Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

If you have cats, then you probably already know that they sleep a whole lot. Most of the time, I find my kitties curled up somewhere warm during the day, and running up and down the halls acting like hooligans all night.

They do look so darn cute when they are sleeping though, especially when they get into these impossible positions that only a cat could get into! The truth is, cats seem to spend around 75% of their time sleeping. One of the questions that we are often asked is why do cats sleep so much? There are actually quite a few reasons why cats sleep a lot.

Some of it is natural instinct, but there could be other factors that play into how much time they spend sleeping as well.

Understanding Your Cat’s Instinctive Behaviors

A lot of your cat’s behaviors are actually instinctive, believe it or not. Cats are predatory animals by their natural instinct, so they use a lot of their energy following and chasing their prey.

For this reason, they need to make up some of this energy by taking little catnaps. While domestic cats don’t really prey in the wild for their food, they still have the natural instinct to preserve their energy. Cats are also nocturnal, which will explain why they spend much of the day sleeping, and during the night they may be wide awake being playful. That is because the night time is the best time for hunting, and again, these instincts just kind of stick with them.

How Age Affects Their Sleeping Patterns

Another factor that really affects the sleeping patterns of cats is age. Their age is going to greatly impact their level of activity.

For example, kittens that haven’t yet reached maturity at a year of age will sleep a lot more than an adult cat. This is because they are still growing and developing, and their bodies need this extra sleep. Newborn kittens will actually sleep around 95% of the time until they are a few weeks old, and then they get a little bit more active.

As your cat gets older, into the senior years, they will slow down and start sleeping a whole lot more. Older cats may be affected by painful conditions like arthritis that may affect their mobility. This causes them to sleep for longer periods.

If your cat is older, they may need a supplement or medication to help alleviate these conditions so that their mobility may be increased and they can be comfortable. This is something worth talking to your veterinarian about.

Bored cat standing and sleeping

Your Cat Might Just Be Bored

Boredom is another common cause of sleepiness in cats.

Indoor cats often get bored during the day, especially if they are left home alone. Bored cats are much more prone to sleeping all day than cats that have a lot of things to do with their time. If you think that your cat sleeps too much, then you might want to get them a few cat toys that they can play with while you are gone during the days. You can look for fun toys that will be interactive as well, so that they don’t get bored with the toys.

Some cat lovers even choose to get a second cat for their home to give theirs a playmate so that they won’t be as bored, and will ultimately increase their level of activity.

Is Your Cat Overweight?

If you answered yes, then this may be the biggest reason why your cat sleeps all of the time.

Overweight cats don’t tend to have as much energy as cats that are at a healthy weight for their age and size. Extra pounds tend to slow a cat down, and this can ultimately lead to more weight gain down the road. Obesity can also lead to certain health conditions. If you want your cat to be more active, you may need to lower their weight by putting them on a weight control diet. This is something that you can talk to your veterinarian about. They have cat foods that have more fiber with fewer calories that will give them more energy and allow them to lose weight safely.

Is a Veterinary Visit in Order?

A lesser known cause of lethargy and sleepiness in cats is illness.

There are certain illnesses, such as anemia, hypothyroidism and feline diabetes that will make your cat sleepy. When your cat is awake, you should see them running around and being active. If they aren’t, then something could be wrong. You might need to talk to your vet about bringing them in for a checkup. You don’t want to let an underlying condition continue to get worse over time because you don’t notice the warning signs. While it is normal for cats to sleep a lot, keep an eye on their behaviors when they are awake. A decrease in activity could be a sign of something more serious.

Is It Possible for Them to Get TOO Much Sleep?

Now that you know the answer to the age old question – why do cats sleep so much – you may be wondering if it is okay for your cat to sleep all day, or if it is possible for them to get too much sleep.

The answer is yes. Your cat should not sleep more than around 75 to 80% of the time. If they are sleeping much more than this, it could be a sign that something is not quite right. Does that mean that you need to wake them up during the middle of a nap? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that you should let it go unnoticed.

Cats' Sleeping Habits

Interesting Facts About Cats’ Sleeping Habits

Cats are very unique animals, and their sleeping habits are pretty unique too. Here are a few interesting facts about cats’ sleeping habits:

#1 – Your Cat May Not Always Be Sound Asleep

About 3/4 of the time that your cat spends sleeping,  they probably aren’t sleeping at all . They might just be snoozing, so to speak. That just means that they are getting the rest their body requires, but they can still be alert enough to wake up immediately if they need to. When they are just snoozing, chances are their ears will twitch a little, and their eyes may even be slightly opened. Some cats even snooze while they are sitting upright!

#2 – Your Cat Dreams

Only a quarter of the time that your cats spend sleeping is actually when they are in a deep sleep. This is true for younger cats at least, as older cats may spend more like 30 to 40% in a deep sleep. Typically, if your cat is curled up in deep sleep with twitching paws or whiskers,  they are dreaming . Dreaming only occurs when they are in this deep sleep.

#3 – Cats Can Snore

Did you know that some cats may actually snore? If your cat’s airway is slightly obstructed by extra skin from their soft palate,  they may snore . This happens most often when your cat is relaxing. From time to time, when your cat is really relaxed, they may start to snore. This isn’t something to be alarmed by. It is, however, more common in short-nosed breed cats, like the Himalayan, Exotic Shorthair or the Persian.

#4 – Cats Sleep Anytime, Anywhere

That’s right. You probably notice that your cat can be running around playing like crazy one minute, and curled up asleep under the table the next. That’s certainly the case at our house! Cats are notorious for being able to  fall asleep anytime, anywhere,  no matter what is going on around them. Now, if only us humans could learn something from them. We might just be missing out on our powernaps when we feel like we have no energy.


It is always interesting learning more about why cats act the way that they do. Cats are really just intricately designed animals, and everything they do has purpose. It is really crazy when you think about how much instinct plays a part in their behaviors. Now that you know that a majority of cats do sleep a lot out of instinct, you probably won’t worry much about your cat and their sleepiness.

Just remember, you do need to keep an eye out for any changes in their sleeping habits, because you never know when there may be an underlying condition causing them to sleep more often. It is always a good idea for you to remain vigilant when it comes to your cat.

Keeping an eye on any type of behavior change is important, because typically a cat’s behaviors remain constant unless something is going on. Knowing why cats sleep so much will definitely help you when it comes to determining whether or not their sleep habits are normal.

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2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the info. I work in the ‘cathouse’ at a humane society. My dog (Denver) is my soul mate, but if I could only have one animal it would be a cat!

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