Cats, without a doubt, enjoy sleeping. Concerned cat owners frequently ask our Perry vets if they should be concerned that their cat sleeps so much. When does a cat nap indicate that there is a medical emergency?
Why do cats sleep so much?
Cats have evolved with the ability to sleep for extended periods of time throughout the day. Sleeping allows wild cats to conserve their energy for hunting, chasing, and killing their next meal.
While our house cats are no longer required to hunt, their instinct to sleep and prepare for the hunt remains.
How many hours does a cat sleep?
How much do cats sleep? The number of hours your cat needs to sleep and its typical sleeping pattern changes as it ages:
- Kittens will likely sleep most of the day, with a few brief bursts of energy between meals.
- Adolescent cats may have erratic sleep patterns combined with periods of intense playfulness.
- Adult cats tend to have more set sleeping schedules that average out at about 12 - 20 hours of sleep each day.
- Senior cats will tend to have less energy and reduced mobility which means they will sleep more than younger cats.
Once your cat reaches adulthood, you'll notice that he or she develops a recognizable sleeping and waking pattern. For example, you might notice that your cat gets up just before you do in the morning, spends an hour or two eating and socializing with you, and then goes back to sleep while you go about your business.
Is my cat really asleep?
Cats do sleep deeply at times, but not all of the time. Cats, like people, are frequently snoozing. Light sleeping accounts for roughly 3/4 of your cat's sleep time, with deep sleep accounting for only 1/4.
When cats snooze lightly, they get the rest they need while remaining alert. When your cat is snoozing or napping, you may notice that its eyes are slightly open or that its ears twitch and rotate in response to noises.
When should I be concerned?
There is no specific amount of sleep that indicates a health problem or emergency; rather, it is important to understand your cat's normal sleep patterns and to recognize when those patterns change significantly.
If your cat begins sleeping significantly more or less than is typical for him/her, there may be a health problem; it's time to visit your veterinarian.
Cats that sleep more than usual can be ill or in pain. If, on the other hand, your cat begins sleeping less than usual, they may have hyperthyroidism or another condition.