How Long Should Cats Sleep For?

How Long Should Cats Sleep For?

It’s fair to say that a lot of cats are far less active than the average dog and most will spend a lot of time sleeping. But how many hours should your cat be sleeping before you worry about whether it counts as too much or too little?

Why Cats Sleep a Lot

Your cat’s inclination to sleep a lot goes back to their genetic makeup. In the wild, their ancestors had to put a lot of effort into tracking down, chasing and successfully trapping their prey and spent a lot of time in between this resting and conserving energy before the next hunt.

Our pet cats may be a lot more domesticated than this and don’t need to work as hard for their food but this genetic makeup still rules their lives to a large extent, and they will still tend to sleep for good chunks of the day.

What Counts as Normal?

Wild cats would typically sleep for anything from 16 to 20 hours in the average day and it’s not unusual for their more domesticated counterparts to also sleep for this long despite the differences in lifestyle.

Cats that are elderly or very young will often be at the top end of this sleeping scale whereas younger and middle aged cats may be more towards the bottom end of it.

This may seem like a lot, but cats aren’t always sleeping as deeply as you might think…

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How Cats Sleep

Cats will spend much of their sleep time in a very light sleep mode, which is why you will often see them wake up at the slightest noise. In this mode, their ears will twitch and react to noises and their eyes may be open slightly. They can fall into this way of sleeping even when sitting upright.

Again, this is a throwback to their ancestors who needed to be alert to potential predators and be able to stir at a moment’s notice.

When they are in deeper sleep mode, cats are more likely to be curled up and their eyes are usually completely closed. This is the time when they are more inclined to dream too and if you see their whiskers and paws twitching, this is probably what is happening!

What to do If Your Cat’s Sleeping Patterns Change

If your cat suddenly starts sleeping more than usual, it could be a sign that something is wrong with their health. Your vet can check for any health problems that may be causing or contributing to this.

Likewise, it’s best to see your vet if your cat isn’t sleeping as much as before as this can also potentially be due to health issues.