Why do cats sleep so much? Is it part of their nature? Or, did they realise the beauty of all-day napping when humans brought them inside our homes? Have cats figured out the perfect life hack? And if so, how can we learn from them? If you’ve ever asked yourself “why do cats sleep so much?”, regardless of whether they’re at home or in the home of their favourite Cat Sitter, get ready to tap into the mind of nature’s best napper.
In this article, we’re going to lay out all the interesting facts about cat sleeping habits. So, cuddle up with your furry feline and get ready for the ultimate bedtime story!
Why do cats sleep so much during the day?
Everything about your furbaby is by design. The retractable claws. The forward-facing eyes. The rotating ears. They all help your feline friend be the best hunter (and escapee from larger predators) they can be. It’s one of the reasons why we have an entire article dedicated to learning How to Keep Your Cat from Attacking Wildlife.
Interestingly, sleeping behaviours are another hunter’s adaptation.
In general, cats will sleep somewhere between 15 to 20 hours per day. But we’re not talking about consecutive hours. Instead, cats will sleep in short spurts of anywhere between a few minutes up to a few hours.
During this time, cats are able to replenish the energy they need for their most important waking activity: hunting. Hunting requires a lot of energy and focus. During the stalk and chase, cats will use up all the energy they can muster. Imagine if you were to go to the gym and expend all of your available energy in just fifteen minutes. You would probably want a nap afterwards too.
And because hunting will never be successful 100% of the time, cats in the wild need to use up their energy multiple times throughout the day. For most felines, the catch rate is about 20%. In order to fill their little tummies, they need those short bursts of energy to repeat the hunt over and over again.
There’s another reason for the shorter catnaps instead of longer, deeper sleep. Our little domestic cats, remember, were never at the top of the food chain. They couldn’t afford to snooze while a dangerous predator snuck up on them. It’s simply safer to have quick little naps throughout the day than hunker down for a deep sleep. Cats can enter deeper sleep, but it generally doesn’t last longer than 5 to 10 minutes.
Do cats sleep more than other hunters?
An interesting difference between the hunters and the plant eaters of the animal world is how they use their waking time. As we’ve mentioned, a cat’s cycle involves resting, hunting, eating, and resting again. Plant-eaters, on the other hand, need to invest more time grazing, chewing, and digesting their non-animal food sources.
That might be another reason why cats and other hunters have the luxury to laze around a bit after meals. So, when we ask the question, “why do cats sleep so much?” we might also ask ourselves how they compare to other meat-eaters.
Let’s take our other at-home companions: dogs. Doggos generally spend about 12 to 14 hours sleeping per day, plus an extra few hours lounging around. That’s not too far off from felines. Similarly, Wolves, African Wild Dogs, and Hyenas also spend the majority of their time resting. Because they tend to be nocturnal or diurnal, sleeping through most of the day and hunting for short periods of time around dusk and dawn or at night is standard.
Felines as a group may spend more time sleeping than other hunters, but not by much. Everyone on the predator end of the spectrum is getting over 10 hours of sleep. Compare that to plant eaters, like the giraffe which gets about 5 hours of sleep per day or the horse which gets just 3 hours, and you’ll see that hunters as a whole are all pretty rich in sleep.
What other factors help us answer the question, “why do cats sleep so much?”
We’ve talked about hunting. We’ve talked about digesting. But there are a few other things that contribute interesting answers to our question, “why do cats sleep so much?”
First is age. Older cats tend to sleep more than their younger counterparts.
Another factor has to do with the weather. Cats will sleep more on rainy days, when their evolutionary instincts tell them the hunting will be no good.
And finally, we have something to do with our cat’s sleeping habits, too! Domestic cats are much more social than their wild ancestors, and they’ll happily rouse themselves out of their catnaps for some quality time with their favourite Owners or Pet Sitters. You might notice that your kitty is more active when you get home from work or you’re getting ready to leave in the morning. It’s one of the many signs that your cat loves you!
What do you notice about your cat’s sleeping behaviours?
Every cat is unique, and every Cat Owner can become well-acquainted with their cat’s sleeping style. Do you have a deep sleeper? A quick napper? A play-all-nighter? Now that you have the answers to “why do cats sleep so much,” it’s time to learn even more about your special cat’s sleeping behaviours!