Why do Cats Sleep so Much?


Chase is just like every other cat: Sleepy, except when he’s not.

Most cats seem to sleep most of the day. Those of us who let our cats sleep with us know they can sleep most of the night, too. It seems that they’re always sleeping, and while we sometimes wish we could be cats and sleep like that, it does beg the question: Why do cats sleep so much?

Why adult cats sleep so much

It’s normal for adult cats to sleep for 16 hours or more each day. According to Amy Shojal at About.com, the need for sleep increases with energy needs. Cats expend tremendous amounts of energy each day hunting and defending territory in the wild. Cats sleep so much because they use a lot of energy in short bursts, so they always seem to need recharging.

This is true even at home, and especially if your cat has a nicely enriched environment with lots of toys, climbing places, and places to investigate and explore. When you actively play with your cat, even if it’s just for five or ten minutes at a time, you’re helping him use a lot of energy in a short period with all that running and jumping. All that play contributes to why cats sleep so much.

Cats are also crepuscular, not nocturnal, so they’re most active at dawn and dusk, however, they’re more likely to be active at night than during the day when we are, according to PetMD. They’re most likely to be asleep during the darkest hours of the night, though, as well as through daytime, because that’s when their prey is least active, and any predators are most active.

Kittens need to sleep even more!

If you have kittens, particularly young kittens, they’ll sleep even longer than adult cats. The younger they are, the longer they’ll sleep; neonatal kittens might sleep as much as 22 hours a day! If you’ve ever seen a kitten nap attack, meaning, she’s wide awake one moment and dozing off to the point of doing a face plant the next, you know how quickly kittens get tired and doze off.

Older kittens will sleep roughly 18 to 20 hours a day. Kittens aren’t just bundles of energy when they’re awake, they’re also committing a lot of energy to growing 24 hours a day, so they tire out much more easily than adult cats.

Long story short, cats sleep so much because that’s how they’re wired. It’s easy to see them as lazy, but really, it’s the way they produce and use energy, plus their place in the food chain, that makes it so necessary for them to sleep so much.

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