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Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

By Stacy Painter
published: August 31, 2020 • 2 min. read
cat sleeping on window sill

The word ‘catnap’ wasn’t created accidentally; if you’ve ever lived with a cat, you know that they spend quite a bit of time sleeping. How much is normal for a cat to sleep, and why do they spend so much time napping? The reason cats have an affinity for the snooze button ties to their genes.

Why do cats sleep so much?

The reason cats spend a good portion of the day sleeping is programmed into their genes. Cats retain the biological habits of their ancestors, wherein sleep is necessary to conserve energy. During waking hours, cats require energy to hunt and manage the stress of being both predator and prey. If they aren’t actively hunting, a cat needs to relax and rest up for the next pursuit of prey.

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How much do cats sleep?

The average cat sleeps about 16 to 20 hours out of 24 hours, and kittens and older cats tend to sleep more than middle-aged cats. However, cats listen to their body as to how much sleep they need, so there is no such thing as too much or too little sleep for a cat. This is why it can be nearly impossible to coax your cat back to sleep at 4 a.m. when they are meowing at you to serve them breakfast.

What is their sleep quality like?

Your cat may doze in light sleep, usually in a body position that allows him to spring up at a moment’s notice, or in a deep, more restful sleep. According to Catster, about 75 percent of a cat’s sleep is light snoozing, while the other 25 percent is deep sleep, which is when your cat dreams. If your cat is curled up with his eyes tightly closed and you notice his whiskers or paws twitching, he’s not catatonic – he’s just likely in a deep sleep.

When do cats sleep and wake?

Cats are crepuscular animals, which means they are most active during the twilight hours of dusk and dawn. However, they are very sociable and adaptable, which means your kitty is likely to adjust his sleeping habits to spend time with his favorite humans. Cats also adjust their sleeping to accommodate their feeding schedules, so indoor cats sleep more than outdoor cats.

Watch for unusual sleep habits

Though there is no such thing as too much or too little sleep for a cat, changes in your cat’s regular sleeping habits could indicate an issue. If your cat is sleeping more than usual, it could be a sign of pain or an illness, and if they are sleeping less, it may indicate hyperthyroidism. Be sure to contact your veterinarian to catch any potential health concerns early.

Your cat may sleep a lot, but it’s a good idea to capitalize their awake time by giving them lots of love and play. Make sure your kitty is covered in case of an injury or illness by getting a pet insurance plan. Start by getting a quote.

Stacy Painter profile
By Stacy Painter

Stacy has always been an animal lover and has worked in the pet industry and pet insurance specifically for over a decade. As a writer since early childhood, content writing for Healthy Paws pet insurance was a natural career path to combine her two passions. She currently lives in Florida with her boyfriend and Taiwanese rescue dog, Kaya.

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