Relax, Your Cat Is Probably Not Sleeping “Too Much”

Most cats sleep around 16 hours a day, with kittens and seniors snoozing even longer than that.

Cat sleeping too much
Does your cat sleep too much? Probably not — all cats sleep around 70% of the day. Photo: rberteig

Many people worry that their cat sleeps too much.

The truth is, cats sleep twice as much as we do, so it just seems like they sleep all the time. So sleeping for a long time is a normal part of your cat’s daily routine.

Cat Sleeps Too Much?

Your cat’s favorite pastime is not plotting their next attack on the bird. Cats nap constantly and are exceptionally good at it.

In the wild, cats must hunt for their food. Regardless of whether they’re a Bengal tiger or a feral kitty, they must find a way to get food. This takes a lot of time and energy.

Often, prey escapes the grasp of their claws and teeth. Sleeping conserves energy so that the cat can chase down their dinner whenever dinner makes itself available.

OK, so a house cat doesn’t hunt for meals — they get the meals delivered in a pretty bowl from a can or a bag. However, the natural need for a cat to doze off and save energy will always be there.

How long do cats sleep normally? Around 16 hours seems to be the average, but young kittens and senior cats can snooze even longer: around 18 hours a day.

Myth: Cats Are Nocturnal

Many people believe their kittens are nocturnal and are awake and active all through the night. This is not true.

Cats are crepuscular animals. This means they are most active at sunrise and sundown — the easiest times for cats to find and catch their meals.

This dominates the sleep patterns of all cats, feral and domesticated alike. Genetic behavior doesn’t change.

cat sleeping all the time
If your cat seems to sleep too often, are you providing enough mental stimulation, such as toys? Photo: GwendolineQuinlan

Give Your Cat Something Interesting to Do

If there’s nothing terribly exciting happening in your house, who can blame your cat for dozing off?

To see your pet on their feet more often, enrich the environment through interactive toys and grooming activities.

Increased activity can benefit your cat’s muscles and heart. Another plus is less weight gain versus a more sedentary lifestyle.

You might also want to install a window perch. Cats love gazing out at things that are happening outside.

And now, a ridiculously cute diversion. This little kitten would rather not be awake:

Potential Signs of Trouble

If your cat is sleeping far more than usual, this might be a sign of illness.

Just remember that young kittens will snooze more than the average adult cat. Growth hormones are released when the kitten sleeps that are essential for growth.

Senior cats also fall asleep more than most others. Just as in humans, older pets need more bedtime than younger ones. It is merely a result of the aging process.

Again, note unusual sleep patterns and see your veterinarian if things just don’t feel right.

Symptoms of Anemia in a Cat

If your pet is not a kitten and not old, they should maintain their regular hours of nap times.

If the amount of hours your cat sleeps has increased, check the cat’s gums. If the gums are pale, it is a sign of anemia. Anemia is very dangerous, so see the vet right away.

You’ve heard the expression “Let sleeping dogs lie.” We believe it’s equally important to “Let sleeping kitties lie.” They love to nap, and it’s perfectly natural.

So, to sum this up: If there are no signs of illness, distress or extreme disinterest in play, we doubt you should worry a whole lot about whether your cat sleeps too much.

Additional Resources

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At Petful®, founded by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and editor Dave Baker, we are on a mission to give our readers the best, most accurate information to help their pets live happier, healthier lives. Our team of expert writers includes veterinarians Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD, and Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, among others. Petful is also the leading independent source of U.S. pet food recall information on the web. Learn more about the amazing team behind Petful here: Meet the Team.

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