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When Do Cats Sleep?



When Do Cats Sleep?

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When Do Cats Sleep?

Just like people, cats have different sleep cycles.

A few of the most common ones are the wake-up cycle, the active period, the idle period, and the catnap.

The wake-up cycle is when a cat wakes up from sleep and begins to move around.

The busy period is when a cat does things that require energy, such as playing or hunting.

Finally, the idle period is when a cat is resting or sleeping.

When Do Cats Sleep?
Three ragdoll kittens wearing Santa hats sleeping at Christmas time together.

How Many Hours a Day Do Cats Sleep?

According to the Humane Society, cats usually sleep for about 14 hours each day.

One study examined 48 cats and found that as they grow older, most felines sleep for more hours each day than they did in their younger years.

However, adult cats still need at least 8-12 hours of quality time with their human companions every day.

How Long Do Cats Sleep?

Cats have a unique sleeping pattern compared to humans and most other mammals.

Cats sleep in short bursts or “cat naps.”

While cats will often sleep for hours, they can fall asleep quickly, wake up easily and resume their activities without any memory of the event – this is called ” being polyphasic .”

We (humans) tend to sleep for long periods once or twice per day; we also spend about 25% of our lives sleeping.

The average cat sleeps approximately 15-20 minutes throughout the day.

However, some cats can be more extreme with their patterns: one study found that 113-minute nap/wake cycles were not uncommon in domestic housecats.

The Sleep Cycle for Cats

Cats are often misperceived as lazy and aloof.

But in actuality, they are crepuscular animals meaning that they tend to be awake at dawn and dusk.

Crepuscular animals engage in the most activity when their prey is out during these times of the day.

The researchers believe that cats may have evolved into this sleep cycle because it suits their predatory nature better.

Cats’ usual prey includes small rodents, birds, and reptiles who exhibit different sleeping patterns.

For example, rodents are active primarily at night while birds are more active during the day, leaving twilight hours for hunting them simultaneously without changing sleep cycles.

When Do Cats Sleep?
Two adorable little ragdoll kittens sleeping together on light blue fabric during a newborn-style photoshoot in the studio. Cute napping kitty cats portrait

What Happens While Cats Sleep?

Cats experience non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

Research shows that cats often experience a period of alertness and activity before becoming drowsy and then falling into NREM sleep.

During this NREM stage, your cat may be lightly asleep and ready to awake at a moment’s notice.

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

While cats sleep, they often move into different stages of sleep.

The first stage is called non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.

Your cat may enter NREM while still awake and then become drowsy or fall asleep as the stage progresses.

Cats spend about 50 percent of their sleeping time in this state.

During NREM, your cat’s heart rate slows down to between 40 and 60 beats per minute (bpm).

Breathing becomes slower and more regular at eight to ten breaths per minute with occasional deep sighs when inhalation is more profound than usual.

When a cat falls fully asleep, he enters a period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep that lasts for 10-12 minutes, followed by another cycle of NREM that lasts for 15–20 minutes.

After such cycles are repeated four times during one hour of active sleep, the animal goes into periods of very light slumber interspersed with short waking states.

Although cats sleep a lot, they often wake up quickly and can resume regular activity.

Should You Be Concerned About Your Cat’s Sleep?

You can use the information from these diagnostic tests to develop a treatment plan for your pet.

If you have noticed changes in your cat’s sleep patterns, you must mention this to your veterinarian during an examination.

Changes in sleep habits may be due to illness or stress; if so, treatments are available for both conditions.

In healthy cats, a lack of adequate sleep can lead to increased irritability and hyperactivity and a higher risk of accidents around the home (such as falling off furniture).

Your vet will advise on how much rest they need and whether anything should be done at home to prevent accidents while they recover.

When Do Cats Sleep?
sleeping cat lying on the couch and scarf

Excessive Sleep and Lethargy

Long-term sleepiness may indicate an underlying health problem.

Vets often screen for kidney disease, diabetes, and other conditions by checking a cat’s level of activity or arousal when awakened at various times during the day.

Sleepiest right before your cat wakes up in the morning?

Might the cat get too little water or nutrition and sleep more than 15 hours per day?

The cat might need to see a vet about its kidneys, heart, thyroid gland, arteries, or blood sugar levels (though most cats with those problems don’t sleep more than usual).

The veterinary term for excessive sleeping is “parasomnia.” Parasomnias are behaviors that occur while we’re asleep but which aren’t everyday aspects of our dreams—they include walking around and looking out windows, meowing very loudly without waking up (called “night calling”), staring into space without waking up (“stare”) and pacing back and forth on furniture or even across floors (“perseveration”).

If your cat has one of these problems or is otherwise less active than usual, talk to your vet about possible health issues.

Restlessness and Decreased Sleep

Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty in falling or staying asleep and frequent awakenings.

It may be accompanied by daytime dysfunction such as fatigue and cognitive impairment. Insomnia can have many causes, including anxiety disorders, depression, chronic pain, hyperthyroidism, or drug side effects.

The same treatments apply to all of these conditions; however, unique considerations depend on the underlying cause.

When to Talk to Your Veterinarian

Your veterinarian can help determine the cause of your cat’s changes and identify if they are normal or require further investigation.

If you recognize a difference in your cat, it is essential to call your veterinarian right away so that any potential problems can be diagnosed and treated quickly.

Final Thoughts, When Do Cats Sleep?

In conclusion, cats sleep an average of sixteen hours per day.

They usually sleep for two hours at a time and take several naps throughout the day.

While there is no one answer to when cats sleep, we now have a general understanding of their sleeping habits.

So the next time you see your cat taking a nap, you’ll know that they’re just following their instincts.


how long do cats sleep at night?

Cats usually sleep for around 16 hours a day.

Do cats know to sleep at night?

There’s no answer to this question, as different cats may have other sleep habits.

However, it’s generally accepted that cats are more active at night because that’s when they can hunt without competition from other animals.

This doesn’t mean that all cats know to sleep at night but most likely do so out of instinct.

Do cats sleep at night like humans?

Cats sleep at night and during the day.

Their sleep habits are similar to those of humans.

Do cats have sleep schedules?

Cats have sleep schedules, but they are not as disciplined as humans.

Cats typically sleep for short periods throughout the day and night.

This allows them to be alert and active when necessary, such as hunting prey.

Why do cats sleep with you?

There are a few reasons why cats might sleep with you.

One reason is that they may be seeking warmth and comfort.

Cats also often sleep close to their human companions to feel safer.

How much do cats sleep by age?

Cats sleep a lot, but their amount varies based on their age.

For example, kittens sleep up to 18 hours a day, while adult cats usually sleep for around 12 hours.

Senior cats may sleep for up to 16 hours a day.

Further Reading

Why do cats sleep at your feet?

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