Why do cats sleep so much? Understanding your cat’s strange sleeping habits

February 23rd, 2018
By Kaya Browder

How much sleep do cats need?

Do you ever leave for work with your cat snoozing in their favorite sunny spot and return to them still fast asleep in the exact same spot? It makes you wonder if they’ve moved at all or just spent the entire day in a peaceful slumber. These interesting facts will help you understand why cats need so many catnaps!

How much sleep

Excluding bats and opossums, cats are the sleepiest mammals. On average, cats sleep twice as much as humans. That translates to roughly 12 to 16 hours each day. Some lazy cats even snooze up to 20 hours every day!


Cats are natural predators. In the wild, it is important for cats to conserve their energy to hunt for food. Even indoor cats that always have a bowl full of food have the natural instinct to be conservative with their energy for hunting.

Most active at night

Cats are nocturnal because of their natural instinct to hunt at night. This explains why cats are so active at night. Domesticated cats are able to adapt fairly easily though. If you are on a consistent daily schedule, your cat may adjust to that schedule and become more active during the day. Cat wants to spend time with their humans so they will often start to sleep while you sleep or while you are away at work.

Different states of sleep

Cats experience different levels of sleep that are similar to human’s sleep stages. They can go between a light or deep state of sleep. This light state of sleep is sometimes referred to as a “catnap”. While cats are napping, they often lay in a position where they can easily jump up if they need to. Their ears will move if they hear a sound and their eyes may even open slightly. In this state they are still able to get the rest that they need while staying alert. Cats are much less alert and aware when in a deep sleep. Cats will turn on their sides and actually dream when they are in a state of deep sleep.


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