Understanding Your Cats Sleeping Pattern

Cats Sleeping Pattern

Photo by stratman2 (2 many plx!) / CC-BY-NC-ND

Have you ever wondered why your cat sleeps so much? You’ve probably noticed them lounging around the house a lot – or on you! – but did you know this is caused by genetics? Understanding the why and how of your cats sleeping pattern is an important way to keep them healthy and happy.

Your Cat Needs A Lot of Sleep

Predators spend an immense amount of energy catching their prey. Although your domesticated cat may only be hunting mice or toys around the house, they still have the physiology of a predator. This part of their genetic makeup drastically affects their sleeping patterns. The average cat will sleep 15 hours a day, and some can sleep up to 20 hours. Age and activity level also affect how much a cat sleeps. If you have a newborn kitten or a very inactive cat, they will sleep the majority of the time. If your cat is older and active, they will sleep less.

As opposed to humans who have a binary sleeping pattern (12+ hours awake, 8+ hours of sleep at night), cats will take naps throughout the day to rack up those 15+ hours of sleep. Though humans and cats have different sleeping patterns, they do have one thing in common – neither can resist the power of a rainy, cloudy or cold day. Most humans want to curl up and take a nap on these kinds of days, and the same is true for your cat. They will sleep more on these days, too!

Your Cat Is a Light Sleeper

Predators may have many enemies, and, therefore, many reasons to sleep lightly. As your cat dozes in and out of REM sleep, he or she is on the alert for an attack. They can awaken at the lightest sound – alert and ready for action! Here are a few more characteristics of your cat’s sleep:

  • Paws and whiskers twitching or trembling
  • Eyelids moving or suddenly springing open
  • Face or body moving unexpectedly
  • Sleeping sitting up

Your Cat Is a “Night Owl”

Like the term implies, cats are normally most active at night. They are crepuscular, meaning they are more active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk when their prey is typically more active, as well. This can be difficult on humans as their cats might try to play with them while they’re sleeping! But the good news is that cats can adapt their sleeping patterns in order to spend more time with their loved ones. They will sleep more while you are gone in order to spend more time with you when you are at home.

Your Cat Could Have a Sleeping Problem

Cats Sleeping Disorders

Photo by juiochka/ CC-BY-NC

Though the signs for cat sleeping problems are not as obvious as they are for humans, they can still suffer. The biggest indicator that there may be a problem is an excess of sleep. This might be difficult to track since your cat already sleeps so much, but if you think there might be a problem, take them to your veterinarian. They could just be bored, or they could be suffering from an illness or depression.

Now that you have an understanding of your cat’s sleeping pattern, you can help make sure they get the rest and activity they need. You’re also better prepared to notice if your cat is having any sleeping problems. Don’t be afraid to talk to your veterinarian if you see any issues. Both of you want what is best for your cat!


Have you ever noticed any problems with your cat’s sleeping patterns? What did your veterinarian recommend? Share your experience in the comment section below.






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