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Why do cats sleep so much?

Why do cats sleep so much?

We all know cats sleep a lot, but have you ever wondered why they sleep SO much? Or how long the average cat sleeps? And what do they do at night when we're sleeping? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has put a camera in the living room to see what my cats do at night. And what a surprise... they're not sleeping!

In this article we answer all these questions as well as other questions relating to your cat's sleep.

Why do cats sleep so much? 

Cats are known for sleeping for long hours, and there are a few reasons why they do this:

  1. Evolutionary adaptation: Cats are natural predators, and in the wild, they would spend a lot of time stalking, hunting, and catching prey. Sleeping for long periods helps them conserve energy for these activities.
  2. Energy conservation: Sleeping helps cats conserve energy, especially since they have a relatively high metabolic rate. Cats need to rest and recharge their batteries frequently to be ready for playtime, hunting, and other activities.
  3. Body temperature regulation: Cats are known for their ability to regulate their body temperature, and sleeping helps them conserve energy while regulating their temperature. When they sleep, their body temperature drops, allowing them to conserve energy and avoid overheating.
  4. Mental health: Sleep is important for cats' mental health, just as it is for humans. Sleeping helps cats process the events of the day, and it allows them to consolidate and store memories.

Overall, cats sleep so much because it is a natural part of their biology and helps them conserve energy, regulate their body temperature, and maintain good mental health.

How many hours do cats sleep a day?

On average, cats sleep for around 12-16 hours a day, but this can vary depending on their age, breed, and activity level. Some cats may sleep as little as 9 hours a day, while others may sleep for up to 20 hours a day. Kittens and elderly cats tend to sleep more, while adult cats may sleep less if they have plenty of opportunities for exercise and play. Additionally, indoor cats may sleep more than outdoor cats, as they have fewer opportunities for physical activity and stimulation. Ultimately, the amount of time a cat sleeps depends on their individual needs and lifestyle.

Is my cat sleeping too much?

If your cat is sleeping more than usual, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue or a change in their environment. However, it's important to note that cats naturally sleep a lot, and what's considered "too much" can vary depending on the cat.

Why is my cat sleeping so much?

Age-related changes in sleep patterns

As cats age, their sleep patterns may change. Older cats may sleep more during the day and become more active at night. Senior cats may also experience age-related health issues that can impact their sleep, such as arthritis or cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS). If you notice your senior cat is sleeping more than usual, have a chat to your vet to make sure all is ok.

Health issues that can affect your cat's sleep

There are several health issues that can impact a cat's sleep patterns. For example, cats with hyperthyroidism may experience increased sleepiness as a result of their condition. Additionally, cats with diabetes or kidney disease may experience fatigue and sleep more than usual. Other health issues that can impact a cat's sleep include dental problems, respiratory infections, and cancer. If you suspect your cat is experiencing health issues, it's important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

Changes in routine or home environment 

Changes in a cat's environment or routine can also impact their sleep patterns, we all know they are extremely sensitive to change! For example, if you've recently moved to a new home or introduced a new pet to your household, your cat may become stressed and sleep more than usual. Changes in their feeding schedule or litter tray routine can also impact their sleep. It's important to provide your cat with a stable and consistent environment to help them feel safe and secure. If you do need to introduce multiple changes, do this over an extended period of time. For example, if you are moving house or adopting a cat from a rescue, keep them on the same food for a few weeks to settle in before introducing another change. 

Stress and anxiety

Like humans, cats can experience stress and anxiety. If your cat is feeling anxious or stressed, they may sleep more than usual as a coping mechanism. Common causes of stress in cats include changes in their environment, loud noises, and separation anxiety. For example, with our cat Gus, if he doesn't have his evening walk outside he gets stressed in the evening and won't sleep well. If you suspect your cat is experiencing stress or anxiety, it's important to identify the root cause and provide them with a safe and comfortable space to relax.

Nutrition and diet

Finally, a cat's nutrition and diet can impact their sleep patterns. If your cat isn't getting the proper nutrients they need, they may feel fatigued and sleep more than usual. Additionally, if your cat is overweight or obese, they may experience sleep apnoea or other breathing issues that can impact their sleep. It's important to provide your cat with a healthy and balanced diet to help them stay alert and active throughout the day.

If your cat's sleeping habits haven't changed significantly, it's likely that they're just sleeping more because they're comfortable and content. However, it's always a good idea to monitor your cat's behaviour and seek advice from your vet if you're concerned about their health.

Do cats sleep after they’ve eaten a meal?

