No doubt about it, cats love their sleep. Our Ceres vets are often asked if they should be worried that their cat is sleeping so much. Here, we explain when you should be worried.
Why do cats sleep so much?
Cats have evolved to sleep for long periods throughout the day. Wild cats need to sleep in order to conserve their energy to hunt, chase and kill their next meal.
Although our house cats may not need to hunt, the instinct to sleep and prepare for the hunt carries on.
How much do cats sleep?
Wondering how many hours a cat sleep per day? The number of hours that your cat needs to sleep and the typical sleeping pattern for your cat will change as they get older :
- Kittens will likely sleep most of the day, with a few brief bursts of energy between meals.
- Adolescent cats may have erratic sleep patterns combined with periods of intense playfulness.
- Adult cats tend to have more set sleeping schedules that average out at about 12 - 20 hours of sleep each day.
- Senior cats will tend to have less energy and reduced mobility which means they will sleep more than younger cats.
When your cat reaches adulthood, it will most likely develop a recognizable pattern of sleeping and waking. For example, you may notice that your cat wakes up just before you, spends an hour or two eating and socializing with you, then goes back to sleep while you go about your business.
Is my cat really asleep?
Cats do sleep deeply but not always. Much like people, cats are often just snoozing. Light sleeping makes up about 3/4 of your cat's sleep time, with just 1/4 of their sleep time being devoted to deep sleep.
When cats snooze lightly, they get the rest they need while remaining alert. When your cat is sleeping or snoozing, you may notice that its eyes are slightly open or that its ears twitch and rotate in response to noises.
When should I be concerned?
There is no set amount of sleep that indicates a health problem or emergency; instead, it is important to understand your cat's normal sleep patterns and recognize when those patterns change significantly.
If your cat begins to sleep a lot more or a lot less than is usual for him/her there may be a health issue, it's time to visit your vet.
Cats who begin to sleep more than usual could be ill or experiencing pain. On the other hand, if your cat begins sleeping less than usual it may be suffering from hyperthyroidism or other conditions.