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Why do cats sleep so much?

Cat sleeps

Cats have evolved to sleep for long periods throughout the day. And if you have a cat in the house, you know that this means they sleep a lot. But why do cats sleep so much? Should you be concerned about your cat’s sleeping habits? 

Table of contents 

How much sleep do cats need? 

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. 

Generally, cats spend 15–20 hours a day resting or sleeping. 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. 

You will likely find that once your cat reaches adulthood, they will begin to form a recognizable pattern of sleeping and wakefulness. Light sleeping, referred to as slow-wave sleep (SWS), 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 are snoozing lightly, they get the rest they require but they’re still alert. When your cat is snoozing or napping you may notice that their eyes remain slightly open or that their ears still twitch and rotate towards noises. 

Every cat is different! What’s normal sleeping patterns for one cat may not be typical for another cat. As a general rule, you can expect your feline friend to spend about 15-20 hours in dreamland. 

Why do cats sleep so much? 

If you have a cat, there’s a good chance that they sleep more than anyone else in your household. But why do cats spend the majority of their lives sleeping? 

  • Cats are nocturnal – Well, actually, they’re crepuscular, meaning that they are most active at dawn and dusk. As predators, cats have adapted to this schedule to hunt more efficiently—and now reserve their late-night and early-morning energy for zoomies. Otherwise, they are usually curled up somewhere fast asleep. 
  • Conserving energy – Energy conservation is one of the main reasons for your cat’s long periods of sleep, which is where the term “cat nap” originates. Cats are natural predators. Their prey is quick and elusive. Sneaking up and pouncing—repeatedly—is undoubtedly exhausting. Like many predators, cats conserve energy by resting or sleeping, saving up for the bursts of time when they will do the most hunting. 
  • Boredom – When there’s nothing to do, sometimes animals sleep more. Your cat might be sleeping out of boredom, a common affliction of indoor cats. If your cat is bored, they may also vocalize excessively, overeat, or get into trouble to entertain themselves and get your attention. There are lots of ways you can enrich your cat’s life to cut down on boredom. Try creating ways for your cat to explore, hide, perch, and pounce, like cat trees, window perches, and engaging toys. 
  • Not feeling well – Cats hide and are less active when they are sick or not feeling well. If your cat is spending most of this time under the bed or high up in the cat tree, they may be uncomfortable or have an illness like a viral or bacterial infection. Sick cats generally have lower energy levels and may sleep more than they usually do. 
  • Age – As cats age, they tend to develop a calm demeanor—playing less, cuddling more, and often taking more naps. Senior cats just sleep more on average than younger cats, according to Dr. Richard Goldstein
  • Seasonal changes – In the winter months, they may sleep even longer than usual in response to shorter daylight hours or changes in your routine, such as an earlier bedtime. You are more likely to notice an increase in your cat’s sleeping during winter if you have an outdoor cat. With colder temperatures and diminished sunlight hours comes smaller hunting windows and a greater need to conserve energy. 
  • Stress – Hiding and being less active, including sleeping more, are common coping tools cats use when they’re scared or stressed. In fact, any abnormal sleeping behavior, including sleeping less than usual, is an indication that your cat’s stressed.  

How can ElleVet CBD + CBDA help your stressed cat?   

Stress can negatively impact the physical and mental health of your feline friend. And seeing them stressed isn’t pleasant for you, either! ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA feline oil and feline paste can help relax your stressed cat and support an adjustment to household changes and overstimulation. In addressing your cat’s stress, ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA can lead to improved overall well-being and help them manage their stress responses.    

ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA works incredibly well for cats, and the dosing is specific for cats. This is so important because the wrong dose can be the difference between changing the life of your cat or little to no improvement.  In addition, ElleVet has done long-term safety studies on cats, so you know that the product is safe. As any cat parent knows, a product safe for cats can be difficult to find!    

As always, consult your veterinarian about any mental or physical health issues your cat may be experiencing. For any questions about ElleVet’s CBD + CBDA products or how CBD can help your feline friend have the best quality of life, give us a call (844-673-7287) or send us an email ([email protected]). We are here to help. 

Rest vs. sleep  

Not all sleep is deep sleep when it comes to your cat’s hours of snoozing. You could think of these light sleep periods more like a rest—closing their eyes and listening to their environment. Your cat may have their eyes partially closed or even completely closed, but their ears or tail may still be moving occasionally. 

Cats do experience deep sleep like humans, but since their naps only last about 15-20 minutes per cycle, their periods of deep sleep are much shorter, typically around five minutes. Cats’ sleep cycles tend to follow a pattern of four periods: 

  • Cat naps – Sometimes referred to as “loafing” due to their physical appearance resembling a loaf of bread, cats often nap with their paws tucked under their body, able to pounce at a moment’s notice. 
  • Zoomies – After a day of catnaps, your feisty feline is ready for a late-night hunt. Dusk and dawn are the two most active times for cats, influenced by their hunting instincts. 
  • Deep sleep – Cats do experience deep sleep like humans, and this typically occurs after a cat’s predatory instincts have been satisfied at night. You might notice your cat sprawling out during deep sleep phases, less likely to wake and pounce. 
  • Morning zoomies – From zoomies to begging for breakfast, dawn is a very active time of day for cats. Once they complete their “hunt,” their daytime cycle of catnaps before the next hunt will begin. 

Signs your cat is sleeping too much  

Because all cats are unique, there isn’t a set amount of sleep to indicate a health issue. Instead, it’s about knowing your cat’s normal sleep patterns and recognizing when that pattern changes significantly. If your cat is sleeping more, sleeping in unusual locations, or being less interactive than normal, it might be time to investigate. Lethargy could be accompanied by other symptoms such as:  

  • Inappropriate urination  
  • Aggression  
  • Decrease in activity  
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain  
  • Changes in eating habits  
  • Bad breath  
  • Changes in vocalization  

All cats thrive on physical and mental enrichment. So, encouraging moments of play and activity will keep them as happy and healthy as possible. If your cat doesn’t have interest or energy to engage, consult your veterinarian. 

The takeaway 

Getting the right amount of sleep is as important for our pets as it is for us. The sleep patterns of a cat look a little different than a human’s—rooted in their genetic makeup and survival instincts. When it comes to how much sleep your cat needs a day, it may vary with the season, age of your furry friend, and their routine. It’s important to take note of your cat’s typical catnap schedule. When there are sudden changes in the amount of sleep they’re getting, you should try to enrich their lives a little more or take a trip to the vet.