Why Cats Sleep A Lot

Photocredit: Shuttershock

I was asked why cats sleep so much, at a shelter I volunteer for in NY. I can say with certainty it is not because they’re lazy. Yet they do literally put the nap in “cat nap”. Roughly on average, and any cat care taker can tell you this they will sleep up and around 12 to 15 hours a day. Although according to one care-giver she clocked her cat sleeping 20 hours.

Why do cat’s sleep these odd hours?
According to Veterinarians and PetMD – Cat’s are crepuscular and not Nocturnal. What is Crepuscular:

Crepuscular animals are those that are active primarily during twilight (that is, the periods of dawn and dusk). This is distinguished from diurnal and nocturnal behavior, where an animal is active during the hours of daylight or the hours of darkness, respectively. The term is not precise, however, as some crepuscular animals may also be active on a moonlit night or during an overcast day. The term matutinal is used for animals that are active only before sunrise, and vespertine for those active only after sunset.

The time of day an animal is active depends on a number of factors. Predators need to link their activities to times of day at which their prey is available, and prey try to avoid the times when their principal predators are at large. The temperature at midday may be too high or at night too low. Some creatures may adjust their activities depending on local competition. Therefore, for many varied reasons, crepuscular activity may best meet an animal’s requirements by compromise.

According to Dr. Ziskin VMD – Why these hours? Well, cats’ sleeping habits have to do with their evolution and their history as hunters. The cats of old would hunt during the early morning and twilight hours and then sleep during the main daytime and nighttime hours when their natural predators would be on the prowl. This is part of the reason cats often like to sleep “tucked away” somewhere.

Pretty much it’s an evolutionary throwback encoded into their DNA. Known as Instinctual DNA, which many predatorial animals such as Lions as well as wolves have.

There is no changing a cats sleeping habit, even if you try. Therefore if you have a cat keeping you awake, there are methods to keep them busy without disturbing your sleep. As in Cat tree’s, Cat toys with no sound of course, and keeping your door closed. Or my favorite which gives them everything they could want. A Catio, with plenty of high places to climb as well as their favorite, snack and toy.

I have seen so many people turn in their cats because of their crepuscular habits. It’s saddening to see this happen, and to know that people would do this, is very Disheartening. As a volunteer I am disallowed from given my two cents at the job, yet as an animal advocate – during “off duty” hours, I can say a few choice words.

One – This is not a reason to hand over or dump your cat to any shelter, especially, when we have an over whelming number of cats as is.
Two – Maybe you really should not invest in having any animal if you cannot take the time to learn about them, or deal with a little noise.
Three – I really hope you don’t plan on having any children in the future, because like cats – babies/ particularly 5 months to at least 3 years of age, are up odd hours and disrupt sleep. I would hate to see you throw in said proverbial towel and dump them at an orphanage.

Which goes hand in hand with my favorite quote

You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.” ― Paul McCartney