Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash
So, your cat sleeps a lot — so much, in fact, that sometimes you start to wonder if you should worry.
We’re here to reassure you.
The next time you find yourself wondering “is my cat sleeping too much?” remember that cats sleep a whopping 16 hours in a 24-hour period, on average. Some healthy adult cats sleep up to 20 hours. We know, right? Lucky cats. The last time we had a sleep even half as great was probably in the ‘80s.
Cats sleep to conserve energy. They’re biologically wired to rest for longer periods, so that later, they have what it takes to hunt and kill their prey. Yes, your friendly feline is still wild at heart (even if they’re typically hunting their favourite toy mouse).
Your cat may be sleeping 16-20 hours a day, but remember, cat sleep is not the same as human sleep. Cats get about 5 minutes of deep sleep, then take “cat naps” that usually last 15-30 minutes. Even in the middle of a nap, they’re ready to get up and pounce if required. They also tend to experience bursts of energy and activity (they’re at their most active at dawn and dusk).
Kittens typically sleep through most of the day with brief active periods between meals.
Adolescent cats usually have irregular sleep patterns. Average hours of sleep/day: 18
Adult cats will develop a more regular sleep pattern. Average hours of sleep/day: 16
Older cats have less energy and sleep more. Average hours of sleep/day: 18
While a sleepy cat is absolutely normal, it is important to pay attention to changes to your cat’s established sleep pattern. A cat that is suddenly sleeping more could potentially be sick or in pain.
If it looks like your cat is having trouble laying down or getting up after a nap, this could point to a possible issue. Also, a healthy cat will typically respond fairly quickly to the sound of their food being prepared (usually even when they’re napping).
At the end of the day, you know your cat best. Are they tired and lethargic more often? Are you noticing any other signs of discomfort? Do you feel that something just isn’t right? A consultation with the vet will help you understand the root cause of your cat’s behaviour changes.
On the other hand, if a cat seems hyperactive or restless, is not sleeping through the night, or is acting aggressively, this could point to hyperthyroidism. The disease often comes with other symptoms like weight loss, increase in appetite, rapid heart rate, thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, or an unkempt, greasy or matted coat. If you suspect hyperthyroidism, definitely consult a vet.
Naturally, the amount of time your cat sleeps can fluctuate and can actually be affected by changes in the weather and the seasons.
At the end of the day, remember that cats are big sleepers. If your cat sleeps a lot, but it’s fairly consistent, no need to worry.
As for those rare moments when your cat is wide awake, we recommend taking full advantage.
Consider letting your cat enjoy the great outdoors (with all safety precautions in place, of course). Read Indoor vs Outdoor - what is best for your cat? to learn about the benefits and risks of an outdoor environment.