We all know that a cat's favorite pastime is napping. But why do cats sleep so much? Our Wake Forest vets offer some insight into cats' sleeping habits and how many hours of sleep a cat actually needs.
Why is my cat sleeping all the time?
Cats have evolved to sleep for long periods throughout the day. Wild cats need to sleep in order to conserve their energy to hunt, chase and kill their next meal.
Although our house cats may not need to hunt, the instinct to sleep and prepare for the hunt carries on.
How many hours does a cat sleep?
So how much do cats sleep anyway? The amount of sleep that your cat has and needs will vary depending on their age. Some standard amounts of sleep for each age range are:
- Kittens will likely sleep most of the day, with a few brief bursts of energy between meals.
- Adolescent cats may have erratic sleep patterns combined with periods of intense playfulness.
- Adult cats tend to have more set sleeping schedules that average out at about 12 - 20 hours of sleep each day.
- Senior cats will tend to have less energy and reduced mobility which means they will sleep more than younger cats.
As a cat becomes an adult they will typically have a set schedule of sleep that you can follow along with. For example, you may notice that your cat wakes up just before you, spends an hour or two eating and socializing with you, and then goes back to sleep while you go about your business.
Is my cat actually sleeping the entire time they are lying there?
While cats do fall into deep sleep at times it is not a constant thing. Much like people, cats are often just snoozing. Light sleeping makes up about 3/4 of your cat's sleep time, with just 1/4 of their sleep time being devoted to deep sleep.
When cats snooze lightly, they get the rest they need while remaining alert. When your cat is sleeping or snoozing, you may notice that its eyes are slightly open or that its ears twitch and rotate in response to noises.
When is my cat sleeping too much?
There is no set amount of sleep that indicates a health problem or emergency; instead, it is important to understand your cat's normal sleep patterns and recognize when those patterns change significantly.
If you notice that your cat is deviating from their normal sleep schedule greatly then you may want to schedule a wellness exam just to make sure that everything is okay.
Cats who begin to sleep more than usual could be ill or experiencing pain. On the other hand, if your cat begins sleeping less than usual it may be suffering from hyperthyroidism or other conditions.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.