There's no doubt about it; cats love to sleep. Concerned cat owners often ask our Turlock vets if they should be worried that their cat is sleeping so much. When does a cat's nap indicate that there may be a health emergency?
Why do cats sleep so much?
Cats have evolved to sleep for long periods throughout the day. Wild cats need to rest in order to conserve their energy for hunting, chasing, and capturing their next meal.
While our domesticated house cats may not have to hunt, the instinct to sleep and prepare for the hunt persists.
How much do cats sleep?
Curious about the daily sleep hours of a cat? The number of hours that your cat needs to sleep and the typical sleeping pattern for your cat will change as they get older :
- Kittens will likely sleep most of the day, with a few brief bursts of energy between meals.
- Adolescent cats may have erratic sleep patterns combined with periods of intense playfulness.
- Adult cats tend to have more set sleeping schedules that average out at about 12 - 20 hours of sleep each day.
- Senior cats tend to have less energy and reduced mobility, which means they will sleep more than younger cats.
When your cat reaches adulthood, it is likely to establish a distinct sleeping and waking routine. For instance, you may observe that your cat awakens shortly before you do, engages in an hour or two of eating and social interaction, and then returns to slumber while you proceed with your daily activities.
Is my cat really asleep?
Cats may appear to sleep deeply at times, but they are not always in a deep slumber. Similar to humans, cats frequently engage in light naps.
Approximately three-fourths of a cat's total sleep duration comprises light sleep, while the remaining one-fourth is dedicated to deep sleep.
When cats snooze lightly, they get the rest they need while remaining alert. When your cat is sleeping or snoozing, you may notice that its eyes are slightly open or that its ears twitch and rotate in response to noises.
When should I be concerned?
There is no definite duration of sleep that should raise concern about your cat's health. Instead, it is important to understand your cat's sleep patterns and recognize when they change significantly.
Should you observe a significant increase or decrease in your cat's sleep patterns, it could be indicative of an underlying health problem, necessitating a prompt veterinary consultation.
Cats who begin to sleep more than usual could be ill or experiencing pain. On the other hand, if your cat begins sleeping less than usual, it may be suffering from hyperthyroidism or other conditions.