Cat sleep is often a feline trait that many people envy. After all they seem to be able to sleep for many hours and so peacefully that we can only wish for a similar nights rest.
Sleep is important o all of us in ensuring our mental and physical well being. The same is true for cats too. A cat who is unable to sleep enough will also suffer ill health and so it is important that as owners we recognize any signs that our cats are not sleeping well.
Cats suffer from stress just as we do; I know I bet your saying 2what has a cat to worry about?"
Well Ok they may not stress about the same things as we do but they can still be affected by environmental and physical changes which can cause stress and in turn this can affect the amount of sleep the cat gets.
Although spotting signs of stress is not always easy (see my page about Cat Stress), we can see signs that our cats are not sleeping well. The things to look out for are:
During periods of change in the home such as:
It is advisable to try and reduce the stress for your cat by confining them to one room for awhile and or using a plug in pheromone (Like Feliway), which will help to keep your cat relaxed.
Cats sleep for an average of 16 hours a day but not all in one go. Unlike us, cats nap a lot and sleep for much shorter periods than we do.
The amount of sleep a cat takes depends on many factors such as:
New born kittens are pretty helpless for the first few weeks of their life and as such they spend nearly all of their time sleeping. This is believed to be a safety measure, i.e. a still and quiet kitten is unlikely to attract attention from a predator (Their wild instincts always remain).
It is important not to disturb newborn kittens whilst they sleep, it can harm their development, let sleeping cats lie as they say.
Cat sleep patterns are the same as our own. By this I mean they have REM and Non REM sleep. It is during the REM sleep periods that dreams occur, our brains are more active and we often re-live experiences we have had during the day.
There is no reason not to suspect that cat's dreams are similarly based on their day time exploits.
You can tell when a cat is dreaming as there whiskers, eyes and tail will often start to twitch. Their breathing may change and they may even make little noises. (Cute).
I have known cats to sleep in all sorts of strange places, I'm sure many of you have too. The tops of wardrobes and kitchen cupboards is always a favorite as well as under the bed, in sock drawers and even in plant pots (big ones).
Why should they choose such odd places? It all goes back to instinct, when they are asleep, cats are vulnerable to attack and so they choose places where either they won't be seen or they are protected on all sides.
So high up places, where they can see everything that’s going on, or small snug places where they are protected on all sides will always be the favorite places chosen by our cats for their naps.
As owners we can help our pets have a comfortable cat sleep every day by placing their beds in these sorts of areas and choosing bed types that help to satisfy their instincts, such as protection.
Have you noticed that our cats never like to sleep in the same place? Again this is another natural instinct kicking in. In the wild, a sleeping place would become dirty and infested with parasites over time, so a cat would often find a new place to sleep, which is clean and dry.
Even though the lovely comfy cat beds we supply for our cats are unlikely to become infested, they still like fresh bedding often and that’s why we find that all the best places in our homes claimed by our cats.
This is a good reason to provide our cats with several cat beds and placed in various places around the home.
It is also important that we keep their bedding clean, by washing one cat bed at a time. Never wash everything at once, as this will confuse the cat as they are driven by scent. If everything smells different all at once, it is likely that will go off and find another new place to claim for themselves.
This is a good question and one which I'm sure many of you have asked yourself at one time or another.
Cats are what are known as crepuscular, this means that they are most alert during the hours of dawn and dusk. These times of day are when in general there natural prey is also active.
Providing a regular nighttime routine for your cat can help to reduce the risk of your cat getting you up in the night.
A routine should include:
See my cat toy pages for lots of different types of toy. >>>>>
Ill health can also disrupt cat sleep and increase the likely hood of your cat being active at night. Conditions such as:
It is always advisable to have your cat checked by a vet if you notice that their nighttime activity has increased.
A cat that likes to hideaway to sleep would benefit from an enclosed bed
A cat that likes to stretch out and be up high would benefit from a pedal stool bed
You never knew that cat sleep could be so complex did you? Well cats are complex creatures that are also very sensitive to change and their environment. By understanding our cat's needs, we are better able to provide a comfortable home life for them and ensure that they get all the cat naps they need.