Why Do Cats Sleep So Much? 5 Facts About Sleeping Cats

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Why do cats sleep so often? Our cat friends are truly experts at falling asleep anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances. Even a cursory web search will reveal thousands of photos of cats sleeping in funny or crazy positions. But why do cats sleep so much, and what happens in their minds when they sleep? Do they have sleep cycles like people do? Read on to find out more about sleeping cats.

1. Everything that is asleep is in your cat's genes

Why do cats sleep so often? An orange cat sleeping with eyes closed.

An orange cat sleeping with eyes closed. Photography © Ryhor Bruyeu | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

When answering the question, "Why do cats sleep so much?" Let's see how long the cat sleeps first. Cats can sleep 16 hours a day, and older cats spend more time resting – as much as 20 hours a day. Sleeping habits are the result of evolution, nutritional habits, and physiology of cats. In the wild, cats must hunt to eat, and stalk, chase and kill prey, burning a lot of energy. Sleep helps cats save energy between meals.

2. Cats don't always fall asleep

Another thing to consider when thinking, "Why do cats sleep so much?" How they sleep. From the time cats spend sleeping, about three-quarters of that is what we call snooze. In that case, cats can get everything they need, but they are still alert enough to wake up right then and there. You can find out when a cat sleeps soundly because their ears will move and spin toward the sound and their eyes will open slightly. Even when they sit up straight, cats can go into sleep mode.

3. Cats sleep well and even dream

The remaining quarter of a cat's sleep hours are spent sleeping soundly, but older cats may spend as much as 30 percent or 40 percent of the time at that level. Cats that sleep soundly usually curl up with their eyes tightly closed. Sometimes, they might even have a tail over their face, like a soft sleeping mask. Good night's sleep is very important for the body's ability to regenerate itself and stay healthy. This is also when your cat dreams. If you have ever seen a cat's whiskers or claws twitching when they fall asleep, there is a good chance he dreams.

4. Some cats purr when they sleep

Cat purrs occur when the airway is blocked by extra skin from the soft palate. This is most likely to happen when your cat is relaxed, so it won't be too much to see your cat sawing a few small blocks from time to time. Snoring is more likely to occur in offspring of short-brained or brachycephalic cats such as Persia, Himalayas or Exotic Shorthair.

5. Changes in your cat's sleeping habits can be a sign of trouble

When asking, "Why do cats sleep so much?" You might also be wondering if there is such a thing too sleep a lot – or too little -. If your cat starts to sleep more or less than usual, contact your veterinarian. Excessive sleep can be a sign of illness or pain, while being awake often can indicate problems such as hyperthyroidism.

Tell us: Does your cat have a strange – or cute – sleep behavior? Please share in the comments!

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Thumbnail: Photography by 3sbworld / Thinkstock.

This work was originally published in 2017.

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