Cat sleeping habits
Adult domestic cats sleep between 15 and 16 hours a day, which is about 70% of the day. However, wild cats, or those that have access to the outside of the house (garden) greatly reduce this rest time. The difference between the number of hours an adult cat sleeps and one that is wild (or one with access to the street) is due to a lack of stimulation indoors. Inside the home, there are no prey to hunt, new spaces to explore, and no dangers to avoid. So, the cat chose to sleep. You don’t need to be that active. Also, anyone who lives with a cat will know that these cats are nocturnal animals, so a good portion of those 15 hours they spend sleeping happens during the day. As veterinarian Adriana Velázquez explains:
Cats are nocturnal animals by nature. Wild cats hunt at night, and domestic cats have retained this tendency to be nocturnal lovers. But this nocturnal habit is also a consequence of the lack of physical activity during the day while we are at work. They usually spend the whole day sleeping. When we come home from work, he starts his day. We provide them with food, toys and social interaction. In the middle of the night they hunt their prey while they are in their most noisy moments.”
Therefore, to the question of how many hours a cat sleeps, we must answer “it depends”, since the time of rest varies according to the environment in which the cat lives, and of course, other determining factors such as age
If your cat sleeps a lot, this concerns you
As we said before, domestic cats exhibit many behaviors that mirror that of their wild relatives. In this sense, one should not think that cats living inside an apartment do not need to move around, search, explore new things and overcome challenges.
In fact, a cat that sleeps out of boredom can become overweight and feline obese, lose agility, and maintain itself worse than one whose owners worry about stimulation.
This is why it is worth applying some environmental stimulation guidelines for cats. Mealtime, for example, can be used as exercise to stimulate the cat’s mind.
How many hours do cats sleep at night?
As we have seen, an adult domestic cat sleeps between 15 and 16 hours, which is 70% of his time. However, young kittens sleep a lot (up to 20 hours) and elderly cats too (up to 20 hours in light, sporadic sleep). Let’s see why and what are their rest times.
How many hours do kittens sleep?
During the first weeks of their lives, kittens sleep practically all day and can be up to 20 hours. In newborn kittens, this happens because during the first days of life kittens have not even developed the neural connections that allow them to interact with the environment, so they do not need to be awake to do so. Later, around 5 weeks, the sleep pattern will change and the kittens will start to reduce their sleeping hours dramatically until they adjust to the normal hours of any adult cat. When we talk about how many hours a kitten sleeps, we have to keep in mind that it should not surprise us that almost 90% of the hours of the day, cats grow and develop while they sleep. The release of certain hormones by the cat’s body is regulated by the so-called circadian cycles, that is, the biological clock of cats. Among these hormones is growth hormone, the production of which is stimulated by periods of slow-wave sleep.
To understand why a cat sleeps so much, we need to know that the peak secretion of growth hormone occurs in deep sleep, 20 minutes or less after the start of the sleep cycle. This is why kittens sleep longer than adults, but also sleep more deeply. Just like small children: they need to grow.
You may be interested in: Caring for kittens
How many hours does an elderly cat sleep?
Older cats are less active, so their muscle tone decreases as well as their ability to run, jump or climb. In addition, owners of older cats tend to play with them less and stimulate them less. Which is a mistake because it can promote joint degeneration and increase a cat’s lack of interest in staying physically and cognitively active. In general, older cats can sleep up to 20 hours and like to rest in quiet places. Away from traffic areas where they are not disturbed.
What do cats dream about
In addition to knowing how many hours a cat sleeps. Many of us who live with a cat are interested in knowing what our feline companions dream about. We must make it clear that cats do not dream throughout their sleep. But only when they are in the deep sleep phase. Physician and clinical and developmental psychologist Deirdre Barrett, of Harvard Medical School, conducted a study to investigate what dreams of pets such as dogs and cats consist of. In the case of cats, they have been shown to appear to dream of mice or small prey. Barrett says he knows more about cat dreams thanks to researcher Michel Goffin. Who studied the small area of a cat’s brain that inhibits movement during deep sleep. In Joven’s study, the cats studied lay motionless and were silent during the other stages of sleep, then hopped up and off, arching their backs during deep sleep. Mimicking traditional hunting positions, as if a mouse had approached and wanted to catch it.