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Why Do Cats Sleep So Much & When Should We Pay Attention To?

Cats sleep an average of about 16 to 20 hours a day. The biggest culprit for that are their genes, which tell them to sleep a lot, especially during the day.

Cats sleep as much as two-thirds of their lives. Although they are big sleepers, they are generally not in a deep sleep. In fact, they are quite different from people, because they are always on alert. In order for experts to give us an answer to this question, many others have begun to research their history. This is where they found answer on question why do cats sleep so much. So cats are predators by nature that use a large amount of energy to catch prey.

Given that, they need a lot of sleep to be able to recharge. Otherwise, they would be left without prey or food without which they cannot survive. That would be it when it comes to their origins. Today, cats live totally differently, but some habits have obviously remained the same. Let’s find out more about their sleeping habits.

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    A brief history of cats

    So cats were not always domesticated, but were wild and did not live with humans. All wild cats would sleep through most of the day, and then go into action during the night. Thanks to quality sleep, they would have the strength to hunt all night. In ancient times, cats were considered gods and it seems that to this day they have not forgotten that.

    an image of a kitten playing outdoor

    How did domesticated cats come to exist?

    Domesticated cats are made up of two breeds. Research proves that this process began in the Neolithic period, and its acceleration occurred in ancient Egypt. However, some data suggest that another potential example of domestication has been reported in China. It is a very short domestication of a leopard independent of other places. Due to this and similar information, we still cannot say when they were first domesticated, because there are no specific historical records about this process.

    However, most scientists accept the universal theory. It says that ancient cats actually domesticated themselves by gradually adapting to the environment. That brings us to the cats we know today. Hence the belief that people brought cats to boats and trade routes to reduce the rodent population. After that, their descendants spread into the Mediterranean and Europe.

    Do cats have sleep patterns?

    A cat nap is quite different from a human’s dream. Their pattern is different due to the cycle being very dynamic. For example, they sleep in cycles of half an hour, an hour of light sleep, followed by five minutes of deep sleep and again the phase of light sleep. In this way they are constantly on the alert which proves the claim that they evolved from night hunters. However, most cats are actually different.

    an image of a yellow cat sleeping on a bed

    Cat’s sleep patterns is influenced by several factors such as age, type, temperament and health condition. Kittens and cats sleep longer than 15 hours. However, kittens are far more active later than larger cats. We must not forget that their pattern changes during the winter, that is, sleep lasts much longer.

    Why do cats sleep so much?

    Either way, that time is long behind us. Today, cats are our friends and enjoy the comfort of our home. Cats, especially house cats, don’t have to do anything at all, because cat owners take care of everything. However, many things have not changed. We may have managed to tame them, but the sleeping habit has remained almost unchanged.

    Conserving the energy

    So, once upon a time, cats hunted to survive. Hunting is an extremely arduous process and it took a lot of energy for that. That is exactly why they would sleep all day while at the same time being constantly on guard, because that is how they protected themselves from predators, when they would finally fall asleep. They would be ready to hunt all night, especially around sunrise. More hunting means more food, and that is a lot of sleep then. In that case, the sleeping time would depend on how plentiful the dinner was.

    an image of a british silver cat laying on a bed

    Rainy weather

    A lot of people don’t like rainy days, and they’re not the only ones. Cats are equally unhappy with this situation. They prefer to stay inside than to get into an awkward situation such as walking in the rain. They just don’t like water. One of the reasons is their fur. The upper part of the fur may be water resistant, but it gets wet very easily.

    This creates an additional burden for them, which makes them less agile. In the wild it could be easily endangered in such a state. That is why wild cats have provided shelter so that they would never have to be outside when it rains.


    This would mean getting a short nap during the day. Experts claim that sleeping for 20-30 minutes brings numerous benefits. Of course, it is not difficult to understand where this expression comes from. It comes as early as the 1800s when people began to use this term to describe a short period of sleep. They compared this nap to sleeping cats, because it is a great resemblance.

    an image of an adult cat napping on the floor

    That is true, because cats sleep up to 20 hours a day. However, the origin of napping dates back to Ancient Egypt. Since the cat was a sacred animal at the time, the pharaohs began to imitate her in some situations. Hence the understanding of catnap terms as a great way to restore energy and increase productivity.

