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Cat sleeping

The essentials

  • Cats love naps — Not all sleep is deep sleep. Your feline’s regularly scheduled snoozes include numerous power naps lasting about 15–30 minutes each.
  • Cats are not nocturnal — It’s a myth that cats are most active after dark. They are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk.
  • Cats dream, too — The feline sleep cycle is similar to ours, which means cats dream during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage.

It’s natural to wonder why your cat is sleeping so much. Cats have a deep-rooted instinct for slumber, a trait ingrained in them through their evolutionary role as hunters and their natural activity patterns. When you see your feline friend snoozing the day away, it’s not a sign of laziness or illness, but a testament to their natural instincts.

How long do cats sleep every day?

How long individual cats sleep each day varies according to age, but the range is between 12 and 20 hours:

  • Kittens and young cats crash 16-20 hours per day. Young cats sleep more because they are growing and developing.
  • Adult cats log 12-20 hours of daily shut-eye. As cats age, they tend to establish more regular sleep routines.
  • Senior cats (over 10 years) sleep 16-18 hours daily. Reduced energy and mobility cause older cats to gradually begin sleeping longer.

Why do cats sleep so much?

It’s natural for cats to spend a lot of time catching some Z’s. Here are seven important reasons why:

  1. Energy conservation. Cats are hunters who need bursts of energy to catch prey. Sleeping helps them save energy for these moments.
  2. Recharging sessions. Cats have fast metabolisms, meaning they use up energy quickly and need lots of sleep to recharge.
  3. Circadian rhythms. Cats have a natural internal clock that makes them active at dawn and dusk and sleepy during the day.
  4. Environmental adaptations. Wild cats sleep in safe places during the day to avoid predators. Your indoor pet retains this instinct, which makes them napping pros.
  5. Developmental needs. Kittens require lots of sleep to properly grow and develop physically and mentally.
  6. Boredom and inactivity. Indoor cats might sleep more because they have less to do. Playing with them and providing toys can help keep them active.
  7. Illness or aging. If your cat starts sleeping more than usual, it could indicate underlying health issues or aging-related changes.

When to worry about excessive sleeping

As a responsible and caring cat owner, it’s important to watch your cat’s sleep patterns. While it’s normal for cats to nap often, significant changes in their sleep patterns could indicate an underlying health issue. If you notice your cat is difficult to awaken, uninterested in food or water, or seems unusually tired, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian for advice and peace of mind.

If a cat begins sleeping more than usual it can indicate many different health problems, from respiratory disease to kidney disease. It's always best to have your cat seen if there are any changes in their behavior, as cats are experts at hiding symptoms of sickness.

Dr. Jennifer Schott

Understanding the reasons behind your cat’s sleep patterns is crucial for providing optimal care. By being aware and observant, you can ensure your feline companion leads a happy, healthy life with plenty of restful siestas.

Frequently asked questions

Is it normal for indoor cats to sleep a lot?

Yes, an indoor kitty’s lifestyle often involves less physical activity and stimulation, resulting in more time spent napping.

When should I be worried my cat is sleeping too much?

If your cat is sleeping significantly more than usual, having difficulty waking up, or exhibiting other concerning changes, consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Is it OK if my cat sleeps all day?

It’s perfectly normal for cats to sleep most of the day. However, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance. Their naps should be interspersed with periods of activity and engagement.

How do you know if a cat is not feeling well?

Signs that a cat may not be feeling well include changes in appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, and litter box habits. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to seek veterinary advice.

Are cats happy if they sleep a lot?

Yes, cats are generally content and happy when they get adequate hours of slumber each day. Sleeping is a natural behavior for cats, and it’s a sign that they feel safe and comfortable in their environment.