Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

See if your cat's sleeping pattern fits the norm, and what makes cats sleep for much of the day with quick facts from CAT FANCY and CatChannel.com behavior expert Marilyn Krieger, CCBC.

By Marilyn Krieger, CCBC | Posted: August 23, 2012, 2 p.m. EST

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Cat Sleeping in Bed
Cats can sleep between 12-16 hours a day. Older cats sleep even more, up to 20 hours a day.
Q: I adopted my adorable 7-year-old cat, Angie, from a shelter. She's a fabulous cat and we've become quickly attached to each other. I'm not sure if I should be worried about her though. She sleeps an awful lot during the day. I have noticed that she does seem to be a little more active at night and in the mornings. Why does she sleep so much? Should I be concerned and take her to the vet?

A: Cats are the masters of napping. Here are some quick facts about cat sleep.
  • It is normal for cats to sleep and doze 12-16 hours a day. Older cats typically sleep longer, some up to 18-20 hours a day. Even when cats nap, they are alert and at the ready to respond instantly to stimuli such as sudden movements and startling sounds.
  • Cats are genetically wired to sleep for most of the day. In the wild, cats have to hunt for a living. Hunting is a lot of work — it includes stalking, chasing and an intense burst of energy at the end when the prey is finally caught. Sleeping helps cats conserve energy in between their meals.
  • Cats are naturally more active at dusk and dawn, like Angie is. Although cats are opportunistic hunters, cats typically hunt their meals at these times. You may find that Angie enjoys chasing toys and playing in the mornings and the evenings and prefers napping in the afternoons.
Although Angie is safe in your home and eats regular gourmet meals, she still shares the same genetics as her feral and wild cousins and is prone to sleep for long hours every day.
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Reader Comments

Elaine    Tamarac, FL

4/11/2015 12:29:51 PM

This was very informative. My 8 yo NFC gets very insistent from 4 to 6 pm, right at dinner time. She wants to play with me or I have to just give her attention. She is not a toy player, and usually skips watching the birds and ducks outside the patio. She only wants my attention. I know she loves me because she follows me like a dog, always by my side. BUT it is frustrating that she does not eat when we do, like a 2 year old child she has crying jags!

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

8/21/2013 5:54:00 AM


allen    richland, WA

4/22/2013 3:25:48 AM

it was very informated

Shirley    Tucson, AZ

9/18/2012 4:54:35 PM

Good article. Thanks.

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