Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?
And what his crazy sleeping positions mean 😴
Doesn’t it seem like your cat is sleeping pretty much all the time?
If you’re wondering why your BFF sleeps so much, it has a lot to do with his wild roots and his natural hunting instincts.
The Dodo spoke with Dr. Michelle Burch, a veterinarian from Safe Hounds Pet Insurance, to learn all about why cats sleep so much.
How many hours a day do cats sleep?
At minimum, cats can sleep for half the day.
“Cats can sleep anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a day,” Dr. Burch told The Dodo.
Younger or older cats tend to sleep the most.
“Kittens tend to sleep more than 20 hours a day as they are using their energy to grow,” Dr. Burch said. “Senior cats will sleep closer to 20 hours a day due to having less energy and mobility.”
Why do cats sleep so much?
The reason cats sleep so much actually goes back to their wild ancestors.
“Wild cats evolved a need to sleep long hours through the day to conserve their energy and prepare to hunt, chase and kill their prey,” Dr. Burch said. “Our domestic cats have maintained this sleep instinct but do not need to hunt for their meal.”
Instead of hunting for prey like his ancestors did, your cat will probably spend the extra energy from his long catnaps playing with his favorite toys.
“Their conserved energy is prepared for running, pouncing, climbing and stalking,” Dr. Burch said.
Is my cat sleeping too much?
If you feel like maybe your cat is sleeping too much — or even not enough — reach out to your vet.
“If you see that your cat suddenly has a change in sleep pattern, I recommend having them examined by your veterinarian,” Dr. Burch said.
A difference in his sleep schedule could be a sign that your cat’s sick.
“There can be an underlying medical reason for their increase in sleeping,” Dr. Burch said. “A cat sleeping more can be a sign of illness or pain, while a cat sleeping less can be a symptom of hyperthyroidism (thyroid is overactive).”
What do my cat’s sleeping positions mean?
Cats sleep in a whole bunch of different positions, and it turns out that each one can say a lot about his mood or his comfort level.
You might’ve noticed that your cat will sleep on his back, with his belly facing up.
“Cats that sleep belly-up feel entirely relaxed and safe in your household,” Dr. Burch said. “Your cat is comfortable displaying its most vulnerable area while sleeping.”
The loaf position happens when your cat falls asleep sitting up with his paws tucked beneath him, which makes him look like a loaf of bread.
“This sleeping position typically indicates your cat will only be taking a short, shallow cat nap and will be moving about the rest of its day quickly,” Dr. Burch said. “A cat will also be able to respond rapidly to a threat or stimulus in this position.”
On his side
Sometimes your cat might prefer to sleep on his side.
“Cats who sleep on their side are relaxed and comfortable in their environment while getting in a deep sleep,” Dr. Burch said. “Cats are not on alert when sleeping in this position.” So if your cat’s sleeping on his side, try extra hard not to disturb him!
Paw over his face
If your cat’s covering his face while he’s sleeping, it’s because he wants to be left alone, or it’s not dark enough for him.
“The adorable pose of your cat sleeping with its paw over its face can indicate not wanting to be disturbed or wanting to block out light from the environment,” Dr. Burch said. “Typically, this position is achieved while your cat is sleeping soundly.”
If your cat takes on this position, and it’s bright in the room, you can dim the lights or block the windows so he’s more comfortable.
The monorail position happens when your cat falls asleep on an elevated platform, like along the back of the couch or on an arm rest.
“Your cat is sleeping on a narrow higher location in the monorail position and allowing its legs to dangle from the sides,” Dr. Burch said. “This sleeping position is best for cats to survey the entire area while getting in some snoozes.”
When your cat curls up into a ball while he sleeps, it’s because that position makes him feel secure.
“Cats that form a circle with their bodies while sleeping with the head tucked to their chest want to stay protected,” Dr. Burch said. “In this position, cats are keeping their vulnerable organs and body parts tucked away.”
So while it seems like your cat sleeps all the time, that’s perfectly normal. The only time you need to be concerned is if his sleeping patterns are different than usual — otherwise just let him sleep.
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