How Many Hours Of Sleep Do House Cats Need?

Average Sleep Requirements for Cats

Most adult cats sleep between 12-16 hours per day on average. Kittens and older cats need even more sleep – upwards of 20 hours daily. This extended sleep is normal for felines. In the wild, cats sleep more than 12 hours to conserve energy between hunts. Domestic cats retain this instinctual need for sleep.

Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. As natural hunters, cats prefer to sleep during the day and roam at night when prey is active. An outdoor cat with space to roam might sleep 9 hours during the day, and another 9 hours at night. Indoor cats sleep longer consolidated bouts since they have less to do.

On average, a healthy adult cat will sleep:

  • 12-16 hours per 24 hours
  • 50% of the day and 50% of the night
  • Polyphasically, with short naps alternating with periods of activity

Kittens, senior cats, and cats recovering from illness may sleep over 20 hours daily. Each cat’s sleep needs vary based on age, health, personality and environment.

Sleep Patterns and Stages

Cats are polyphasic sleepers, meaning they sleep for short periods throughout the day and night rather than in one long stretch. On average, cats sleep for 12-16 hours a day total, usually alternating between periods of sleep and wakefulness 1. Cats go through several stages during their sleep cycles:

REM Sleep: This stage accounts for about 30% of a cat’s sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement. In this stage, a cat’s eyes move quickly side to side beneath their eyelids as they dream. Their bodies become immobile to prevent acting out dreams. This is the deepest stage of sleep.

Light Sleep: Cats spend about 50% of their sleep time in light sleep. Their eyes move slowly in this stage and their muscles stay relaxed, but they are easily woken up.

Deep Sleep: This stage makes up around 20% of a cat’s sleep. Their heartbeat, breathing, and eye movements slow as their body enters a deep state of rest. It’s very difficult to wake a cat in deep sleep.

Benefits of Sleep

Sleep provides many important health benefits for cats. According to research, adequate sleep improves cats’ overall health and wellbeing. Some key benefits include:

Improved health and wellbeing – Sleep allows a cat’s body to fully rest and recharge. Without sufficient sleep, a cat’s immune system and other body systems can become compromised over time, leading to poorer health (Source).

Cognitive benefits – Sleep is vital for proper brain function and development in cats. During sleep cycles, the brain processes information, solidifies memories, and clears out toxins. Lack of sleep can impair learning, memory, and decision making (Source).

Physical recovery and growth – Growth hormones are released during deep sleep stages. Kittens need even more sleep than adult cats to support their rapid development and growth. Sleep also allows muscles, bones, and tissue to fully recover and regenerate (Source).

In summary, quality sleep keeps cats mentally sharp, physically fit, and healthier overall. It’s an essential part of a cat’s daily routine.

Factors Affecting Sleep Needs

A cat’s sleep requirements can vary quite a bit depending on several key factors:


Kittens and younger cats need more sleep than adult cats. Kittens may sleep up to 20 hours per day as their growing bodies and brains need extra rest [1]. Adult cats typically only need 12-16 hours of sleep.


Cats dealing with injuries, illnesses or medical conditions may sleep more than usual as their bodies conserved energy for healing. Pain and discomfort can also disrupt normal sleep patterns.


Some cat breeds like Siamese and Burmese tend to be more energetic and sleep less than breeds like Persians and Ragdolls who are known to sleep more. Breed disposition and personality influences sleep habits.


Cats that go outside may sleep less during the day and more at night. Indoor cats often sleep more overall due to reduced activity and stimulation. Things like noise, other pets, children and clutter can also affect duration and quality of sleep.

Signs of Inadequate Sleep

Cats who aren’t getting enough sleep may exhibit some telltale signs. These include:

Excessive drowsiness – If your cat is sleeping more than usual or appears lethargic even after a full night’s sleep, it could be a sign they are not getting high-quality restorative sleep. Their increased drowsiness is an attempt to make up for poor sleep.

Changes in behavior – Sleep deprivation can cause moodiness, irritability, hyperactivity, or other behavioral changes in cats. A cat that is suddenly aggressive, clingy, or withdrawn may be lacking proper sleep.

Increased irritability – Cats need sleep to regulate their moods and emotions. Without enough sleep, cats may act out with aggression or other problems. Excessive meowing, biting, scratching, and other irritable behaviors can indicate a sleep deficit.

Some additional signs include poor concentration, lack of interest in play, and a depressed or anxious mood. If your cat is displaying any of these symptoms chronically, consult your veterinarian to identify and address the root cause.

Tips for Better Cat Sleep

Establishing a consistent sleep schedule is an important tip for improving your cat’s sleep. Cats thrive on routine, so try to feed them and play with them around the same times each day. Make sure your cat has a comfortable, cozy place to sleep. Provide soft, warm bedding in a quiet area away from noise and foot traffic. Developing a relaxing nighttime routine signals to your cat when it’s time for bed. Activities like brushing and quiet play help cats wind down. For senior cats or cats with health issues, discuss potential underlying causes with your vet. Conditions like arthritis, hyperthyroidism or anxiety can disrupt sleep. Your vet may recommend treatment options to help your cat sleep better.

