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Why do cats sleep so much?

Most cats will sleep anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a day, with younger and older cats sleeping more than others. This means that cats can spend up to 80% of their life asleep. Cats sleep a lot in order to conserve energy as they are natural born predators, born to hunt and prowl like their wild feline ancestors. 

Most of the time cats will doze or “catnap” lasting 15 to 30 minutes. During this light sleep or the rapid eye movement sleep phase, they will often position themselves so that they are ready to pounce or move if woken. They will generally only go into a deep sleep (non rapid eye movement phase) for a short period of time, around 5 minutes, and then drift back into the light sleep phase. 

Cats are crepuscular creatures meaning that they are instinctively most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. However, cats are very adaptable and will happily change their sleeping habits to work around their family lifestyles, when people are home with them and their feeding schedules. 

If you do notice a change in your cats sleeping habits, sleeping more, sleeping less or being continuously restless, it is best to discuss this with your veterinarian as it could be an indicator of an underlying medical condition. 

Originally published in myPET Magazine Spring 2016 issue.
To view all issues of myPET Magazine click here.

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