Cat sleeping

Key takeaway

Cats sleep a lot. In fact, it’s common for cats to sleep 18 hours or more every day. There are many reasons why your cat may be sleeping a lot, including boredom, anxiety, illnesses, and more. Consult a vet if you notice a sudden change in your cat’s sleeping habits.

Cats love to sleep, and they can sleep anywhere. From your lap and in the sink to the kitchen table or on your keyboard while you’re trying to work, there’s nowhere a relaxed cat won’t sleep. But why do cats sleep so much? Cats require several hours of sleep to play, run, and jump. However, they can also sleep for other reasons, such as boredom or because they’re in pain. 

Since you spend so much time with your cat, you may realize how much they sleep and wonder if it’s normal. If you’re asking yourself, “Why do cats sleep a lot?”, this article will discuss possible reasons, cat naps versus regular sleep, and when your cat’s sleeping habits should be addressed. Let’s get started. 

6 Reasons Cats Sleep So Much

Are you jealous of how much sleep your cat gets? Many humans wish they had enough time to take a cat nap during the day, but unfortunately, we have too much stuff to do. Cats sleep a lot for many reasons, some of which are completely normal. Here are six reasons why cats sleep excessively. 

6 reasons cats sleep so much

Boredom 

Cats tend to spend much of their day sleeping. However, if your cat’s only activity in the day seems to be napping or you think your cat is resting too much, consider getting them more enrichment activities, such as treat-dispensing toys or cat trees to climb. You can also let your cat relax in front of a window so they can watch the birds and bugs outside.

Pet parents can also prevent boredom by getting involved in their cat’s play. It’s a good idea to spend at least a few minutes every day playing with your cat to ensure they’re not bored and are getting enough mental stimulation and physical exercise. 

Boredom can lead to undesirable behavior, such as destroying furniture or wall scratching. It can also result in excessive meowing for attention and frequent napping. Napping too much during the day can keep your cat up at night. So instead, always ensure your cat has enough activities in their day to prevent these issues. 

Illness

Cats tend to sleep more when they’re not feeling well and are experiencing pain. If your cat starts sleeping more than usual or for more extended periods, it may indicate an underlying health concern, such as kidney disease, feline diabetes, or heart disease.2

Cats can’t talk, so they can’t tell you when they’re not feeling well. They also tend to hide their symptoms, especially when in pain.Many signs of illnesses in cats are subtle, such as napping more often or for longer periods.1

Changes in your cat’s sleeping habits can indicate health problems, so if they’re napping more than usual, it can be a sign that they’re not feeling well. Common illnesses that may cause cats to sleep more often include:

Of course, any mild or severe illness can result in more sleeping since sleeping allows your cat’s body to rest to fight off disease and infection. 

Energy conservation 

Animals in the wild conserve their energy to hunt and catch prey. While most hunting requires stealth, wild animals must also engage in sprinting and running to catch their meals. Even though cats are domesticated, they still have many natural instincts, including hunting. So if your cat is frequently napping, they may be trying to conserve their energy for when they need it most. 

Cat sleeping on couch

Stress  

Like humans, cats may nap during times of increased stress.5 Anxiety in cats is common, especially for those adopted from shelters. Your cat could be stressed for several reasons, including guests in the home, storms, or separation anxiety. Your furry friend may find a quiet place to sleep during times of stress as a way to cope with their fear.

They’re up during the night 

Cats that are up at night will sleep more during the day because they don’t get the sleep they need at night. Cats are typically most active in the early morning and dusk, making them crepuscular.6 While most pet cats can change their sleeping schedules to match yours, many may still be accustomed to being more active at specific parts of the day. 

Additionally, napping during the day may be why your cat is up at night. When your cat sleeps during the day, they have more energy at night. This cycle will continue unless you can find a way to keep your cat awake and engaged throughout the day. If you don’t want your cat running around the house in the middle of the night, look for ways to enrich them. 

Age

The older animals get, the more energy they need to conserve. Older cats are less active than younger cats and typically sleep more.7 Additionally, because older cats usually can’t climb or jump as well as they once did, they may not be able to get to their favorite spots or have enough energy to play throughout the day. As a result, they may sleep more. 

Of course, you may believe your cat is napping when they’re really not. Many cats can relax with their eyes closed in their favorite spot and look asleep, but they’re actually awake. 

Cat Naps vs. Sleeping

There are two different ways cats rest: napping or sleeping. While both aim to help your cat conserve and regain energy, there are differences between cat naps and sleep. 

