Is Your 10 Year Old Cat Sleeping the Days Away? (This creates curiosity by posing it as a question that readers want the answer to)

Typical Sleep Patterns for Cats

Cats are known for being excellent sleepers, spending an average of 12-16 hours per day sleeping. However, not all of a cat’s sleep is the same. Cats tend to have a polyphasic sleep pattern, meaning they alternate between periods of light sleep and deep REM sleep throughout the day 1.

Kittens and senior cats tend to sleep more than adult cats, with kittens requiring 15-20 hours of sleep per day as they grow and develop. Senior cats, aged 11 years and above, often experience an increase in napping and nighttime sleep as their energy levels decline.

Why Cats Sleep So Much

Cats tend to sleep more than many other mammals for several reasons. One is that sleep helps cats conserve energy. As predators, cats use short bursts of energy to hunt, so they need to recharge through napping and sleep (Source). Cats also tend to be crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. As a result, they sleep more during the day and night when they are less active (Source). The crepuscular sleep pattern allows cats to hunt during times when prey like rodents are also active, giving them the best chance for a successful hunt.

Changes in Sleep Patterns as Cats Age

Sleep patterns in cats change significantly as they age. Kittens need a lot of sleep and may spend up to 20 hours a day sleeping. This allows their bodies to grow and gives them the energy they need for bursts of energetic play. As cats mature into adults, they still sleep quite a bit, but only about 12-16 hours per day on average.

Once cats reach senior age, which is around 10-12 years old, their sleep patterns change again. It’s common for senior cats to sleep even more than they did as energetic kittens. An older cat may sleep 18-20 hours a day. This increased sleep helps compensate for general metabolic slowing and reduced energy levels that come with aging. Senior cats tend to nap more during the day and have longer, deeper sleep periods at night.

While an increase in sleep is common as cats get older, a dramatic change in sleep patterns can also be a sign of underlying health issues. It’s important to monitor your aging cat’s sleep habits and watch for any sudden increases in sleep accompanied by other symptoms like appetite changes or weight loss. If concerned, consult your veterinarian to rule out conditions like hyperthyroidism or kidney disease that may cause excessive sleepiness.


Is Your 10 Year Old Cat Sleeping More Than Usual?

As cats reach 10 years of age and beyond, it’s common for their sleep patterns to change. An older cat may sleep more during the day and be less active than when they were younger. Look at your cat’s current sleep habits and compare them to how they slept over the last few years. Has there been an increase in their overall sleep duration or how long they nap during the day? Also note any changes in your cat’s activity levels – are they less playful or energetic than before? A decrease in play time or exploration can go hand-in-hand with an increase in sleep.

According to one study, the average sleep duration for cats aged 11-15 years was about 15 hours per day. However, each cat is unique so track your own cat’s patterns. If you notice a significant increase in sleep compared to their younger adult years, it could signify an underlying health issue. An increase of more than 4 hours per day may be cause for concern. But the quality and timing of sleep also matter – pay attention if your cat is sleeping more during the day versus at night or if their sleep seems restless.

Along with sleep duration, look for any changes in sleep positions. Stress or pain can cause cats to sleep in a curled up position versus fully stretched out and relaxed. If your aging cat is sleeping more but it is not high quality, restful sleep, discuss this with your veterinarian.

When Increased Sleep May Indicate a Health Problem

While cats naturally sleep more as they age, a dramatic increase in sleep can sometimes be a sign of an underlying illness. According to Dutch (, if your senior cat is suddenly sleeping a lot more than usual, it’s important to be on the lookout for other symptoms that commonly accompany disease.

Appetite changes are one key symptom to watch for. A sick cat may start eating less or show disinterest in food. Weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased thirst can also indicate illness. Lethargy, weakness, instability, and other behavior changes are other potential signs of a health problem.

Any major shifts in normal sleeping patterns, especially when paired with other symptoms, warrant a trip to the veterinarian. The earlier illnesses are caught in senior cats, the better the chances are for successful treatment and recovery. The vet can run tests to check for conditions like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, cancer, and cognitive dysfunction.

With prompt veterinary attention and proper treatment, many senior cats can overcome health problems and regain a good quality of life. So it’s important not to neglect significant changes in sleeping habits, but rather view them as a red flag for a potential underlying issue.

Common Health Issues in Senior Cats

As cats age, they become more susceptible to certain health conditions. Three of the most common health issues that affect senior cats are:

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is very prevalent in older cats. As cats age, their kidneys gradually become less efficient at removing toxins from the blood. Early kidney disease usually doesn’t cause any symptoms, but as it progresses cats may drink and urinate more, lose weight, vomit, become less active, and have a poor appetite [1]. Kidney disease is diagnosed through blood tests and urinalysis. Treatment focuses on reducing the workload of the kidneys with intravenous fluids, a kidney-friendly diet, and medications.


