Last Updated on: September 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys

owner is sleeping with a cat on a bed

If you are a first-time cat owner, there have likely been a few quirks about your kitty that you hadn’t been expecting. I have had plenty of new cat parent friends tell me how shocked they are that their cat sleeps so much. Some of them even worry about their cat’s health as a result, asking me if they should take them to the vet.

Personally, I think that cat owners know their cats best, and if they think their cat needs medical attention, then they shouldn’t doubt themselves. When it comes to a cat’s frequent sleeping habits, though, there generally isn’t much cause for concern.


Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

I remember when I got my first cat, Jack. I was surprised at how much he slept, too. It felt like every other time I saw him, he was either dozing or curling up for his next nap. He would sleep throughout the day, and he would sleep throughout the night. So when did he actually do anything?

As I later learned, cats are crepuscular animals.1 If an animal is crepuscular, that means that they are mostly active at dawn and dusk. There are a few advantages to being a crepuscular animal, such as avoiding predators, avoiding the scorching heat of daytime, or limiting competition for common prey. Although domestic cats aren’t in danger from predators or often hunt their own prey, the crepuscular sleeping schedule remains.

That means that you and I are awake and most active during our cats’ downtime. Although there are plenty of times that Jack and I are awake at the same time during the day, it isn’t for long. In fact, when I started writing this article, he was sitting at my feet and grooming himself. Now, he’s dozing while I make the money to feed him his favorite treats. Lucky guy.

All of this to say, it’s not too concerning if your cat sleeps often. Cats are built to sleep frequently throughout the day to store energy, so we often don’t see them at their most active states. You may even notice that as you are getting ready to wind down for the night, your cat is just revving up. This is certainly the case with my cat, who decides that he needs to tear around the house while I’m trying to fall asleep.

orange cat sleeping in fluffy cat bed
Image credit: Aleksandar Cvetanovic, Unsplash

Age Will Influence How Much Your Cat Sleeps

Your cat’s sleeping behaviors may change over time, especially as they age.

Kittens tend to sleep for most of the day, although they may have a few sudden bursts of energy between mealtimes. When your cat is an adolescent, his sleeping patterns will become somewhat unpredictable. At this age, your cat will be in a high-energy stage of life.

Once your cat reaches adulthood (that’s where Jack is), the sleeping patterns will become much more predictable. Adult cats tend to develop consistent sleeping routines and may average anywhere from 12–20 hours per day.

For instance, when I wake up in the morning, Jack will often be wide awake and waiting impatiently for me to get up. He and I will start our morning routine together, and soon after, he will lie down and snooze intermittently through the morning. He tends to have enough energy to pester me for his wet food around noon, then he spends the late afternoon wandering to his favorite spots to doze. He usually likes to nap where his family is, so if I am working in the office, that’s usually where he’ll curl up for his next snooze.

If this sounds an awful lot like your cat’s routine, then I think our cats would be friends. It’s also a pretty normal routine for an adult cat, so it isn’t something to be concerned about.

As adult cats age into seniors, the time spent sleeping only increases. Elderly cats have less energy and mobility, so they will be much more likely to stay in one place and rest for the day.

Weather May Be a Factor in Your Cat’s Sleep Schedule

Depending on where you live, temperatures may influence how much your cat sleeps. On cold, wintry days, my cat will often curl up beside the fireplace and take slightly longer naps. On days that it is extremely hot, Jack will escape to the basement and sprawl across the floor to hide from the sun.

If your cat’s sleeping schedule seems irregular one day, it could be related to the weather. But if the abnormalities continue, then it’s possible that there could be a real cause for concern.

a scottish fold cat sleeping under its owner's blanket on the bed
Image Credit: Elen Nika, Shutterstock

When Should We Worry?

Although frequent sleeping is not often a major concern with cats, there are times when it can be. I can’t give you an exact number of hours slept per day that should stand out to you as a concern, but I can say the best way to determine if something is wrong is to know your cat. And no one knows your cat better than you do.

When sleep patterns and routines are regularly disturbed, that is when there should be cause for concern. If your cat is sleeping much more or much less than normal, that could be an indication of pain or illnesses in your cat. Hyperthyroidism is an example.

Cognitive issues could also be at play. If your cat is experiencing anxiety, depression, or even dementia, this could interfere with his regular sleeping patterns.

If you suspect that something is wrong with your cat, do not hesitate to reach out to your vet. Whenever I am in doubt about my cat’s health, I always trust my gut and seek professional advice. I would much rather seek help for no purpose than ignore my intuition and allow Jack to possibly suffer.

closeup of cat sleeping on couch
Image credit: Sabri Tuzcu, Unsplash

Conclusion

If you are a first-time cat owner and you’re antsy about how much time your cat has been spending asleep, listen to your gut and reach out to your vet if you feel the need. Otherwise, don’t worry too much—frequent sleeping is pretty characteristic of cats. Chances are, our cats probably think we’re the weird ones for not sleeping enough!

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Featured Image Credit: NancyP5, Shutterstock

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