As recommended by PetMD, “Try to keep your cat on a schedule of feeding, playing, and sleeping at about the same time every day.” Consistency and routine are key for quality cat sleep. Providing the proper bedding also ensures your cat is comfortable and relaxed when sleeping. Rovers suggests “using a bed with cushioning and sides that your cat can burrow into.” Establishing a calming nighttime routine is another tip for a good night’s sleep, like brushing or quiet play before bed.

Common Sleep Issues

Cats can experience several common sleep issues that disrupt their normal sleep patterns and prevent them from getting adequate rest. Some of the most common cat sleep problems include:


Insomnia is characterized by an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. Insomnia in cats can be caused by anxiety, stress, pain, or medical conditions like hyperthyroidism. Cats with insomnia may pace, meow, or seem restless at night. Treatment for feline insomnia may include resolving underlying medical issues, using calming supplements or pheromones, and establishing a relaxing nighttime routine (Source).


Restless sleep is common in cats and may present as fidgeting, moving between sleep positions, or waking up frequently. Cats normally alternate between deep and light sleep throughout the night. However, medical issues, anxiety, pain, or other factors can cause a cat to experience restless, interrupted sleep cycles. If restlessness persists, the cat may become sleep deprived over time.

Excessive Sleeping

While cats do sleep more than humans, excessive sleeping may indicate an underlying issue. Sleeping over 20 hours a day on a regular basis can result from medical problems like anemia, hypothyroidism, or kidney disease. Excessive sleeping may also occur due to depression, boredom, or lack of exercise. Consulting a veterinarian can help determine if there’s a health problem causing a cat to sleep too much (Source).

When to See the Vet

If your cat is experiencing persistent changes in their normal sleep patterns, it’s important to consult your veterinarian, as it could signal an underlying illness. Some signs that warrant a veterinary visit include:

  • Sleeping significantly more or less than usual
  • Waking up frequently at night and having trouble falling back asleep
  • Unusual sleep positions or locations
  • Excessive meowing or restlessness at night
  • Daytime lethargy or sleepiness

Underlying conditions that can disrupt a cat’s sleep include:

  • Chronic pain from arthritis or other issues
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Cognitive dysfunction syndrome
  • Dental disease
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Anxiety or stress

If an illness is causing sleep disturbances, treating the underlying condition may resolve the sleep issues. Your vet can provide medications, supplements, or other therapies tailored to your cat’s specific needs. Don’t hesitate to consult your vet if your cat’s sleep patterns seem off.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the most common questions about cat sleep requirements and patterns:

How many hours a day do cats sleep on average? The average cat sleeps between 12-16 hours per day. Kittens and older cats need more sleep, while adult cats in the prime of life may sleep less.

Do cats sleep more than dogs? Yes, cats generally sleep more than dogs. The average dog sleeps 10-14 hours per day. Cats are known to be more inactive than dogs.

Why do indoor cats sleep so much? Indoor cats lead more sedentary lives than outdoor cats and need more sleep as a result. Lack of mental stimulation and physical activity causes indoor cats to sleep excessively. Providing playtime and environmental enrichment can help reduce excessive sleeping.

Do cats sleep deeply? Yes, cats experience deep REM sleep where brain activity increases and they can dream. Their sleeping habits include light napping as well as deep REM sleep stages.

Should I wake my cat up from sleep? It’s best not to wake up a sleeping cat. Abruptly disturbing a cat’s sleep can cause them stress. Allow cats to wake up naturally unless there is an urgent need.

Where should my cat sleep at night? Cats can sleep wherever they feel safe and comfortable – high perches, cat trees, beds, or next to trusted humans. Provide different sleeping spots and let them choose based on their natural preferences.

The Importance of Quality Cat Sleep

Getting enough high-quality sleep is extremely important for a cat’s health and wellbeing. As discussed throughout this article, cats need lots of sleep – generally 12-16 hours per day – to function at their best. Sleep allows cats to restore their bodies and minds, process information, and strengthen their immune systems. Kittens and senior cats especially require ample quality rest.

When cats don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to increased stress, anxiety, irritability, and behavioral issues. Sleep deprivation weakens the immune system, slows reflexes, clouds thinking, and contributes to weight gain. Lack of sleep has even been linked to more serious feline health problems like kidney disease and cognitive dysfunction.

By understanding cats’ sleep patterns and needs, providing a comfortable sleeping environment, sticking to a routine, managing stress, and addressing any underlying medical issues, cat owners can help ensure their feline companions get the sleep they require. Make sleep a priority for the wellbeing of your cat. Healthy sleep habits will improve your cat’s mood, behavior, cognitive abilities, immunity, and longevity. Quality rest is one of the best things you can give your feline friend.

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