Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

Doesn’t it seem like your cat is sleeping pretty much all the time?

If you’re wondering why your BFF sleeps so much, it has a lot to do with his wild roots and his natural hunting instincts.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Michelle Burch, a veterinarian from Safe Hounds Pet Insurance, to learn all about why cats sleep so much.

How many hours a day do cats sleep?

At minimum, cats can sleep for half the day.

“Cats can sleep anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a day,” Dr. Burch told The Dodo.

Younger or older cats tend to sleep the most.

“Kittens tend to sleep more than 20 hours a day as they are using their energy to grow,” Dr. Burch said. “Senior cats will sleep closer to 20 hours a day due to having less energy and mobility.”

Why do cats sleep so much?

The reason cats sleep so much actually goes back to their wild ancestors.

“​​Wild cats evolved a need to sleep long hours through the day to conserve their energy and prepare to hunt, chase and kill their prey,” Dr. Burch said. “Our domestic cats have maintained this sleep instinct but do not need to hunt for their meal.”

Instead of hunting for prey like his ancestors did, your cat will probably spend the extra energy from his long catnaps playing with his favorite toys.

“Their conserved energy is prepared for running, pouncing, climbing and stalking,” Dr. Burch said.

Is my cat sleeping too much?

If you feel like maybe your cat is sleeping too much — or even not enough — reach out to your vet.

“If you see that your cat suddenly has a change in sleep pattern, I recommend having them examined by your veterinarian,” Dr. Burch said.

A difference in his sleep schedule could be a sign that your cat’s sick.

“There can be an underlying medical reason for their increase in sleeping,” Dr. Burch said. “A cat sleeping more can be a sign of illness or pain, while a cat sleeping less can be a symptom of hyperthyroidism (thyroid is overactive).”

What do my cat’s sleeping positions mean?

Cats sleep in a whole bunch of different positions, and it turns out that each one can say a lot about his mood or his comfort level.

Belly-up

You might’ve noticed that your cat will sleep on his back, with his belly facing up.

“Cats that sleep belly-up feel entirely relaxed and safe in your household,” Dr. Burch said. “Your cat is comfortable displaying its most vulnerable area while sleeping.”

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