You may notice that your cat’s favorite hobby is sleeping a lot. Your cat finds the coziest spots, on top of a windowsill soaking up the sun, a comfy place on the couch, and sometimes on the pillow right by your head. Also, you may notice that your cat sleeps at odd times throughout the day and is wide awake right before you decide it’s time for bed. Your cat’s sleep cycle is complicated, but some of it is understood.
How many hours a day do cats sleep?
Despite all the cat naps, cats typically sleep between 12 and 16 hours each day. Older cats may sleep up to 18 hours a day or more to conserve energy. Cats sleep in a polyphasic sleep pattern; this means that they sleep in many smaller periods each day rather than the one long period we humans usually do—cats, on average, rest 50 to 113 minutes at a time.
Cat Sleep Cycle
Cats have a circadian rhythm or internal biological sleep clock that dictates their daily sleep-wake cycle. Cats sleep in a crepuscular process driven by predatory nature. This includes two peaks of activity, one before sunrise and one around sunset, to prey on morning birds or nocturnal rodents.
Like humans, cats experience sleep stages, including rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. During REM, cats may dream as humans do.
Why is sleep important for your cat?
Cats need sleep for a variety of reasons to survive, including:
- Plays a part in memory formation
- Boosts their immune system
- It helps the body recharge
- Helps conserve energy
- Helps regulate emotions
- Helps with recovery processes
My cat is having sleep issues
If your cat seems to have unusual sleep patterns or seems to be experiencing excessive wakefulness – these could both indicate underlying health conditions.
- Too much sleep and lethargic behavior can indicate kidney disease, deafness, and hypothyroidism.
- Too little sleep and restlessness can indicate lack of stimulation, hyperthyroidism, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
Other changes observed in addition to sleep issues can include changes in behavior, bathroom habits, eating habits, and signs of disorientation. If you observe unusual changes in your cat, you should talk to your veterinarian.