If you’re a first time cat owner it’s natural to be concerned about how much your cat sleeps. We’ll explain what can be considered as normal behaviour for your own peace of mind.
The difference between napping and sleeping
Cats can sleep from 12-20 hours a day, but this is divided between napping and sleeping. Your cat’s sleeping positions can be a good indication of what kind of sleep they’re experiencing.
Cats take plenty of naps during the day. The key difference between napping and sleeping is that when cats are napping they are simply resting rather than actually being asleep. This means that if something like food or a threat is presented, your cat will be ready and awake to handle what comes towards them. This means that when cats are napping, they’ll likely be in a position in which they can get up and move easier than when they’re in a deep sleep. These naps usually last between 15-30 minutes.
Cats usually sleep properly during the night; they’re more curled up than when they’re having a nap. Your cat will also switch between light sleep and deep sleep, much like the sleep cycle of humans. When cats are in a deep sleep, you may see them twitch and wiggle a bit as that’s when they are dreaming. Deep sleep is vital, as it helps with good health and energy for the next day. Although this is more likely at night, it can also happen during the day which is just as normal.
Normal cat sleeping habits
Cats sleep more during the darker months; if you notice your cat sleeps a lot during winter, it is completely normal. They also tend to sleep more when it’s cold or if there is bad weather such as storms.
Cats tend to be most awake during night time and early morning. This may be why you find your cat trying to wake you up in the morning or coming to play when you’re trying to go to sleep. Cats are usually thought to be nocturnal, but they’re actually crepuscular – basically meaning they’re awake at dusk and dawn.
Cats sleeping out of boredom
The Daily Cat explains that Arden Moore, author of The Cat Behavior Answer Book: Practical Insights & Proven Solutions for Your Feline Questions, goes over some points regarding cats sleeping too much in his book:
“Boredom can indeed cause cats to sleep for longer periods, according to Moore. As it does in humans, inactivity can promote sluggishness and depression in cats. Without stimulating activities, both cats and humans can sink into longer sleep cycles. It’s therefore very important to regularly play with your cat, offering new toys and games to explore. Social stimulation is key.”
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Causes for concern
It’s difficult to tell if your cat is sleeping too much as cats simply love to sleep. However, if you think they’re sleeping more than 20 hours a day and they seem to be in a deep sleep for a lot of that time; then a trip to the vets is a good idea to make sure the sleep isn’t a symptom of a more serious problem.
Also consider a trip to the vets if your cat is sleepy when they’re supposed to be the most awake (in the morning and at night). The causes of sleep problems in cats can be due to boredom, obesity, age, heavy diet, feline depression and a lack of vitamins.
Although we advise to seek the advice of your vet, if your cat is extremely lethargic this article by lovetoknow.com gives more information on potential diseases this could indicate.
Lastly, all cats are different and their sleeping patterns may be different than the norms just because of how they are and not due to an illness, but if you are still concerned then do reach out to your veterinarian.