Do Cats Just Sleep All Day During The Day

Typical Cat Sleep Patterns

Cats are well-known for being avid sleepers, spending an average of 12-16 hours per day sleeping [1]. In fact, cats spend around 50-70% of the day asleep. However, their sleep is not consolidated into one long sleep period like humans. Instead, cats sleep very lightly and wake up frequently to check their surroundings.

Cats are considered crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active around dawn and dusk [2]. They tend to be awake and energetic in the early morning and evening when their natural prey would be active. During the midday, cats nap frequently and may enter deeper REM sleep. At nighttime, most cats do sleep, although it is a lighter sleep where they remain somewhat alert.

Light Sleep vs Deep Sleep

Cats experience two main types of sleep: light sleep and deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Light sleep is a relaxed state where cats can easily wake if something catches their attention. During light sleep, cats may twitch their whiskers or tails showing they are lightly dozing. Deep REM sleep is when cats are in a deep slumber with faster brainwaves. Their eyes can be seen moving behind their eyelids as they dream. Cats typically enter REM sleep after about 30 minutes of light napping.

Cats alternate between light and deep sleep throughout the day, with younger cats needing more deep REM sleep for development. On average, cats spend about 30% of the day in deep REM sleep and 70% in light dozing. This allows them to get quality restorative sleep while still being able to wake quickly to potential threats.

Why Cats Sleep So Much

Cats sleep a lot because sleep is essential for their bodily functions and overall health. According to PetMD, cats sleep an average of 15-20 hours per day. This extended sleep time allows their bodies to repair tissues, consolidate memories, and release hormones that regulate growth and appetite. Deep REM sleep is especially important for cats to feel well-rested. Without adequate REM sleep, cats can experience impaired immune function, reduced memory, and behavior changes.

Another reason cats sleep so much is to conserve energy for hunting. Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk when prey is abundant. Sleeping during the day and night allows them to store energy for peak activity times. In the wild, excess sleep also keeps cats safely hidden from predators. The conservation of energy through extensive sleep was essential for the survival of feline species.

Napping Behaviors

Cats are known for taking multiple short naps throughout the day instead of one long sleep period. This polyphasic sleep pattern allows cats to conserve energy so they are ready to hunt or defend their territory when needed. Cats may take 5-20 short naps per day, usually lasting 15-30 minutes each.

These frequent cat naps help replenish the cat’s energy levels without taking them into deep sleep for too long. Napping conserves energy so cats are alert and active when they are awake. Domestic cats will take cat naps in cozy, safe spaces around the home.

Nighttime Sleep

Cats tend to be more active at night, as their natural hunting instincts prompt them to seek out prey when it’s dark out. According to Sleep Doctor, nighttime is considered prime hunting time for cats. While their human owners are sleeping, cats are awake and energetic, ready to play, hunt, and explore their surroundings. Many cat owners are familiar with the “midnight zoomies,” where cats suddenly become hyperactive and sprint around at top speed in the middle of the night. Overall, cats sleep less during the nighttime hours, reserving their deepest REM sleep for short daytime napping sessions instead.

Sleep Locations

Cats prefer to sleep in locations that are hidden and feel safe. They often seek out enclosed spaces like boxes, closets, and cabinets where they can retreat from the world and relax completely (Cats Protection). Some favorite sleeping spots include cat beds, couches or chairs, sunny spots on the floor, and their owner’s beds. Since they are vulnerable during sleep, cats want their sleeping area to be away from noisy household activities and provide a sense of security.

Cats tend to avoid sleeping near their food and water bowls or litter boxes if possible. They prefer their sleeping areas to be separate from these other cat “facilities.” Having multiple beds in different rooms and on different levels of the home allows cats to move around and always find a prime napping location.

Factors Affecting Cat Sleep

There are several factors that affect how much cats sleep:

Age: Kittens and senior cats tend to sleep more than adult cats. Kittens sleep up to 20 hours per day as their growing bodies and brains need a lot of rest and development. As cats reach old age, they become less active and need more sleep – up to 20 hours a day as well.

Spayed/neutered status: Cats that are spayed or neutered sleep more than unaltered cats. The removal of reproductive organs leads to hormonal changes that make spayed/neutered cats less active and more prone to napping and sleeping.

Indoor vs outdoor: Indoor cats sleep around 15 hours a day, while outdoor cats that are more active might only sleep around 10-12 hours. The increased mental and physical stimulation from being outdoors leads outdoor cats to sleep less. PetMD

Health Benefits of Cat Sleep

Sleep is critical for a cat’s overall health and wellbeing. During sleep, a cat’s body works to heal itself and restore vital bodily functions. Deep, restful sleep allows a cat’s cells to regenerate and rejuvenate.

Studies show that cats who get adequate high-quality sleep experience reduced stress and anxiety. When cats sleep, their bodies release hormones that lower blood pressure and heart rate, promoting overall relaxation. Research indicates that sleeping with cats or having cats sleep nearby can transfer these calming benefits to humans as well, lowering stress and anxiety levels in people. [1]

The restorative benefits of sleep support immune system functioning, allowing cats to better fight off illness and disease. Well-rested cats enjoy improved mood, increased alertness and focus during their waking hours. Quality sleep is one of the best ways cats can maintain optimal physical and mental health. Ensuring cats get adequate rest should be a top priority for any cat owner.

Signs of Sleep Issues

Some common signs that a cat may be having trouble sleeping include:

Excessive lethargy during the day – Cats who aren’t getting enough sleep at night tend to be much less active and playful during the day. They may sleep more or seem listless and disinterested in normal activities (PetCareRx).

Difficulty sleeping at night – A cat that struggles to fall asleep, wakes up frequently, or seems restless at night could be dealing with a sleep disorder. This may present as vocalization, activity, or demanding attention at night (North Road Veterinary Clinic).

Changes in sleep patterns – Sudden changes in when and where a cat sleeps could indicate an underlying issue. For example, a cat that has always slept at night but suddenly becomes active could be experiencing pain, anxiety, or other problems (WikiHow).

Improving Cat Sleep

There are several things cat owners can do to help their feline friends get better rest:

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule helps cats relax and be less active at night. Make sure to wake your cat up at the same time each morning and play with them before bedtime so they are tired at night. Feeding cats a little bit right before bed also encourages sleep. Keep lights dim and noise levels low at night to minimize disruptions.

Providing safe and comfortable sleeping spaces gives cats security and the ability to sleep soundly. Place cat beds in quiet areas away from noise and foot traffic. Cats also like enclosed hiding spots like cardboard boxes, igloo beds, and covered cat beds. Keep their preferred sleeping areas clean and temperature controlled.

Try to tire your cat out with active playtime before bed so they are ready to sleep at night. Use interactive cat toys like wand toys, balls, and treats in puzzle toys. Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of vigorous playtime. End play sessions by harnessing your cat’s natural prey drive and letting them “catch” the toy. This will leave them feeling satisfied.

Making a few simple adjustments can help transform a cat who is keeping you up at night into one who slumbers peacefully. Pay attention to their needs and establish a relaxing bedtime routine so you both get some shut eye.

Scroll to Top