Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

Written by Abdulmumin Akinde
Updated: October 14, 2022
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Cats sleep a lot and in diverse sleep positions. Every experienced cat parent knows this. Even as you read this, chances are that your furry feline is somewhere in the corner taking a nap. In fact, cats sleep so much that many new cat parents start worrying about their sleeping habits. 

However, you should know that your cat sleeping the entire day away is not necessarily a bad thing. It is mostly normal, and there’s nothing to fret about.

The main reason cats sleep so much is due to their nature as hunters and their instinct to conserve energy for the pursuit of prey.

Of course, it makes sense to still pay attention to your cat because sleeping may sometimes be a sign that something is wrong with it. In this article, we will cover some of the things you need to know about your cat’s sleeping habits. 

How Much Sleep Is Normal for Cats? 

Scientists say adult humans need between 7 to 8 hours of sleep every day. However, you cannot use this criterion to judge your cat’s sleeping habits. Your furry friend needs a lot more sleep than you do. While the reports vary, experts say cats should sleep between 12 to 15 hours daily. Generally, senior cats sleep more than younger cats do. 

It is worthy of note that cats don’t sleep for long like this at a stretch. Typically, they take short rests in between bursts of activity. But cumulatively, they could be doing as much as 20 hours of sleep per day, which would still be considered normal by cat standards. 

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7 Reasons Why Cats Might Be Sleeping So Much

Cats need more sleep than we do. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why, but several reasons point to their evolution and biology as the reason they sleep so much. In most cases, your cat sleeping a lot is normal. However, there are also instances where your pet’s sleeping habits indicate that something might be wrong. This is why you must be familiar with the different factors that control how much your cat sleeps. Here are some explanations for this phenomenon. 

Blame Evolution 

Cats have evolved to be nocturnal. Actually, the more accurate term is crepuscular. Nocturnal animals are more active at night, while crepuscular animals (like your cat) are active at dawn and dusk). This is when their ancient parents used to hunt for food. But house cats don’t need to hunt for food anymore. In fact, most domesticated cats have a schedule similar to that of their owners. They sleep at night and hang out with their owners during the day. But most cats still maintain links to their ancient roots, sleeping more during the day to allow them to stay sharp and active in the early hours of the morning or at night. 

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Trying To Conserve Energy 

Cats are natural predators, which means they have evolved to hunt prey. To do this effectively, predators in the wild need to rest a lot to allow them to conserve energy for hunting. Many house cats still maintain this sleep/hunt cycle. They may not need to hunt anymore, but they still sleep intermittently between short bursts of play and activity. 

Maybe He Isn’t Really Sleeping 

To you, it may seem like your cat is sleeping so much when in the real sense, it is not in a deep sleep. Cats do this sometimes. They may rest for a while with their eyes partially closed or even fully closed. But that’s not to say they’re deep in sleep. If you watch them for a while, you may notice that their ears and tail are occasionally moving, which means they’re still alert and ready to spring into action if the situation requires it. If you’re not observant enough, you may interpret the situation as your cat sleeping when it really isn’t. 

Also, you may feel your cat is sleeping too much because you don’t have a good sense of what proper sleep for cats is meant to be. Resting for 15 to 20 hours a day is normal for cats. As long as he is healthy and his life is enriched, you have nothing to worry about. 


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Even humans tend to sleep more when they have nothing to do. The same applies to cats. If they’re bored, they’ll most likely sleep more. If you don’t want your cats sleeping excessively, one of the ways to prevent it is to keep them engaged. Most people build their cats a climbing shelf indoors or an outdoor catio where they can explore and play.

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Providing toys is another way to enrich your cat’s life and keep it busy. You can purchase different types of toys for your cat to play with. You’ll see how happy and active they’ll get once there’s something for them to do. 

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Stress and Anxiety 

Cats use sleep as a coping mechanism when they feel stressed or scared. If your cat has a habit of hiding away or not engaging with members of the family most of the time, it could be stressed or anxious. Sleep is another way they respond if they’re not in a good mood. If you notice signs of stress and anxiety, you should speak to an animal behaviorist right away. They may be able to diagnose your cat and pinpoint what the issue might be. Learning about stressors that may be affecting your cat might help them live a happier and more active life. 

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Your Cat May Be Sick Or In Pain

As we have established, excessive sleep in cats is not always a problem. In most cases, it is normal. However, there are instances where taking so many naps is an indication that something is indeed wrong with your pet. When your cat is sick or in pain, it will most likely sleep more than it usually does. If your cat suddenly starts hiding from everyone, it may be feeling some pain or feeling uncomfortable. 

Age and Overweight 

As your cat age (usually from age 11 onwards), you can expect them to become less active than they used to be. Older cats tend to sleep more than younger ones. This is normal since they typically have more trouble getting around than younger cats. 

Cats that are overweight are also not very active. Obesity in cats makes it difficult for them to move around. They may also suffer from other diseases caused by obesity that makes them less active. You should schedule a visit to your vet to have your cat checked if you feel it is becoming overweight. 

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Cats need sufficient sleep to recharge. They may also sleep more for evolutionary or biological reasons. However, there are instances where sleeping excessively may point to an underlying problem. If your cat suddenly starts sleeping more than usual, you should pay close attention to it to find out the cause of the issue. Usually, there’s nothing to worry about. But if you’re not certain, speaking to a vet is a good idea. 

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Alex Coan/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Abdulmumin is a pharmacist and a top-rated content writer who can pretty much write on anything that can be researched on the internet. However, he particularly enjoys writing about animals, nature, and health. He loves animals, especially horses, and would love to have one someday.

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