An overactive thyroid gland is another common problem in senior cats. Hyperthyroidism speeds up the body’s metabolism, causing weight loss, increased appetite, hyperactivity, vomiting, and other symptoms. It’s usually diagnosed through blood tests showing high thyroid hormone levels. Treatments include radioactive iodine therapy, anti-thyroid medications, prescription diets, and surgical removal of the thyroid gland [2].

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome (CDS) is similar to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in humans. It causes personality changes, confusion, anxiety, decreased social interaction, disrupted sleep-wake cycles, housetraining issues, and other behavioral changes. There’s no cure for CDS, but medications, supplements, pheromones, and environmental enrichment can help manage symptoms and slow progression [3].

Seeking Veterinary Advice

If your 10-year-old cat’s sleeping patterns have changed significantly and you are concerned, it is a good idea to consult your veterinarian. They can perform a full physical exam and determine if there is an underlying health condition causing the excessive sleepiness.

Some common medical issues in senior cats that may lead to increased sleep include hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, arthritis, cancer, and cognitive dysfunction. Diagnostic tests like bloodwork, urinalysis, x-rays, and ultrasounds can help uncover any problems.

Treatment will depend on the specific condition found. Your vet may prescribe medication, suggest dietary changes, or recommend additional care to manage your cat’s health and improve their quality of life. With the right veterinary care, many 10-year-old cats can live comfortably with medical issues.

In addition to checking for medical problems, your vet can advise you on making your senior cat as comfortable and content as possible. This includes ensuring proper nutrition, creating a soothing home environment, keeping up mental stimulation, and monitoring for any decline in quality of life.

While increased sleep is normal as cats age, significant changes in sleep patterns should prompt a veterinary visit to rule out illnesses and develop a care plan. Your vet is your partner in keeping your senior cat healthy and active for their golden years.

Making Your Senior Cat Comfortable

As cats age, their mobility can become limited, so it’s important to ensure your senior cat has easy access to all the necessities. Here are some tips for making your older cat’s environment comfortable:

Provide easy access to food and water by placing bowls in easy-to-reach areas. Consider getting shallow bowls that are easier for your cat to eat and drink from. Place water bowls away from food to encourage drinking. You can also consider getting a pet fountain to keep water fresh and encouraging drinking.

Ensure litter boxes are in easy to access places and use low-sided boxes for easier entry and exit. Avoid covered boxes which may make it difficult for senior cats. Place litter boxes on the same floor your cat spends most time on to avoid difficult stairs.

Provide cushy beds and blankets in your cat’s favorite warm, quiet spots around the house. Orthopedic beds can provide relief for elderly joints. Place beds near family activities so your cat feels included but can rest comfortably.

Gently groom your senior cat if they have difficulty self-grooming. Nail trims may also be needed more frequently.

Keeping Your Senior Cat Mentally Stimulated

As cats age, it’s important to keep their minds active and engaged. An enriched environment and interactive playtime are key for senior cats. Here are some great ways to provide mental stimulation for an older cat:

Interactive toys that encourage movement and problem solving can help engage your senior cat. Try toys like feather wands and treat balls that make your cat work for their food. Laser pointers are another way to get kitty moving and thinking. Just keep playtime sessions short to avoid overexertion.

Food puzzles and treat dispensers add mental challenge to mealtime. Place your cat’s food inside a puzzle feeder so they have to manipulate and move the toy to access their kibble. You can also hide treats around the house and encourage your cat to hunt for them. This satisfies their inner predator.

Access to windows and outdoor enclosures provides mental enrichment by allowing cats to observe the world outside. Bird feeders or fountains visible from the window offer entertainment. Just make sure your senior cat can easily access their window perch.

Rotating toys, providing interactive playtime, and introducing food puzzles keeps senior cats engaged and promotes cognitive health. A mind that’s challenged stays sharper for longer.

Quality of Life Considerations

As cats enter their senior years, it’s important for owners to regularly assess their pet’s quality of life. Look for signs that your cat is still able to experience joy, comfort, and good health. Some key considerations include:

– Is your cat still enjoying favorite activities like playing, sunbathing, or snuggling?

– Does your cat have a good appetite and seem enthusiastic about mealtimes?

– Is your cat able to comfortably use the litter box and groom himself?

– Does your cat seem interested in interacting with you and his surroundings?

– Is your cat resting comfortably and peacefully most of the time?

If your cat is experiencing more bad days than good, it may be time to talk to your veterinarian about quality of life. Euthanasia is a difficult but compassionate option if your cat is suffering from chronic pain or illness that cannot be effectively treated. Focus on prioritizing your cat’s comfort and dignity as he nears the end of life.

Some signs that euthanasia should be considered include:

– Severe or unmanageable pain

– Inability to move around comfortably

– Loss of interest in food, water, or social interaction

– Significant weight loss and muscle wasting

– Lack of response to medical treatment

By regularly assessing quality of life and working closely with your vet, you can make sure your senior cat’s final days are as peaceful and comfortable as possible.

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