There are few things as cute and peaceful as a sleeping cat. Whether curled up in their cat tower or sprawled out in a ray of sunshine, cats make a lot of time for snoozing throughout the day. So why do cats sleep so much? And why are there so many cat sleeping positions?
Cats have very different sleep behaviors from humans, and understanding your cat’s habits can help you take better care of your feline friend. Here’s what we know about how many hours a cat sleeps at every age, what their sleeping positions mean, and how you can encourage a healthy cat sleep schedule.
Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?
It’s time for answers about your napping kitty. To explain why cats sleep so much, here’s what you need to know:
- Exactly how many hours a day cats spend sleeping
- How cat sleep cycles work
- How age impacts sleep in cats
- If and when your cat’s schedule should be concerning
How Many Hours a Day Do Cats Sleep?
Because your cat spreads their sleeping throughout the day, it might be hard to tell exactly how much they’re really sleeping. Plus, you don’t always know what your cat is doing during the night while you’re getting your beauty rest. So how many hours a day do cats sleep actually?
The typical adult cat sleeps between 12 and 20 hours a day. This is a wide range because it depends on a number of factors, including the cat’s age, activity level, and environment.
Cat Sleep Cycles
Cat sleep cycles are very different from humans. So much so that what appears to be a sleeping cat might not be sleeping at all!
Cats and humans experience similar stages of sleep, basically categorized into light sleep and deep, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Cats spend a lot of their napping hours in the lighter version, so the sleep they might appear to be getting during nap time is not really that rejuvenating.
Circadian rhythms also impact cat sleep cycles. These cycles tell humans to be awake in the day and asleep at night, but they tell a cat to be most active during the twilight hours of dusk and dawn. These patterns classify humans as diurnal and cats as crepuscular.
Different Sleep for Different Life Stages
Age has a significant impact on how much a cat sleeps. Kittens sleep most of the day, waking up with tons of energy for brief periods. They need a lot of rest to grow. During the stage between kittenhood and adulthood, adolescent cats might have unpredictable sleep patterns before they get into a regular adult-cat sleep schedule. As a cat reaches seniority, they will sleep more as they are less mobile and have less energy.
Can Cats Sleep Too Much?
As long as a cat has a healthy, safe environment and lifestyle, owners don’t need to worry about their sleeping cat’s schedule. Cats will get the sleep they need for their bodies. The important thing to monitor is your cat’s habits.
You should know your cat’s typical sleep schedule throughout the day, and if you notice that changing, you might want to consult your veterinarian. If your cat is sleeping more than usual or less than expected, they might have an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
The Meaning of Cat Sleeping Positions
You can make some predictions about your cat’s rest according to their sleeping position. Some positions indicate that a cat is just in it for a quick nap, while others suggest that your kitty is down for the count and getting in some very restful Zs. Some of the most common cat sleep positions include:
- All curled up
- One eye open
- Sideways or belly-up
The Classic Cat Sleeping Position: The Curl
One of the most common positions for cat sleep is the curl, crescent, or – especially in the case of a tabby cat – croissant! This is when your kitty tucks into a perfect circle, wrapping their tail around themselves like a bow. This position is not only cute – it has a very important evolutionary purpose.
Cats maintain their warmth in the wild and protect their vital organs from predators by sleeping in a curl. This is a very restful sleep position for cats that they’ve been using for thousands of years.
The Hunter’s Pose: One Eye Open
You might have noticed your kitty napping while one eye is partially or completely open. This cat-sleeping position is another callback to their wild days when they had to watch for predators and be prepared for an attack. Cats can get important physical rest in this position, but they are not truly sleeping.
Sideways or Belly-Up Cat Sleeping Positions
When a cat sleeps with an exposed belly on their side or back, it’s just the opposite of the protective curl. They feel safe and secure with no worry of predators or danger. This is a very restful sleep position for your kitty.
Sleeping Perched with Dangling Legs
This cat-sleeping position is also related to their evolutionary comfort. You may have seen images of large, predatory cats like panthers or tigers sleeping on a branch with their legs dangling down on either side. This is probably a good position for sleeping in the wild because it gives the cat good surveillance of the surrounding area when they wake up. Your domestic cat might mimic this sleeping position on the back of a couch or chair or even a banister!
How to Support a Healthy Sleep Schedule for Your Cat
You play an important role in your cat’s sleeping schedule. You can support your cat’s sleep by:
- Creating a nap-friendly environment
- Letting a sleeping cat continue to sleep
- Engaging with your cat during waking hours
- Introducing CBD for a general daily wellness routine
Make Your Cat’s Environment Nap-friendly
It’s important to provide an environment conducive to your cat’s sleep to ensure they’re keeping a healthy schedule. This means giving your cat lots of small, soft spaces to curl up in or on. Cats like to feel protected and sheltered when they sleep, so providing them with a softbox or a cubby in their cat tower will be essential to their sleep schedule. You also want to ensure your home has some quiet moments during the day so your kitty can sleep peacefully without being startled awake by any noise.
Your cat’s sleep schedule is uniquely theirs, and it’s essential that you and all family members, including children, respect your cat’s sleep. Teach children not to wake or pick up the cat while she’s sleeping. A sleeping cat should be left to get its rest whenever possible.
Maximize Play Time
One way to encourage healthy sleep patterns in your cat, especially in adolescents trying to regulate their schedule, is to make the most of playtime. Those bursts of energy need to be for fun, active games like chase the laser or string. Be sure your cat has plenty of toys to keep them occupied when you aren’t around. Their active times need to be genuinely busy to keep them healthy and tire them out for proper sleep.
Use CBD for Cats to Promote Good Sleep Patterns
CBD for cats can promote general well-being and good sleep patterns. Introducing CBD to your cat’s daily routine can support their relaxation and comfort, which will make it easier for them to follow a regular sleep schedule. If you aren’t sure what CBD product your cat would prefer, try a tasty bundle with catnip-flavored CBD oil for cats and CBD soft chews in a whisker-licking chicken and catnip flavor!
Sleep Is Important for Overall Cat Wellness
We’ve answered the question “Why do cats sleep so much?” and we’ve looked at all the cat sleeping positions, as well as explaining how pet owners play a role in their cat’s healthy sleep. You now understand more of what your kitty companion is experiencing, and a shared understanding is the key to loving pet ownership. Now you can enjoy it more when your sleeping cat curls up next to you!