The average cat nap lasts 78 minutes

Naps are typically brief and only last a few hours at most. After a nap, your cat may lay down for a while or engage in play. Naps are light periods of sleep that let cats wake up whenever needed. For example, a cat may nap lightly during the day, allowing them to watch you and ensure you’re not going anywhere. Essentially, your cats are in an idle mode, so they can wake up quickly at any time.2

Deep sleep typically occurs when your cat sleeps for more than a few hours. Deep sleep allows your cat to relax fully, and they may not even wake up when you leave the room. Unlike humans, cats sleep multiple times in a day instead of sleeping for one single prolonged period at night.4 

How Much Sleep Do Cats Need?

Most cats sleep at least twelve hours a day.4 However, some cats can sleep much more than that, which is completely normal. As cats get older, they may sleep for longer periods of time to rest their bodies.  

More than 50% of cats receive 12 to 18 hours of sleep daily

Additionally, kittens tend to sleep more than adult cats because they’re still growing. Newborn kittens can also suffer from fading kitten syndrome, which causes sleepiness and difficulty breathing. 

Other factors can affect how much cats sleep. For example, if your cat is sick, they may need more sleep to help their bodies get rid of the virus. Additionally, active cats may sleep excessively because they need to regain their energy. 

When to See a Vet for Your Cat’s Sleeping Habits

You spend a lot of time with your cat, so you’ll know when they’re sleeping more than usual. If you’re asking yourself, “Why is my cat sleeping so much?” frequently and you notice a sudden change in your cat’s sleeping habits, consult a vet. Make sure to also discuss with your vet additional symptoms your cat is experiencing. 

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much: Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal for a cat to sleep all day? 

It’s completely normal for a cat to sleep all day. However, consult a vet if you notice any changes in your cat’s sleeping habits. While cats can sleep twelve hours a day or more, a shift in their sleep can indicate a health concern. 

Additionally, your cat may not be in a deep sleep all the time. Many cats like to relax on their cat trees or comfortable furniture with their eyes closed. 

How long should my cat sleep daily?

Some cats can sleep up to twenty hours, so there’s no limit on how long your cat should sleep. However, if your cat is active at night and you want to prevent them from engaging in destructive behavior, consider giving them something to do during the day to keep them awake. For example, you can provide your cat toys to play with or take them on short walks.

Remember, cats can sleep up to 18 hours a day, so there’s no reason to wake them up if they’re trying to nap. They may actually be trying to conserve energy so they can play later. 

Is my cat sleeping because they’re sick or tired?

Lethargy and tiredness are common symptoms of many illnesses in cats. If you want to know whether your cat is sick or tired, consult a vet. This is especially important if they're also experiencing other symptoms since it can indicate a serious health concern. 

Only a vet can diagnose your cat. While lethargy is a common symptom of many ailments, you won’t know if your cat is sick without the help of a qualified vet.  

Final Notes

So, why do cats sleep so much? Sleeping is a normal cat behavior, and most cats can sleep for up to 18 hours or more a day. While napping is a part of every cat’s daily routine, it can indicate a health problem when accompanied by other symptoms. Cats typically nap because they’re bored, sick, or attempting to conserve energy. However, your cat may also be resting more often to cope with stress. 

If you notice a shift in your cat’s sleeping habits, consult a vet as soon as possible. Whether your cat sleeps to cope with stress or pain, let a veterinarian help you figure out why they're sleeping excessively. Dutch offers telemedicine for pets to prevent anxious cats from taking scary trips to the vet while providing high-quality, non-emergency veterinary care and treatment plans.

References

  1. Buchmelter, Tania. “Tania Buchmelter.” Danbury Animal Welfare Society, Tania Buchmelter Https://Daws.org/Wp-Content/Uploads/2019/10/Logo-1.Png, 12 Jan. 2021, https://daws.org/signs-of-boredom-in-your-cat/

  2. “Tufts Veterinary Medicine.” Cummings Veterinary Medicine | Cat Nappers, http://sites.tufts.edu/vetmag/summer-2013/cat-nappers/

  3. “When Is Your Cat Hiding Illness or Injury?” CVMBS News, 11 Mar. 2022, https://vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk/when-is-your-cat-hiding-illness-or-injury/

  4. “How Long Do Cats Sleep?” Sleep Foundation, 20 Apr. 2022, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/animals-and-sleep/how-much-do-cats-sleep.

  5. Care, International Cat. International Cat Care, 5 Oct. 2018, https://icatcare.org/advice/stress-in-cats/.

  6. “Cat Keeping You Awake? How to Manage Night Activity.” Animal Humane Society, https://www.animalhumanesociety.org/behavior/cat-keeping-you-awake-how-manage-night-activity

  7. “Loving Care for Older Cats.” Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, 3 Aug. 2018, https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/loving-care-older-cats