Sleepy Cat Facts

As I write this blog post, I am surrounded by sleeping cats. One is in a shipping box full of crumpled up tissue on the floor of my home office. That box has been there since Christmas. Every time I make a move to recycle it, she hops in again. Another is in a fleecy cat bed on my desk. She has been there three hours now, snoozing soundly. This is not an unusual occurrence—even though it’s only noon and we all got out of bed a mere four hours ago.

If, like me, you’ve ever wondered about your cat's sleep habits, consider these facts:

1. Sleep is in their DNA. Your cat’s ancestors burned a lot of energy stalking, chasing and killing the prey they needed to survive. Sleeping helped them to conserve energy between meals. Today, even the most pampered house cat sleeps as much as 16 hours a day, and older cats often sleep even more.
2. They doze a lot. About 75 percent of the time a cat appears to be sleeping, it’s still alert enough to monitor its surroundings. You can tell that your cat is sleeping lightly if her ears rotate towards sounds and she opens her eyes a tiny bit when she senses your gaze.
3. They dream. About 25 percent of the time your cat appears to be sleeping, he’s doing so deeply. This often involves curling up with eyes tightly closed. This deep sleep is necessary for their bodies to regenerate and stay healthy—and, like humans, they dream in the process. When your cat’s whiskers and paws twitch while he’s sleeping, he may be having a dream.
4. Sometimes they snore. While snoring is most common in breeds with short noses, like Himalayans and Persians, all cats can saw logs when they’re super relaxed. It happens when their airway becomes slightly obstructed by their soft palate—just like humans.

 Do you think your cats sleep too much or too little? Do they snore, twitch or hog the bed? Tell us your tales in the comments!

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