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 a cat’s age, and the best way to keep an eye on your cat’s sleep levels.
Why do cats sleep so much?
Just like us, cats need sleep to survive. Regular sleep recharges and restores the body for the next day, and supports memory function as well as the immune system. Different types of sleep including NREM and REM support different functions of the body.
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 sleeping1.
Since cats in the wild are typically both predator and prey1, 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.
How much do cats sleep?
Cats are sleepy creatures, and chances are, your feline family member is curled up cat-napping right now. It might seem like your furry friend sleeps all day, but how much do cats sleep really?
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.
How many hours a day do cats sleep?
According to veterinary experts, cats normally sleep anywhere from 12 – 20 hours a day2. The average is 15 hours a day, with 40% of all cats sleeping over 18 hours a day. That’s right, your cat sleeps about 2-3 times as long as you. Cats tend to sleep more hours per day as they grow older.
💡 Pro tip: You can find out exactly how many hours a day your cat sleeps (plus see their activity level, live location, and more) with a GPS cat tracker.
How long do cats sleep?
Our feline friends, unlike us, are polyphasic sleepers. This means that cats sleep several times a day, rather than in one long period. So this explains why your cat probably never sleeps through the night like you do. Instead, your cat naps multiple times throughout the day, usually for period of 50 to 113 minutes, or 78 minutes on average3.
Are cats nocturnal?
When their cat doesn’t sleep through the night, many cat parents start to wonder if cats are nocturnal. But this is actually a myth; cats are crepuscular, not nocturnal. This means that they’re most active at dawn and dusk.
If your cat is keeping you awake at night, you can try these tips:
- Don’t reward them by playing, feeding them, or giving them your attention.
- Help them get enough play and exercise before bedtime.
- If you’re not at home during the day, provide stimulation in your absence.
- Keep your cat in another room at night, where they can’t disturb you.
- Avoid punishing your cat for their disruptive behavior.
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:
- kidney disease
- nutritional deficiency
- old age
- cat dementia
- feline depression
Tractive GPS lets you spot when your cat is sleeping more or less than usual. That lets you detect issues early and keep your cat healthy and happy.
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:
- feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)4
Lack of stimulation could be another reason why your cat is missing out on sleep, especially if they’re overactive at night. Providing more activities, play and outdoor exercise can help them improve their sleep.
How much should my cat sleep?
As we mentioned above, it’s typical for cats to need anywhere from 12 to 20 hours of sleep a day. Kittens and senior cats usually require more sleep than healthy adult cats. Talk to your vet to find out how much your cat should sleep, or monitor their daily sleep rhythm in the Tractive GPS app to get an idea of what’s normal for them. Then you can spot if anything about their sleep pattern is off, and identify health issues early on.
When to talk to your vet
Talk to your vet if your cat sleeps less than 12 hours a day, or more than 20 hour a day, or if their sleeping habits suddenly change. You should also consult a vet if your cat doesn’t wake up easily, or shows any other signs of illness. When it comes to your cat’s health, it’s better to be safe than sorry.