Cats love to sleep. In fact, cats sleep an average of 15 hours a day, with some snoozing for up to 20 hours per 24-hour period. The only animals that get more dream time are bats and possums (and possibly teenagers!). They need somewhere special to spend so much time and the cat cave is the perfect place for them.
Cats are crepuscular animals, which means that they usually come out to play between dusk and dawn. They’re historically natural predators and are still hard-wired to chase and hunt at night like most wild cats. In the wild, cats also have enemies so a way to keep themselves safe is to spend extended periods during the day in quiet, still sleep. Even though our feline buddies are domesticated, they still share that wiring and will often spend the night hours prowling, pouncing, and playing. All of this hunting requires immense amounts of energy so cats need to get lots of sleep to build up their reserves so they can run and stalk as they need to.
Cats sleep much more than humans and prefer to get their rest through short and long naps instead of one big chunk of slumber at night, they experience similar sleep stages and fall asleep quickly after a burst of intense energy. They slip into slow-wave sleep and then move to REM sleep. This is when we dream and you’ll often see your cat twitching their paws, ears, and whiskers – I wonder what they dream about! Hiding away in their own cat cave is the perfect retreat from the world for them.
It doesn’t take much to wake a cat. Even when they are in the middle of a great dream, their senses are still sharp. This allows them to jump into action at a moment’s notice when they sense danger. It’s not unusual for cats to take a nap while they’re sitting upright, their muscles stiffen to keep them in position. Much like their owners, cats like to sleep more when the weather is cold, gray, or drizzly when you may find them being extra clingy.
Most cats will sync their sleep with their owners so they’re awake to play when you’re home and can cuddle up next to you while you sleep.
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