CattyCorner: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on June 30, 2020

Greetings, my pawsome human minions.

The other day, while I napped on the porch in my favorite corner, mom came out to shuffle her planters around. Now, this is fine, I can generally sleep through the majority of my mother’s puttering about the house. But she had the grand idea to move the big plant right behind my chair.

Quite disruptive of her, in my opinion, yet she hovered over me, hands on her hips. I did my best to ignore her, keeping my eyes shut, but she didn’t take the hint. I finally cracked an eye and she asked, “Forrest, why do cats sleep so much?”

sleeping cat curled up

Well first off, I, or any other cat for that matter, do the things we do because we choose to.

Simple as that, I enjoy napping therefore I choose to snooze. Hmm, I like that.

Choose the snooze. Maybe that should be my motto.

black cat sleeping

Cats Need Sleep for Top Performance

And beyond enjoying a nap, cats need the sleep.

We are powerful little engines that perform at high-performance levels. And what are the best fuels for a well-designed predator? Food and sleep.

Food is another subject I could happily expound on, but we’ll save my ode to vittles for another day. In the meantime, let’s help my mom understand why cats sleep so much.

sleepy cat

You Sleep at Night While I Prowl the House

Felines have been long known to stalk the night while their humans sleep. Instead of being truly nocturnal, we’re actually what you call crepuscular creatures. It’s a fancy way of saying cats are most active at dusk and dawn. Don’t get a tabby wrong, we still pad around the house at midnight, but that might be because we’re looking for another spot to curl up after a quick bite. Get ready though, come morning’s dawn, I’ll be at your side in bed, begging for breakfast.


Its a mystery what a cat might do at night, who knows, I might just get wild and run around the house at 3 a.m. because it feels right. But whether sleeping or careening through the house, afterward, I’m going to need a nap to recharge for my next foray.

I’m a Lean, Mean Pouncing Machine

When a cat hunts, chasing and pouncing burn a good bit of energy. You should see me chase a grasshopper or even my favorite stuffed banana. I’m impressive to behold if I do say so myself. But my explosive bursts of speed and the acrobatics of my hops and jumps tire my body. Sleep recharges, so I can do it all again. I mean, who’s gonna get the banana if I don’t?


Am I Really Asleep or Just Resting My Eyes?

Cats aren’t always as asleep as you think we are. We have two different levels of sleep, the catnap and the deep sleep.

During our well-known catnaps, where humans think felines are conked, we really hear everything. We may look crashed, but in this light sleep stage that lasts around half an hour, there’s no sneaking up on us.

sleeping cat and kitten

Now the deep sleep is another story.

I’ve been spooked out of good hard sleep many times. Once I was dreaming of chasing a mouse and my mom tickled my foot. I about jumped out of my fur. But she said my paws were twitching and she was worried. I’ve since informed her the little jerks of my feet and whiskers just mean I’m dream hunting or playing.

While my human might not realize it, that I fall into a deep sleep in her presence means I trust I’m safe with her. I know she’s given me a home where its an okay thing to let my guard down and get my much-needed rest. After all, I do need 12-16 hours of sleep a day and as my age advances, I’m needing more and more. Sometimes even up to 20 hours!


There you have it. That’s why cats sleep so much. Its fuel for feline frolicking, same as food.

And since I’ve mentioned food, this might be a good time for a reminder…Don’t forget to feed the cat.

Feature Image: