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Why do cats sleep so much?

Why do cats sleep so much?

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How to choose the best bed?

Cats love to snooze! Did you know that they are asleep for well over half of their lives, around 15 hours per day on average? But what is the reason behind all these cat naps? The wild ancestors of our pet cats were African Wildcats. They evolved to be excellent hunters, generally having shorter bursts of intense activity while they were trying to catch a meal. This meant being ‘crepuscular’, naturally more active at dawn and dusk, to coincide with when their prey were out and about. The rest of the time they would have been snoozing and conserving energy.

Where do cats sleep?

Cats view their world as very three-dimensional, and they are unlikely to limit themselves to beds at ground-level. In fact, many moggies love to perch up high so they can keep a watchful eye while they rest. This can mean that they commandeer one of your bookshelves, or the top of your wardrobe. These individuals might love a cat tree or tower, and there are some great options that also double as a scratching post.

If you are more likely to find your cat hiding under beds, then a hidey house could be more their thing. These can give an extra sense of security, especially for more nervous felines. However, many pets enjoy having a variety of options and might choose to lounge on the sofa on some occasions, but make use of a basket, tree or cat igloo other times. There’s really no right answer to: ‘where should cats sleep?’ The most important thing is that your cat feels they have a safe space to rest, particularly in multi-pet households or if there are young kids around.

Other considerations when choosing beds for your kitty include ease of washing the fabric, particularly if you have a long-haired pet. They should also have a bed that is long enough to stretch out properly. Although you will probably notice they also squeeze themselves into tiny spots too, it is important they have the option of enough space to get comfortable. Older felines might need a bed with lower sides, to make access easier, particularly if they are arthritic.

Why do cats sleep with their head upside down?

Curious cats! We don’t really know the answer to some of their more unusual sleeping antics. Felines are naturally very flexible and adopt all sorts of weird and wonderful positions. There are some theories that sleeping with their head upside down helps to keep them warmer by covering the thinner skin on their ears. In all likelihood, they’re probably just getting comfy.

Ginger cat sleeping in bed in article about why cats sleep so much.
Kittens and older cats often need more sleep

How long should cats sleep?

Cats should sleep for about 12-16 hours a day. Although there can be variation between individuals, if you notice a significant change and your cat is sleeping a lot more or less than they used to it is worth speaking to a vet for advice. This can be one of the signs of cat stress or underlying medical conditions. However, there can be changes associated with life stage too, with kittens and senior pets needing more Zzzzzs.

What do cats dream about?

While it is not possible to be certain that cats dream, studies suggest that species of animal that experience the REM (rapid-eye-movement) phase of sleep are likely to dream, including felines. This fits with our perception of pets appearing to ‘run’ in their sleep by making little paw movements, or smacking their lips as if they are dreaming up a snack! In reality, there is a certain element of humanising our pets and imagining that they experience the world in the way that we do. However, it is likely that our pets dream about the kinds of things that happen during their day such as playing, eating, and exercising.

Cat sleeping in basket
Studies suggest cats are likely to dream

Why do cats love cardboard boxes?

This is a common theme – many cats seem to love squeezing themselves into cardboard boxes or even playing hide and seek! One answer could be that the boxes provide a safe, concealed space to nap. Plus, cardboard is a great insulator, so it is likely to be nice and cosy.

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