Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

If you have a feline friend, chances are he spends a lot of time playing, eating, not listening to you, and of course, catching up on his Z's.

British short hair cat asleep
credit: chendongshan/iStock/GettyImages

But why is your cat sleeping so much? No, you aren't that boring (or maybe you are, but your cat doesn't care)! This is normal cat behavior. Your cat is just being...well... a cat!

So, if you are sitting at home with your sleepy friend, you may be left wondering: how long can a cat sleep? Can a cat sleep too long? Why do cats sleep so much?

How long do cats sleep?

Cats sleep a lot, napping for long, long hours to restore their energy. But, you may notice a cat's sleep pattern is a bit...different from a human's. According to MSN, cats sleep on average 15 hours a day, and can snooze for up to 20 hours within a 24 hour period. Talk about one heck of a cat nap!

Keep in mind that cat sleep patterns vary from indoor to wild cats, so while indoor cats may sleep a lot during the day, free-roaming wild cats will often spend the daylight hours exploring the outdoor terrain and stalking their prey.

Why do cats sleep so much?

When it comes down to it, a cat's motto is: Eat, prey, love... and sleep. Cats are crepuscular animals who sleep during the day and remain largely awake during the dusk and dawn, similar to lions and other cats.

A cat sleeping in a blanket.
credit: Thorsten Frisch/500px Prime/GettyImages

In the wild, cats evolved to sleep for long hours in order to save up the strength for hunting their prey. The instincts of domesticated cats have not changed much from their wild counterparts, but since domesticated cats have a reliable food source, it may appear that they remain in deep sleep for unnecessarily long periods of time.

Are cats nocturnal?

No, they aren't! Many people may make this mistake, but cats are crepuscular animals, not nocturnal. Unlike nocturnal animals who sleep during the day and are awake during the nighttime, cats are active during the dusk and dawn, and get their shut eye for long periods of time in between to conserve energy. Fun fact: this is where the term cat nap comes from!

Can my cat sleep too much?

Not really. Cats do tend to sleep a lot, but if your cat is demonstrating lethargic behavior, that is a different story. If you see that your feline friend is less energetic than usual, and is not interested in her normal routine, including playtime, chowing down, or giving you sass, then you may want to call a vet. This is not normal kitty behavior.

Do older cats sleep more?

According to Cornell Feline Health Center, older cats do tend to sleep more. Making accommodations for your older cat is essential, as other changes will occur as well as he ages, including lower energy and lessening mobility. Be sure to see the vet regularly, and have easy access to food, water, his litter box, and anything else that your cat may need so that he is comfortable in his older age.

Do dogs sleep as much as cats?

No, not quite. But you may be surprised to know how much dogs actually do sleep! According to the AKC, on average, dogs spend about 12-14 hours a day sleeping. Which is not too far off from the 15 hours on average that their feline friends spend snoozing! Puppies, on the other hand, spend much of their energy playing, learning, and growing, so they need about 18-20 hours on average of sleep per day. That is a lot of shut eye!

two cats asleep in small cat hammock
credit: w-ings/iStock/GettyImages

Conclusion

While your cat may sleep a lot, this behavior is not out of the norm. In fact, it is simply a part of being a cat! Cats are crepuscular animals that sleep between dusk and dawn to preserve their energy for the hunt. This sleep pattern is inherited from a wild hunting instinct seen in lions, tigers, and other large cats found in nature, and is still present among domesticated cats. So while it may appear as though your cat is a lazy little stinker who enjoys to nap, your feline friend can't help himself. Cut him some slack and let him enjoy his snooze!