No doubt about it, cats love to sleep. Our Los Angeles emergency vets are often asked by concerned cat owners if they should be worried that their cat is sleeping so much. When does a cat nap indicate that there may actually be a health emergency?

Why do cats sleep so much?

Throughout the years, cats have developed the ability to sleep for extended periods of time. Sleep was necessary for wild cats because it allows them to conserve their energy so that they can hunt, chase, and kill their next meal.

In spite of the fact that our domestic cats do not have a requirement to hunt, they still have the instinct to go to sleep and get ready for the hunt.

How much do cats sleep?

Wondering how many hours a cat sleep per day? The number of hours that your cat needs to sleep and the typical sleeping pattern for your cat will change as they get older :

  • Kittens will likely sleep most of the day, with a few brief bursts of energy between meals.
  • Adolescent cats may have erratic sleep patterns combined with periods of intense playfulness.
  • Adult cats tend to have more set sleeping schedules that average out at about 12 - 20 hours of sleep each day.
  • Senior cats will tend to have less energy and reduced mobility which means they will sleep more than younger cats.

When your cat reaches adulthood, it will most likely develop a recognizable pattern of sleeping and waking. For example, you may notice that your cat wakes up just before you, spends an hour or two eating and socializing with you, then goes back to sleep while you go about your business.

Is my cat really asleep?

Although cats do sleep deeply, this is not always the case. Sleeping is a common activity for cats, just like it is for people. Only one-fourth of your cat's total sleep time is spent in deep sleep, while light sleeping accounts for approximately three quarters of their total sleep time. When cats take short, light naps, they are able to get the rest they require while still maintaining their alertness.

When your cat is sleeping or snoozing, you might observe that its eyes are slightly open or that its ears twitch and rotate in response to sounds. Furthermore, you might also observe that your cat's eyes are slightly open.

When should I be concerned?

There is no set amount of sleep that indicates a health problem or emergency; instead, it is important to understand your cat's normal sleep patterns and recognize when those patterns change significantly.

If your cat begins to sleep a lot more or a lot less than is usual for him/her there may be a health issue, it's time to visit your vet. Cats who begin to sleep more than usual could be ill or experiencing pain. On the other hand, if your cat begins sleeping less than usual it may be suffering from hyperthyroidism or other conditions.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you've noticed significant changes in your cat's sleeping patterns, be sure to contact our Los Angeles vets for a checkup.