Why do cats sleep so much?

14 May 2021

How much should cats sleep in a day? How much sleep is too much sleep for your cat? Get answers to your questions and find out why cats sleep so much!

Grey cat sleeping on blue couch

Why do cats sleep so much? Is the amount of time your cat sleeps normal? How much sleep is enough sleep for a cat, anyway? And can too much sleep be a sign of a serious health issue? So many questions! Luckily, we’re here to give you the answers and set your mind at rest when it comes to… well, rest. Find all about cats’ sleeping behaviors and patterns, including how many hours a day cats sleep, how this can change with time, and the best way to keep an eye on your cat’s sleep levels.

How much do cats sleep? Specifically, how many hours a day do cats sleep?

Cats are sleepy creatures, and chances are, your furball is curled up snoring happily right now. Sweet dreams! But how much do cats sleep exactly? According to veterinary experts, cats normally sleep anywhere from 12 – 20 hours a day1. That’s right. Your cat sleeps twice as long as you.

As for the exact amount of hours a cat sleeps, that depends on factors such as:

  • Age: senior cats have less energy and tend to sleep more than younger cats. Kittens, like babies, require lots of sleep to grow.
  • Activity level: cats tend to need to sleep more after a high-action day.
  • Health condition: if your cat is suffering from a disease, for example cat dementia, their sleeping cycle may be affected.

Did you know? You can track how active your cat has been, and how much sleep they’ve got, with a GPS tracker and activity monitor for cats.

Cat Location & Activity Tracker 👉

Before we explore the warning signs – sleeping patterns which may indicate your cat might need to see a vet – let’s answer the big question. Namely, why do cats sleep so much?

Why do cats sleep so much?

Put short, cats have evolved to sleep for long periods during the day. Doing so allows them to save on energy, which in the wild they would use for hunting, chasing, and finding their next meal. After all, cats are natural hunters (their hunting instinct is one of the main reasons why cats run away).

Just like big cats, your house-lion still keeps to a schedule of hunting, feasting and sleeping2.

Since cats in the wild are typically both predator and prey2, it makes sense that they need a lot of energy to hunt and bring home their next meal, plus stay alert to avoid becoming a snack themselves. Even the most domesticated of cats are still driven by this ancient biological wiring.

Because of this, cats tend to sleep more lightly than humans and take several cat naps throughout the day, rather then one long, deep sleep session at night.

The healing benefits of cat naps

To understand why cats sleep so much, put yourself in your cat’s shoes (paws?) and take a cat nap yourself. Intentional napping or sleeping for a period of 10-20 minutes – also known as a power nap – can help restore your energy. Studies have also shown that napping can offer us humans several other benefits, including reducing sleepiness, keeping our memories sharp and regulating our emotions3. No wonder cats love to sleep – and no wonder we can’t get enough of it too! 😴

Is my cat sleeping too much?

Changes in sleep patterns may be normal, but could also indicate illness in your cat4. If you notice your cat is sleeping more than normal, plus displaying other worrisome behavior such as not eating, this could signal a serious health issue.

Your cat might sleep more than usual if they are suffering from:

  • obesity
  • nutritional deficiency
  • old age
  • cat dementia
  • feline depression
  • infection
  • diabetes
  • arthritis
  • poisoning

Take your cat to the vet if they sleep more than 20 hours a day, do not wake up easily or respond to triggers, or show any other worrying signs of illness. When it comes to your cat’s health, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

grey cat sleeping on orange surface

Cat not sleeping enough?

Similarly, if you are concerned that your cat is not sleeping enough, pay attention to your cat’s behavior and contact your vet if necessary. There are some illnesses which might lead to a cat sleeping less than normal, including:

  • hyperthyroidism
  • hypertension
  • feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)4

How to monitor your cat’s daily sleep & activity

Getting more insight on your cat’s sleep patterns can be really useful. For example, if you have an overweight cat who *should* be getting more exercise. With a Tractive GPS Cat Tracker, you can measure your cats rest and active minutes, calories burned, and even set activity goals for your cat.

That’s in addition, of course, to being able to see where they are 24/7.

Tractive GPS & Activity Tracker

And now, time for a nap! Did you learn something new about why cats sleep so much? Do you have another topic you’d like to see explored on the Tractive blog? Write to us and let us know! We’re also happy to answer your questions about the Tractive GPS Cat Tracker, activity monitoring for cats, and more! 😃

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