How Many Hours a Day Do Cats Sleep? — Cat Sleeping Habits

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How Many Hours a Day Do Cats Sleep?

Cats sleep an average of 15 hours a day, and some sources claim that anywhere from 12–18 hours is normal for a healthy adult cat. Of course, this depends on many factors, some of which we’ll discuss below.

(Cats Protection, 2022, Modkat 2022)

Interesting Facts About Cats and Sleeping

After we’ve answered the main question, here are a few more interesting facts and details about the sleeping habits of cats.

Cats have a polyphasic sleep schedule.

(Pet Health Network, 2014, Sleep Foundation, 2022)

Firstly, it’s important to mention that cats don’t sleep in one long period with naps during the day. Cat sleep patterns are polyphasic, meaning that they sleep in multiple segments throughout the day.

It is believed that they inherited this from their ancestors who needed to hunt many times every day and rest in-between those hunts, just like wild cats today.

They also have a crepuscular sleep cycle.

(Sleep Foundation, 2022)

Related to the fact above, cats are also crepuscular animals. This means that they are most active at twilight — just before sunrise and after sunset. Again inherited from their ancestors, this allows them to hunt both animals that are nocturnal and those that are diurnal.

Unfortunately for cat owners, this means that their cats may wake them up before the alarm does.

Cats spend two-thirds of their life sleeping.

(Frontline, 2022)

Considering how much cats sleep every day, this fact is not that surprising. This may be more than double the time humans spend sleeping, but for cats, it’s perfectly normal.

An adult farm cat sleeps 9 hours a day on average.

(VetHelpDirect, 2021)

Outdoor cats, in general, tend to sleep less. This can be expected, as they simply have more things to do — explore their environment, hunt small critters, communicate with other animals, etc. 

Unfortunately, while their lives may seem more engaging, it comes at a price — they usually live only 2–5 years.

Newborn kittens wake up only to eat.

(Catster 2015,  Animal Emergency Center Memphis, 2022)

Newborn kittens spend almost 24 hours a day sleeping. This is because their body releases growth hormones while they are asleep, so they need to sleep a lot to grow. 

Young kittens will have bursts of energy after eating, but they will still sleep most of the day. 

Older cats may sleep 18–20 hours per day.

(Pet Health Network, 2015, MDPI, 2020, NCBI, 2020)

Data from 1995, as well as from 2010–2015, has shown significant correlation between cat sleep duration and cat age. Just like people, older cats need more rest to regain energy and heal. So, don’t be concerned if your senior cat sleeps more than it used to.

However, it’s important to mention that this refers to daytime resting and total sleep time  — the amount of night-time sleep doesn’t change much, and it’s usually around 4–5 hours.

Cat naps average 79 minutes in length.

(Sleep Foundation, 2022, Science Direct, 1974, Yahoo, 2022)

An older study has shown that an average cat sleep cycle consists of a 26-min period of wakefulness and a 79-min period of sleep. However, cats may sleep for anywhere between 50 and 113 minutes. 

Another interesting detail is that they can dream, and while dreaming, you might notice your cat twitching in its sleep. This is entirely normal and simply means that your cat is in the REM phase of sleep.

Research shows that 78% of teenagers sleep with their cats.

(NCBI, 2020, Inverse, 2022)

Despite cats’ period of activity during night, a small study has shown that of 265 cat-owning teenagers, most of them sleep with their pets. According to the same research, cats didn’t affect their adolescent owner’s sleep quality.

Moreover, 89% of cat owners who sleep with their cats are satisfied with their sleep.

Cats get winter blues, too.

(Yahoo, 2020, Daily Cat, 2019, Senior Cat Wellness, 2022)

Although there isn’t an official diagnosis of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) for cats, many cat owners have noticed changes in their cats’ behavior. Usually, these include lethargy, dry skin, neediness, and more. 

So, don’t worry if your cat seems to be sleeping more during winter, but do keep an eye on other symptoms that could point to more serious issues

Some cat breeds sleep more than others.

(The Live Mirror, 2020, BeChewy, 2016)

Although there isn’t any specific research on the relation between cat sleep and breeds, there are some breeds that are generally considered lazier. 

They are the Ragdoll, Ragamuffin, Maine Coon, Persian, Russian Blue, Selkirk Rex, and a few other related breeds.

Cat sleeping positions can tell you a lot about your cat.

(Cats Protection, 2019, Dreams, 2021)

Cats have different favorite sleeping spots and positions, and they all have different meanings. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Belly up — This position means that your cat feels safe and comfortable in its environment, as it’s exposing its most vulnerable area.
  • Sleeping on you — Just like kneading on you, sleeping on you means your cat trusts you and likes being around you. For the same reason, some cats like to sleep near your feet. Plus, they are less likely to be disturbed in that part of the bed.
  • Curled up — A curled up cat is protecting its vulnerable parts. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean your cat doesn’t feel safe — it’s just following natural instincts.
  • The cat loaf — One of the most well-known positions, it means the cat is relaxing comfortably. Some cats also rest in this position when they are cold, as it keeps their legs warm.

Moreover, cats like to switch their sleeping positions, so make sure you provide them with lots of options, including a comfortable bed just for them.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have a young kitten or a senior grumpy cat, the one thing they all have in common is enjoying a good nap. With that in mind, we hope our short article has helped you better understand why your cat sleeps so much.


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