Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

By helloBARK!
Updated on 23 June 2023

Have you noticed that your cat likes to sleep a lot?

If you’ve recently adopted a cat or bought a kitten from a reputable breeder, you may be getting used to your cat’s daily routine.

So you may be surprised by just how much your cat likes to nap.

You may be worried that your cat is sleeping too much and concerned there could be an underlying reason behind their lethargy.

If you suspect something is wrong with your cat, you should contact your vet immediately.

However, we’ll hear from some experts in this article that attempt to explain why cats sleep so much.

Cat sleeps in window sill (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Cat sleeps in window sill (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Traced back to evolution

Josh Snead, CEO Of Rainwalk Pet Insurance

Cat’s habits and behaviors can largely be traced back to evolution, especially since the domestication process has done far less to change those behaviors than is the case for, say, dogs. Cats are predators. In the wild, they get virtually all of their nutrition from catching and killing animals. Compared to something like grazing, hunting is high-risk, high-reward. A single kill can sustain a cat or other predator for days at a time, but they won’t catch everything they hunt for. This means that the most efficient thing for them to do is to hunt when the hunting is good (largely between dusk and dawn) and to rest when the hunting is bad or they don’t need to hunt. Herbivores, on the other hand, can easily wander into a field full of food and eat as much as they can hold, but they need to eat all the time because grass has a lot less calories than a nice squirrel.

Combination of factors

Dan Capkin, Founder and Editor Of Petlovers.com

Cats sleep so much due to a combination of factors, including their evolutionary history, natural lifestyle, and age. Cats are wired as stalk-and-rush hunters, which means they store up energy by sleeping in order to engage in short bursts of activity when hunting. They are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk, and tend to sleep during the day and night when their predators are active. Cats can sleep up to 20 hours a day, often in the form of short cat naps. Factors such as boredom, depression, or mental health issues can also contribute to a cat sleeping more than usual.

Cat sleeps on keyboard (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Cat sleeps on keyboard (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Conserve energy

Isabella Gordon, Co-founder Of Sleep Society

Cats sleep an average of 15 hours a day because they are naturally nocturnal animals. Sleeping helps cats conserve energy and be better prepared for nighttime hunting. Cats also need to sleep so their bodies can repair, heal and recharge from daily activities. The more active your cat is during the day, the more likely it is to take longer naps at night in between periods of activity and play throughout the day.

Natural biological makeup

Dr. Alex Schechter, DVM At Burrwood Vet

Cats sleep so much because it’s part of their natural biological makeup. Cats are naturally crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. Cats need long periods of rest throughout the day to conserve energy and regulate their metabolism. Additionally, cats were initially domesticated from wildcat ancestors that slept for prolonged periods during the day to avoid danger and conserve energy. Cats also spend significant time grooming themselves, which can be physically exhausting. Sleeping allows them to recharge their batteries and restore any spent energy. On average, an adult cat can sleep anywhere from 12-16 hours per day to fulfill their physiological needs.

Cat naps on bed (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Cat naps on bed (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Cats are crepuscular animals

Lazhar Ichir, Founder Of Breeding Business

Cats are known to sleep for extended periods, with some adult cats sleeping up to 16 hours per day. This sleeping behavior is natural and beneficial for cats for three key reasons:

• Cats are *crepuscular animals*, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk. Sleeping for extended periods during the day allows them to conserve their energy for these active periods.

• Sleep is vital for the overall health and well-being of cats. During sleep, the body can *repair and regenerate cells and tissues*, which can help maintain good health and prevent illness.

• Cats are predators in the wild, and their sleep behavior has evolved to help them *conserve energy when food is scarce*. By sleeping for extended periods, cats can conserve their energy and reduce their need for food, mainly when prey is not readily available.

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