even in nature, of sleeping. The reason for this lies in the fact that they are good hunters, and therefore, don’t need to spend as much time hunting as other species do. Additionally, in winter, cats prefer to rest longer in order to preserve the highest amount of body heat possible. This also explains why cats look for the warmest places to rest. And it is quite clear that this sleeping custom, or instinct, has been preserved by house cats.

Another reason why cat sleeps so much is because they are bored or spend too much time alone during the day. If you’re not at home, it is normal that your cat will nap. And when you arrive home, this lethargic manner may continue. If your cat is lazy or lethargic consider playing with it more, offering it toys and spending more time with your cat. But do not interrupt a cat’s sleeping time, as this can result in a stressed cat.

Many people believe that cats are purely nocturnal animals and that’s why they sleep during the day, but this isn’t true. Cats sleep at night too!

What are a cat’s sleep phases?

As already mentioned, a cat's sleep phase is divided into a series of naps and stages of deep sleep. The naps are usually quick, where a cat remains relaxed but at the same time alert to what is happening externally. If a cat remains in this sleep stage long enough to feel safe, the cat will eventually enter REM sleep or deep sleep. When a cat is in deep sleep, you may notice it shaking or moving while asleep. This movement also tells us when cats are dreaming and that they can, in fact, dream. When cats dream and are in the REM sleep phase, they can also perceive external stimuli (like the smell of their food) and react to as if they were awake (move their nose to smell)[2].

So, in conclusion, the long hours a cat spends sleeping are completely normal and needed. The only time we would suggest being slightly concerned would be if your cat sleeps more than these average hours. In addition, if your cat does not get up to drink, eat, play or urinate during their sleep phases, take caution and consult a veterinarian. For more, have a look at our article; Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

How Many Hours A Day Do Cats Sleep? - What are a cat’s sleep phases?

If you found this article about cat sleeping interesting, take a look at our YouTube video; Why does my cat sleep with me?

If you want to read similar articles to How Many Hours A Day Do Cats Sleep?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.


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Willow Blackwell
I even have a cat, every day when I'm at home I usually notice what he's doing. He spends most of his time sleeping and is much more active at night. Percent of cats sleep during the day. The average duration of each nap was 50 to 113 minutes.
On days that aren't bloody or wet, my cat will only need to sleep for a long time.
Administrador AnimalWised
Thanks for sharing this data with us!
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