Those of us who only recently got to deal with a cat in our home perhaps took notice of the fact that these animals tend to sleep… a lot. In fact, it seems that cats tend to sleep an average of fifteen hours per day, while there are some of them who can hit the sack for some crazy amounts of time, up until twenty hours a day.
Now, you are probably wondering ‘why do cats sleep so much?’ and that is perfectly normal for a newbie cat owner. Luckily, you stumbled across this carefully researched article which will thoroughly explain the reasons. But enough with patting ourselves on the back and let’s get to it.
A history lesson
So, why is your cat sleeping a lot? Before we go ahead and ask ourselves ‘how much do cats sleep a day?’ let us think about our pets’ history. Our cute little fuzz balls come from a line of predators, so not from boring animals that like to graze or forage grains or grass.
What does this mean? Well, a carnivore has to be in tip-top shape in order to eat. That’s because a carnivore’s prey doesn’t grow on trees, meaning that there is a lot of work at stake. Think about those Discovery Channel documentaries about lions or cheetahs. Once they come across potential prey, they shift into stealth mode, inching closer and closer until they are ready to pounce.
Felines are what experts call an ‘ambush predator’ and this type of predator requires short but demanding bursts of fuel while they attempt to catch something to eat. Because they are not scavengers like hyenas, felines have to eat fresh meat and this means that they have to hunt on a constant basis.
Hunting requires a lot of energy and you also have to add that smaller cats have to deal with the stress of being potential prey themselves. All this means that a predator cat has to be really well prepared for numerous hunting attempts.
How can a cat conserve energy as efficiently as possible, then? Sleep. They must sleep in order to store up fuel and recharge themselves before the following hunt. So, how many hours do cats sleep? The answer varies from 12 to 16 hours a day, on average.
Another important factor to consider
Now that we found out the answer to ‘how many hours a day do cats sleep?’ let’s add another important aspect to consider. We are sure that at first you panicked when you saw your snoozefest of an animal and start asking around ‘how long do cats sleep?’ and ‘is this normal to happen?’ without finding a satisfying answer.
Well, let’s bring the big cats back for another round of evolutionary reasoning. Since our pet shares his/her roots with all the voracious felines from the savannah or the Bengali region, we can explain his or her behavior quite easily through analogies and comparisons.
The majority of felines are active between dusk and dawn, making them nocturnal animals. That’s why Felix can see so well in the dark — years and years of evolution perfected his/her eyes to catch deer while not bumping his/her head on trees.
This means that these animals have to get their sleep mostly during the day. This is a never-ending cycle which you can’t (and mustn’t) try to change. You wouldn’t like to change your whole lifestyle just because another being’s feeling like it, right?
Is your cat twitching in her sleep? Read this.
First of all, there’s nothing to worry about, so you can relax. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, there are numerous cats that experience some small twitches while they nap. Does your cat sleep in bed alongside you, on the sofa does she have her own space for this? No matter where your feline buddy sleeps, a cat goes through three stages while doing so.
The twitches seem to occur during a phase of sleep which is similar to our own rapid eye movement period. That’s when we experience dreams and get the best kind of rest, meaning that even your little kitten might be in fact dreaming of finally catching that eluding, pestering mouse.
Sleeping next to you
This is yet another important topic we need to go through especially if you are just beginning your relationship with your cat. What does it mean when your cat sleeps on or right next to you? First of all, you should see it as a really good thing that your cat likes to sleep on or with you.
That’s because these animals can be really vulnerable and when they sleep they like to find a place where they can feel protected. The fact that they choose to share this space with you means that you have completely gained their trust so it is a big confirmation sign that your little pet likes you and trusts you.
Besides this heartwarming reason, we mustn’t get fooled too easily because cats mainly look to themselves. Sure, it is nice to think that your cat trusts you but you have to imagine that for them you are like a huge source of warmth. That’s why your cat likes your blanket, your pillow and your head.
No, really. Think about it. We have to wear hats when it is cold outside, right? Why do you think that is? Because a lot of our heat gets lost through our head, meaning that our cats love the big stove we have on our shoulders.
Why do cats like to sleep with their owners? To sum it up, they do it when the owner is a decent human being who treats them right and when he or she has plenty of body heat to spare.
The bottom line
There are tons of questions you can ask about your cat, even if you are a veteran cat owner. They are truly majestic animals who conquered the world long before the internet made their job easier. Hopefully, we managed to answer some of your questions to help you understand your feline buddy better.
If you enjoyed reading this article, maybe you’d like to check out another we wrote recently: Bringing a new cat home.