The Real Sleeping Beauties: Why Do Cats Sleep So Long?

How long do cats sleep? They’re not as lazy as they may look, with those soft eyes and purrs, but cats were born to sleep most of the time (and that means 12 to 16 hours of cat naps out of 24 in a day!) It’s like saying a cat aged six years spent four years having some shut eye and only two years of his life awake.

Now you wonder why cats are champions of power naps unlike the rest of us. You ask, how long do cats sleep? We can think of five reasons:

  • They need a lot of energy to hunt and play. Cats are most active at twilight, hence they’re called crepuscular. Hunting is their exercise, and playing is how they unwind and bond with their humans.
  • They just might like what they’re dreaming about during REM sleep. Yes, cats dream during rapid sleep — it can be about playing with toys, chasing rats, or just about anything — and you can tell when it happens by body language, especially the unusual movement of its paws while asleep. If not for William Dement’s discovery of REM sleep in cats back in the late 1950’s, we wouldn’t know they also experience it just like us humans.
  • It’s part of growing up. They sleep more when they’re young and less when they’re older. A young cat’s periods of sleep triggers the release of a growth hormone so the longer the sleep per day, the faster they grow and develop.
  • They’re bored because either their humans won’t play with them or are not home. Indoor cats not only adjust to where they live, but also to their owners’ sleeping habits and schedule. If a human leaves his cat behind when going to work, the sleepy cat may take advantage of that time to rest or catch some zzzs since they will get bored (unless there are toys easily available at home to play with). The good thing is, a healthy cat would definitely be more interactive when the human comes back due to a more relaxed body and mind.
  • It’s “bed weather” time. Whether it’s cloudy or rainy as long as they feel cold, cats sleep longer. They also feel the need to cuddle and be cuddled.

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