Why do cats sleep so much?

Why do cats sleep so much?

Have you noticed that your cat sleeps a lot?  This is pretty normal behaviour in cats and they do it to conserve energy.  Wild cats sleep to conserve energy to hunt for their next meal and although house cats do not need to hunt they still have that instinct inside of them (hence them bringing the odd mouse in here and there).  Other reasons could simply be your cat prefers being awake during the night or they may just be bored.

The amount of sleep a cat needs varies depending on what stage of life they are in.  Kittens will  need plenty of sleep during the day; getting used to their new paws and surroundings requires a lot of energy but they will have brief bursts of energy for play time between meals.

Adolescent cats will have much more energy for longer and more intense play times and have more erratic sleeping patterns – having naps whenever they run out of energy.

Adult cats become more set in their ways and tend to have more standardised times for sleeping, this varies between 12-20 hours depending on the cat.  You may begin to notice a routine your cat has, once they reach this stage.  They may like to spend time with you in the morning and then go back to sleeping once you are busy and getting on with your day.

Lastly, senior cats tend to have less energy and mobility and so need to conserve what they can with longer periods of sleeping. 

You may also notice that sometimes when your cat is sleeping their eyes are slightly open or their ears twitch.  This is due to them not being in a deep sleep but just snoozing which they do ¼ of the time.  They engage in deep sleep about ¾ of the time, and is no cause for concern.  

It is hard to know when to be concerned if you cat is sleeping too much or too little, unless they have really standardised sleeping patterns.  If your cat suddenly starts sleeping a lot more than usual, it may be a sign that they’re experiencing pain.  If they are sleeping a lot less than usual, it could be a sign of a deep rooted medical issue such as hyperthyroidism and they need to be taken to the vet. One factor to look out for is if they suddenly have a rapid change in how much they sleep – going from spending a couple hours with you each day to sleeping all day may be a cause for concern.  But if it is a gradual process then it may just be a sign that your cat is ageing and doesn’t have as much energy.  However, if they are sleeping more than they usually do, it could be a sign that they are experiencing pain and on the other hand, if your cat begins sleeping less than usual they may be suffering from hyperthyroidism or other conditions.  It is always worth discussing the sleeping pattern of your cat with your vet to make sure your feline friend is fine.

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