    Adjusting the feeding schedules

    Cats are creatures who like routine. That is a fact that all owners should take advantage of. Either way, this allows them to create a regular feeding and adherence schedule. This gives cats a safe and predictable routine. Remember that a meal is a basic day around which other activities are added. The anatomy of their stomach is very simple, just like human.

    When cats get used to eating at the same time, they will always expect food then. After their stomach is filled with food, they will empty themselves within a few hours and return to a state of hunger. In that case, they need at least two meals a day.

    What is the average sleeping time per day for a cat?

    So, there is no doubt that cats like to sleep. However, it happens that the owners are even worried when it comes to the length of sleep of their pets. In such situations, they often call a veterinarian or turn to someone else for help. There is no need to worry because it is perfectly fine if the cat sleeps up to 20 hours a day. They are naturally most active at dawn and dusk. For example, kittens and older adult cats sleep longer than adult cats. They are able to fall asleep anywhere and at any time – provided they feel safe.

    When it comes to the number of hours, the typical pattern is related to the age limit of the cat. Kittens sleep most of the day with a few short bursts of energy between meals. Adolescent cats have a very unstable sleep pattern. Adult cats strive for an accurate sleep schedule, and older cats have much less energy as well as reduced mobility. They will sleep more than younger cats.

    Do cats dream?

    Cats can twitch, chatter or move their paws during sleep. That means they are dreaming something. Their brain at that point is very similar to a human. They can dream anything, that is, everything that their brain has done during the day is ready to process during sleep. That is why twitching the mustache, whining and moving the paws during sleep is a common occurrence.

    Do cats sleep at night?

    Since cats sleep most of the day, they can be quite active at night. This is exactly one of the reasons why people do not sleep with their cat. They have a different sleep pattern than us and at night they become very playful, energetic and ready to cuddle. Remember that they have a wild origin, which is manifested, among other things, by night behavior. However, owners can take some measures that will make the cat much more sleepy during the night.

    an image of an adult cat sleeping in a bed

    Do cats hunt at night?

    Research shows that feral cats have the same hunting pattern as cats whose owners let them roam. The fact is that they like to wander at night, but that does not mean that hunting is their main goal. Cats often just play, but sometimes resort to hunting to find more variety in their diet. Their nature occasionally makes them try new and different foods from the classic cat that most owners give to their cats. That’s one of the reasons they go hunting. However, they usually bring the prey home, but they do not kill it and do not always consume it. So, there are a lot of reasons why they go hunting at night.

    Do indoor cats sleep more than outdoor cats?

    Since the outdoor space contains many dangers, living indoors is much safer for cats. In this way, they are much less likely to be injured or ill due to external factors. As a result, indoor cats generally live longer than outdoor cats and therefore they sleep deeply. One of the reasons is that the owners are more familiar with its routine and behavior, so they can discover problems that could endanger their lives in time.

    an image of a black fluffy cat sitting on a wooden fence

    When it comes to sleeping, cats that live outside behave more like wild cats that are nocturnal predators. Most indoor cats have a schedule that they stick to, but also less worries and challenges – which means they can achieve a very deep sleep. They are safe on their territory, so they can sleep carefree all day long. On the other hand, outdoor cats are much more alert, which results in less sleep and less deeper cat napping.

    How do I know if my cat sleeps too much?

    Since cats sleep so much during the day, it can be difficult to determine if it is too much. They simply like to sleep, but stick to verified information when it comes to cat naps. This means that cats sleeping habits can stretch up to 20 hours whereas 20+ hours of sleep can indicate some serious health problems or a feeling of pain. In that case, you have to visit a veterinarian.

    an image of a yellow cat sleeping deeply on a bed
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