How Many Hours of Sleep Do Cats Get on Average?

By Naomi Millburn

Cats generally sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day. No two felines are exactly the same, however, and age and individual temperament can often influence how much shut-eye they receive. Apart from possums and bats, no other animals get more sleep than cats do.

Age and Sleep

Elderly cats tend to sleep more than their younger counterparts. They sometimes sleep for as many as 18 to 20 hours daily. Their sleep tends to be deeper, as well. Newborn kittens, also sleep more -- upwards of 16 hours a day. Although newborns sleep a lot, it generally isn't continuous. Newborn kittens take frequent naps which often last for mere minutes at a time. Young cats usually develop their sleeping behaviors once they're around three months in age.

Diet and Sleep

What cats consume affects their sleeping behaviors. Unlike big herbivores, cats don't graze and therefore don't need to spend a lot of time feeding to nourish their bodies. Cats eat an abundance of protein which gives them the freedom to enjoy long and leisurely naps frequently. Cats out in nature need to hunt in order to sustain themselves. Hunting is a physically exhausting task, and cats save precious energy by sleeping a lot when they're not busy hunting.

Optimal Sleeping Environment

Cats appreciate sleeping environments that are silent, secure, dry and warm. They're frequently seen sleeping in bedrooms because of this. They don't like sleeping in places that are drafty. Mature cats who live inside generally have three to four preferred napping locations in their homes. Where they choose to sleep may depend on the time. It isn't uncommon for them to switch sleeping spots out of nowhere, too.

Since older cats often have arthritis or reduced muscle tone, they usually favor soft bedding over firmer surfaces.

Nocturnal Animals

Felines are nocturnal creatures. It's typical for them to be active when it's dark out. If a cat spends the bulk of his day asleep, expect him to be up at night playing. Felines tend to sleep a lot when their daytime settings are dull or quiet. If you're usually out of the house during the day, your cat might attempt to get your attention when you sleep at night, often by vocalizing excessively or pawing at you.

If you notice your cat sleeping more than she normally does, take her to the veterinarian for an appointment. Changes in sleeping habits sometimes signify health problems.