Sleep Behaviour of Cats
Published on Thursday, 11 November 2010
Cats come from a long history of hunters and predators, so it’s not surprising they have become more crepuscular creatures. They are typically active at dawn and dusk. given that most of their prey are active during these times, and rest during the middle of the day.
Indoor cats tend to sleep more due to sheer boredom. Provision of toys and a stimulating environment will help to keep your kitty occupied. Read our article on Keeping our indoor cats happy and healthy for more tips.
Sleep consists of two basic phases: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, when dreams occur, and Non-REM (NREM) or deep sleep. If a cat is deprived of either sort of sleep, it becomes confused and irritable.
During NREM sleep, your cat’s body repairs and regenerates itself. Kittens build their muscles and bones. The immune system strengthens and revitalizes. Kittens need more NREM sleep than adults and with advancing years the amount of NREM sleep diminishes.
During REM sleep, your cat’s eyes move behind the eyelids, limbs twitch, and whiskers move around. Up to 60 percent of your cat’s sleep is REM sleep, three times more than we have when we are asleep.
Cats Really Catnap
Newborn kittens sleep most of the time, but this keeps them safe in the nest and also keeps them quiet so that they don’t attract predators. As they mature, young cats sleep patterns begin to conform to those of adults, with them tending to sleep in naps rather than having one long rest. Again this has to do with their predatory nature.
Cats in the wild must be on the alert in order to survive. When your domestic cat sleeps, his finely tuned senses are still active and ready to spring into action. Watch your cat while he’s napping. His ears rotate as he stays in touch with his environment, and if he hears a noise or senses that someone is approaching, he will open his eyes to assess the situation before falling back to sleep. If you try to wake a sleeping cat, he can transform from deeply sleeping cat to one that’s fully alert in a matter of seconds – and then back again.