Cats are strange creatures. Whether it's their kneading or their fascination for squeezing into small spaces such as a pantry drawer, their odd behaviors boggle the mind. But if you're a proud cat owner, you know two things are for certain: they're undeniably adorable and they like to sleep — a lot.
So, how long do cats really sleep, and why does yours wake you up at night? Should you invite your feline buddy into bed with you? In celebration of National Cat Day on October 29, we'll answer those questions and more.
How Much Do Cats Sleep?
On average, cats sleep about 12 to 16 hours a day. Domesticated cats snooze away so much of the day because they descend from wild predators. Large feral cats such as lions have the luxury of sleeping a lot because they're the predators, not the prey. Your cat, no matter how domesticated he or she may be, is still hardwired to hunt, chase, run, pounce and stalk just like their wild ancestors. All of these actions require a fair amount of energy, so sleep is an important factor for your feline companion to recharge and prepare for their next hunt.
Your furry buddy might sleep even more depending on his or her age and health status. Kittens, for example, can rest up to 20 hours because the process of growing into a cat exerts a ton of energy. Senior cats need more rest, too, particularly if they have health issues such as arthritis.
Another important thing to note is that cats are crepuscular, meaning they're the most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. This is closely tied to the behaviors of their feral ancestors, who do most of their hunting and stalking during the twilight hours when their prey is out in the wild.
Just like dogs, however, domesticated cats are adaptable creatures and able to adjust their sleeping schedule according to their owner's schedule, which means they'll spend more time resting when you're away and less time sleeping when you're home.
Why Does My Cat Wake Me Up at Night?
Whether it happens occasionally or frequently, there are instances when your frisky cat will wake you up in the middle of the night with his or her pouncing or loud meowing. There could be several reasons for this behavior, including:
- They're hungry or thirsty.
- They're bored and want you to play with them.
- If you recently moved or adopted a new kitten or older cat, they might feel anxious
beingin a new environment.
- There's a health-related issue that needs to be addressed.
- There's a disturbance he or she hears outside.
How Do I Stop My Cat from Waking Me Up?
Kicking your cat out of your bedroom might be your first instinct. Unfortunately, this will backfire, as it will only encourage this behavior even more since any attention is better than no attention for a cat.
Here are some ideas to keep your feline companion from disturbing you at night:
- If your cat is bored, ensure they're getting enough playtime with you when you're home. This will help tire out your cat and keep him or her well-rested.
- If your cat is hungry, make dinner his or her largest meal of the day. A full belly should keep your cat's hunger from striking throughout the night.
- If you think your cat is sick, a trip to the veterinarian might be in order. Older cats are especially susceptible to health-related issues that may cause them to meow at night.
Should I Let My Cat Sleep with Me?
There are benefits to inviting your cat into bed. Just like with dogs, sleeping with cats has been shown to help increase oxytocin — the love hormone — while simultaneously reducing cortisol, a stress hormone. Sleeping with your furry friend also helps promote bonding and fight off anxiety and depression.
There are drawbacks, too. They might bring ticks, fleas and even litter box residue into your bed. Also, if you're vulnerable to allergies, sleeping with a cat will only worsen the problem.
With 56% of cat owners allowing their precious kitties to sleep with them, should you be one of them? Whatever you decide, be consistent with your choice. Cats are creatures of habit, so constantly changing your mind will ultimately confuse them.
If you do decide to let your cat sleep with you, SHEEX offers pet-friendly bedding to keep you and your feline pal comfortable. SHEEX® Performance Bedding provides fabric that repels pet hair, allowing you to easily clean off any excess fur with a brush. Our bedding also features enhanced breathability and moisture-wicking technology, ensuring you and your cat will get a cooler, deeper sleep.