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Five Interesting Facts About Cats and Sleep

Adrienne is a former veterinary assistant and certified dog trainer.

The world could be tumbling away, yet and there's my cat, sleeping.

The world could be tumbling away, yet and there's my cat, sleeping.

Sleeping as a Philosophy of Life

I don't know how many times I wished I were my cat. I just love my cat's philosophy of life. The world could tumble, and there she is, sleeping.

1. Cats spend most of their time sleeping.

Cats sure are good sleepers. Just like their lion cousins, they may spend 60% of the day sleeping—that's 16 out of 24 hours in a day. They are instinctively conserving energy so they can concentrate on hunting. "Hunting? Hunting what?" you may wonder as you grab the can opener and twist the lid off of your cat's canned food. "Their food is freshly served in an instant!"

Well, these are modern times. Before we domesticated cats and made them lazy, cats were forced to hunt their prey, and this was fundamental because no prey meant no food, and no food meant no survival. Nobody catered to them. So they would sleep their 16 hours and then concentrate their energy in several fast bursts of hunting sprees. Today, their hunting has been replaced by chasing a yarn ball or a fly. What a change!

Why did my cat suddenly startle awake?

Why did my cat suddenly startle awake?

Why Does My Cat Suddenly Wake Up Scared?

Don't be fooled by your cat's sleeping. You might have noticed that one second, she is there with her eyes closed, and the next second, there she is, close to the fridge. This leaves you wondering, "How did she do that?" In reality, cats do not sleep 16 hours straight; rather, they alternate sleep with rest.

2. They are ready to hunt at a moment's notice.

In nature, cats sleep but need to be alert at times if any prey approaches, so this explains why they are so quick to react. The only difference now is that the movement of prey has been substituted with the movement of the fridge door! Oh, well—modern times!

Usually, a cat is sleeping deeply when the REM cycle kicks in. Just like us, they will have rapid eye movements and muscle twitches. This is pretty normal, and for some reason, it's more visible in small kittens.

3. Like their human companions, cats dream.

Cats will dream, as well. Many times you can see some tail and leg movement or even some soft meows. I am sure cats also have bad dreams, as sometimes, my cat would wake up suddenly, scared, and bounce off the couch. I have helped by petting and reassuring her, and then she would be back to sleep in no time.

4. Some of them snore, too.

Some cats will also snore. Pug-nosed breeds, such as Persians and Himalayans, tend to snore more frequently than others. A cat may also snore more often if it has an upper respiratory problem or allergies. Always consult your vet if your cat seems to have trouble breathing and is sleeping a lot more than usual.

5. Cats are nocturnal.

Also, remember that cats are nocturnal. When we are asleep, our cat may be highly active and playful. A good remedy to this is to provide exercise before you go to sleep so that kitty's tired out by the time you're ready for bed.

Many cats are wide awake in the early hours of the morning, asking for food. It helps to leave food around all night. This refers to dry food only. This way, kitty can munch on how much it likes—a free all-you-can-eat buffet. Do not wake up early on purpose to feed your cat. If you do, you are basically training your cat to bother you early every morning. Are you willing to put up with that? You must, therefore, be strong, and ignore the meows or the knocking over objects to wake you up.

As stated earlier, I love my cat's philosophy of life; we can really learn from it. Let's take them as an example. A problem arises? I could just hear my kitty raising her head and saying, "Sleep over it, dude!"

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

Question: My cat woke up scared. She was scared of me, why?

Answer: Until cats can talk, we often will not ever find out what it is that set them off. More often than not, something must have spooked her. Perhaps a noise or she was having a bad dream. Hopefully, she will go back to normal soon. If not, you may find it helpful to try to use a pheromone diffuser such as Feliway. Feliway is composed of a synthetic pheromone that mimics the natural chemicals that cat secrete, promoting a comforting, reassuring feeling that has a calming effect on cats who are dealing with stressful situations. If her fear persists, you may want to mention it to the vet considering that there can be medical causes sometimes to changes in behaviors.

Comments

poojasd7 from India on June 09, 2012:

Loved it :-)

kittycatgurlll on August 08, 2010:

meow! very helpful!!

brettb from London on July 15, 2010:

Interesting cat hub, A+++.

skydiver from UK on February 26, 2009:

I watched a documentary on Discovery channel last night about Dreams. Basically, a small part of the brain keep you from acting our your dreams, so as a test they cut this part out of the brains of a few cats and dogs. Google it if you don't believe me!! They showed video of Cats chasing 'mice' around the room whilst fast asleep, but of course there were no mice! Interesting, but very wrong.

Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 10, 2008:

I have had cats since I was a child, they are so relaxing creatures to just watch! Many times I think their philosophy of life is the best and we should learn from them. Too bad as humans we have ruined our existence with work, work ,work.

Merle Ann Johnson from NW in the land of the Free on February 10, 2008:

Love 'em too. My cat scratches on the glass slider to come in...or the wooden door from my shop...or the front door...Like she is knocking. she is very much like a watch dog too...I know when someone is coming...I am alone now so we have even become closer.. Where I am she is. G-Ma :O) nice hub

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