Yes, it's common for cats to sleep after they have eaten, especially if they’ve eaten a large meal. Digestion requires energy, and after a meal, a cat's body redirects blood flow to the digestive tract, which can cause drowsiness. Additionally, eating can trigger the release of hormones that promote relaxation and sleepiness.

Do cats sleep through the night?

Cats are naturally nocturnal animals, which means that they are more active at night and sleep during the day. However, domestic cats have adapted to living with humans and often adjust their sleep schedules to align with their owners' schedules.

Most cats will sleep for several hours at a time throughout the day and night, waking up periodically to eat, groom themselves, and play. While they may be more active at night, it's not uncommon for cats to sleep through the night once they have adjusted to their environment and established a routine.

Cats may not sleep for an entire eight hours at night like humans do. Instead, they may sleep for several hours at a time, waking up periodically to move around or groom themselves. Cats may also be more active at night and may wake their owners up with meowing, playing, or other behaviours.

Why does my cat play during the night? 

Cats are naturally more active at night due to their nocturnal instincts. In the wild, cats would hunt and catch their prey during the night, and domestic cats still have these instincts, which can lead to increased activity during the night.

There are a few reasons why your cat may play at night:

  1. Boredom: If your cat is not getting enough stimulation during the day, they may become bored and use the nighttime as an opportunity to play and expend energy.
  2. Attention-seeking: Some cats may play at night as a way of getting attention from their owners, especially if they are left alone for long periods during the day.
  3. Habit: If your cat has established a routine of playing at night, they may continue to do so even if they no longer need to.
  4. Hunting instinct: Cats may be more active at night because of their natural hunting instincts. They may be more alert and energetic during the night as they look for prey, even if they are domesticated and not hunting for food.

If your cat's night-time activity is causing disruptions or if you are concerned about their behaviour, you may want to try providing more stimulation during the day or creating a designated playtime for your cat before bedtime. Additionally, you can try providing toys and activities that will keep your cat engaged and active during the night, such as puzzle feeders or interactive toys.

Why does my cat wake up early?

There are several reasons why your cat may be waking up early:

  1. Hunger: If your cat is used to being fed first thing in the morning, they may wake up early and become vocal or try to wake you up to get fed.
  2. Routine: Cats are creatures of habit, and if they are used to waking up at a certain time, they may continue to do so even if they no longer need to.
  3. Natural instincts: As natural hunters, cats are naturally more active at dawn and dusk, so your cat may be waking up early due to their natural instincts.
  4. Light and noise: If your cat is sensitive to light or noise, they may be waking up early due to changes in the environment, such as a neighbour's car starting or sunlight coming in through the window.

What can I do if my cat disrupts my sleep?

  • Adjust your cat's feeding schedule so they are fed later in the morning
  • Provide your cat with toys and activities to keep them occupied during the early morning hours
  • Keep your cat's sleeping area quiet and dark
  • Gradually adjust your cat's routine by shifting their bedtime and wake-up time by a few minutes each day until they are on a schedule that works better for you.

Tips for improving your cat's sleep 

If you've noticed your cat's sleeping habits have changed, there are several steps you can take to get their sleep back on track. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Provide your cat with a comfortable and cozy sleeping spot - this can be a cat bed, a pile of towels or even a cardboard box
  • Stick to a regular feeding and litter tray routine
  • Keep your cat's environment quiet and free of anything that may make them anxious or stressed
  • Provide your cat with plenty of opportunities for play and exercise throughout the day
  • Talk to your vet about any health concerns that may be impacting your cat's sleep.

By taking these steps, you can help your cat feel more comfortable and relaxed, which can lead to better sleep habits.

What to do if my cat is sleeping more than usual and not playing?

If your cat is sleeping more than usual and not playing, this change in two behaviours at the same time could be a sign of something more serious going on. We would recommend you contact your vet and ask for their advice on what to do if this happens.

Summary

In summary, cats sleep a lot! The average cat sleeps for 12-16 hours per day, but this can vary depending on factors such as age, breed, and activity level. Having said this, there isn't a one size fits all rule as domestic cats have adapted to living with humans and often adjust their sleep schedules to align with their owners' schedules. Cats may play at night due to boredom, attention-seeking, habit, or hunting instinct. If your cat wakes up early, it may be due to hunger, discomfort, or a change in their environment, and finally you should take your cat to the vet for a check-up if their sleeping habits have changed significantly.

Don't forget diet also plays a part in your cats sleep patterns. A diet rich in animal protein and vitamins & minerals, such as Tippaws dry cat food, will ensure your cat is healthy and therefore help him or her sleep well. Head over to our shop to learn more about our food and don't forget you get 10% off your first order if you sign up to our newsletter.

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