Cats are sleeping so much, it feels like we barely see them awake some days. They seem to wake up, enjoy a good bowl of food and go back for a well-deserved nap. Sounds like a good life, doesn't it? But why do they live that way? We asked ourselves that question and spent hours researching scientific articles, the evolution of cats and their very nature. In this article, we summed up our research and are giving you 7 reasons why cats sleep so much.
1. Cats were hunters in the past
It's hard to imagine, but our furry friends used to be hunters in the past. This means that even domesticated cats have the genes of predators. When cats were domesticated thousands of years ago, our little cuties weren't so cute at all. In fact, they were stalking and chasing prey to kill it in order to survive in the wild. And do you know what? This process was extremely energy consuming. For them to recover fully after a hunt, they needed days of rest and - you guessed it - sleep! Fun fact: You can still see the hunting attitude in cats even if they are fully domesticated. Just play with a kitten and watch how it will hide beneath the couch just to jump out in order to 'attack' your hand. These are the hunting genes at work! So in conclusion: Cats are used to sleep long hours, because their body needed (and still needs) it due to their energy consumption throughout the day as former hunters.
2. Cats don't always sleep, they sometimes just 'chill'
Although it might seem like cats sleep a lot of the time, occasionally they are just dozing away out of pure enjoyment. Let's be honest: Wouldn't you, if you had all the time in the world? Did you ever have one of 'those' sundays? Waking up at 8 but just keep on laying in the bed, dozing away and enjoying the coziness of your bed? That's exactly what cats are doing sometimes. But apart from the enjoyment, it also has a deeper meaning for them: Instead of just enjoying their laziness, studies found that cats have the incredible ability to literally be awake and asleep at the same time (kind of)! Cats are able to regenerate energy while they are half asleep. During this time, they are awake enough to sense any kind of movement around them, while still being 'asleep enough' to regenerate fully! This goes again back to their DNA and allows them to rest while still being able to react to their environment! How cool is that? So next time when you are talking behind your cat's back because you think it's asleep, think again!
3. Weather makes cats awake - or sleepy
If there is sun outside, we as human beings tend to automatically feel more energetic. On the contrary, if it's grey and rainy outside, we seem to feel a bit drained and seek the coziness of our couch or bed. Well it turns out that cats feel just the same! Research shows, that regardless of the age, breed and regular disposition of your cat, weather truly affects their state of being! On rainy days, your cat literally doesn't feel like doing anything (Remember that Bruno Mars song?). This will often lead to the cat just laying around, eyes closed and making itself comfortable resulting in a nice, long nap. So next time it's rainy and windy outside, we advise you to do as your cat does and go for a nap. It's our biology that tells us to do so and our cats do it too. Who are we to deny our biology?
4. Cats need more sleep as the grow older
Are you blessed with a cat that has been by your side for a long time? And by long time, we mean more than 10 years! Well if so, congratulations first.
It's incredible how loving such a special relationship can be and we hope every cat owner will experience this special bond. Oh, and if there is one thing you can both do when you get older, then it is sleep. While younger cats tend to sleep 12-14 hours a day, researchers found out that, as they grow older, cats can sleep up to 20 hours per day! This is due to their energy consumption and recovery abilities. This is also why you don't see old cats run a lot: It's not because they necessarily can't! Older cats just know that the energy they consume when doing so needs longer to be recovered now as they are old.
So set yourself up for a comfortable time when growing older with your cat! 'Want to come to the city with us on friday night?' 'Sorry I can't, I need to take a nap with my cat!'
5. Cats get bored
So far we listed many things to which humans can relate. Therefore it's no surprise that cats, just like humans, can get bored. Especially when left alone, cats don't know how to spend their time. But why is that? Unless they are celebrity cats, they are free and can roam around as they please, can't they? Well, it often comes down to the fact that there are no toys, no companions or other things to play with around when you are gone, thus resulting in them taking a nap rather than going out and walking around the neighbourhood. It's the same with us: It's hard for us to get out of a low-energetic state. If we don't have anything to do and are staying in bed all day, we rather take one more nap or watch one more episode of our favorite show than to go out for a walk. Comfort is just... comfortable. Cats feel the same way and tend to be a bit lazy. This results in them being sleepy and thus taking more naps over the day.
You should see and especially hear your cat running around the house, playing with toys along with scratching your furniture when it's awake. If this is not the case and you are experiencing a sort of lethargic behavior by your cat, along with expanded, unnatural sleeping patterns, there is definetly something wrong with your furrball! Although it is normal for cats to sleep 14-16 hours a day, if the other 10-8 hours are not used to deplete the energy it has gained by sleeping that long, you should seriosly see a veterinarian. A good indicator when examining your cat's health by its energy levels is the following: Are you waking up in the night because you hear your cat walking around, meowing, scratching, jumping? If the answer is yes, then it's all good.
7. Obese cats need more energy
Obese cats need a lot more energy than cats that have a regular weight. The extra pounds your cat may carry around slow it down and are therefore responsible for it not wanting to move anymore. This causes the cat to be overall less active, hence resulting in it getting lazy and sleeping all the time. Now, we know what you are thinking: 'Okay, that's interesting, but my cat isn't obese'. But bear with us! A study by the American Veterinary Health Foundation found out, that approximately 58% of domestic cats are actually obese! This is a HUGE number. This means for over half of the cats in America, weight is responsible for unnatural, extended sleeping sessions.
Alright, these were 7 reasons why our feline friends tend to sleep way more than we do. We hope we cleared things up for you and if you liked the post, please feel free to share it within your cat community and stick around for other posts!
Bobcat: flickr, Land Between The Lakes KY/TN
Sleeping Cat: flickr, Dwight Sipler
Obese Cat: flickr, Stephen Bowler