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How Much Sleep Do Cats Need? A Lot, Experts Say

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How Much Sleep Do Cats Need A Lot, Experts Say

They may sleep more or less depending on their routine, their degree of boredom, and even the weather.

You long to be with your pet constantly. However, it seems that your feline companion has different ideas. That includes napping on the chair, on the floor, or in bed. Given their short day, it’s natural to question how long a cat needs to sleep.

Whether your cat has treated you to late-night zoomies and early-morning breakfast requests, you may be left wondering whether he or she ever sleeps. The average cat sleeps between 12 and 20 hours daily, however this may vary widely. Cat expert Samantha Bell from Los Angeles’s Best Friends Animal Society is here to answer your concerns about feline slumber.

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How many hours of rest do cats need daily?

Bell claims that the sleeping habits of indoor and outdoor cats are distinct. This makes logical, since domestic cats evolved to take use of the twilight hours for hunting. When it comes to hunting, “outdoor cats” need to be awake “just before dawn and around sunset,” as Bell puts it. Due to the tiny size of their prey, they need many daily naps in order to have the stamina to pursue an afternoon snack—or three.

Since housecats don’t need to go out and seek for food or keep a sharp eye out for potential danger, “they can snooze whenever and wherever they please,” as Bell puts it. And if we’re really fortunate, they’ll decide to spend the night curled up next to us.

Cats of different ages need the following minimum nightly sleep durations:


Kittens aren’t simply expert nappers; they’re also terrific at looking adorable. Tiny newborn kittens sleep for almost the whole day, according to Bell. Nap duration gradually decreases with age, from roughly 22 hours to 20 hours daily.

Feline adults

“Adolescent cats’ sleeping patterns are as wild as they are,” Bell explains. “Their bodies are changing so much that they are.” Cats spend anything from 12 hours to 20 hours a day sleeping after they reach adulthood. She emphasizes that this figure is very context dependent. Cats, like many of us, sleep more during the long, dark winter months and when they’re bored.

Older Kittens

Bell said the kitten antics have resumed. At least with regard to napping often. “Senior cats sleep as much as they did when they were kittens, about 20 hours a day,” she explains. Bell elaborates by saying that cats of any age are more prone to take little cat naps of about an hour in length rather than sleep for long stretches at once.

In terms of feline mental activity during slumber, Bell speculates that cats are likely dreaming. Unless, of course, they’re only pretending to sleep. A cat may pretend to be asleep. Bell says, “We observe this in cats who are closed off and don’t want to engage with their surroundings. She contrasts this with a contented feline whose sleep patterns often alternate between light and deep phases.

By the way, twitching, assumed to be dream-induced, might be a sign that your cat has entered a deep rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle.

How to Deal With a Cat That Has Abnormal Sleep Patterns

The first thing you should do if you notice your cat is sleeping less or more than normal is to take her to the doctor. Because of discomfort, tooth problems, arthritis, diabetes, or depression, “they could be sleeping more,” Bell adds. Changes in your senior cat’s sleeping patterns may indicate feline cognitive impairment, the animal equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t downplay the significance of reporting even seemingly little changes in your cat’s behavior.

If your cat has been given a clean bill of health, you should evaluate their living conditions. Your cat may not be sleeping because she is anxious about a new family member or because her favorite bed has been moved to a noisy area.

Bell speculates that she may be too wired to sleep or too bored to stay up. And the treatment is to enhance, enrich, enrich.

  • You should spend around 15 minutes playing with your cat twice a day.
  • Provide climbing structures, scratching posts, shelves, and toys that encourage independent play.
  • At a minimum, feed your pet two times day, and more if your doctor recommends it.
  • Spend some time playing with your cat just before night, and then feed it a little snack afterward.

Keep in mind, Bell advises, that a 20-hour sleep cycle is quite typical for cats. Put all your love and enrichment into those few four hours of awake time. Whatever makes your cat happy (wand toys, puzzle feeders, training) will make them want to be awake more.

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