How long do cats sleep and is it normal for a cat to sleep all day?

No one loves a good nap quite like a lazy cat. Indeed, our feline friends seem to sleep so much that it's hard not to wonder how they get anything done. How long do cats actually sleep each day, and when do they prefer to do it?

Cats sleep many, many hours every day, but how much is too much?
Cats sleep many, many hours every day, but how much is too much?  © Kate Stone Matheson / Unsplash

To humans, cats might seem like the laziest of all creatures.

They love to sleep and snuggle up in a comfortable spot, while seeming to actively avoid being active. It's cute, but is it so normal for them to spend quite so long catching those z's? Also, do all cats sleep as much as your pet, or is it an individual thing?

TAG24's cat guide will answer all your questions about a cat's sleeping habits.

We take a loot at how long and what time of day cats take a snooze, whether it's normal for them to sleep all day, and what a feline sleeping disorder actually looks like.

How many hours does a cat sleep?

Every cat needs between 15 and 20 hours of sleep every single day, but they don't sleep all in one go. Unlike humans, who have one extended period of deep sleep every 24 hours, cats sleep multiple times. These periods are spent as "naps", where the cat is not in deep sleep but merely resting.

During such times, their senses are still active, and they will react to sounds and movement within their environment. In a 24-hour period, a cat will only spend around four or five in actual deep sleep. Each of these deep sleep phases follow half-sleep alternatives, and only last about seven minutes each.

Getting the balance right between deep sleep and resting sleep is important for a cat's health. They need to get enough deep sleep to sustain them while remaining somewhat alert during half-sleep phases. On top of these irregular phases, cats will sleep differently from night to day.

Please note: You can actually recognize a cat's deep sleep phase by the way that their whiskers vibrate, or if they are twitching (often due to kitty dreams). Cats will actually blink during half-sleep, as their eyes are partially open.

How long do cats sleep at night time?

Cats generally sleep less at night than they do during the day, as they are semi-nocturnal. These stints are generally around 60-70 minutes, during which they will enter deep sleep only a couple of times. You will notice that cats often get far more active at night, and will be on the prowl into the wee hours of the morning.

Is it normal for a cat to sleep all day?

Older and younger cats will often sleep all day during the sunny hours, as they need to conserve as much energy as they can. You have to understand that, evolutionarily, nighttime is hunting time for cats, so they are physiologically inclined to sleep through the day and become more active at night.

During most of their life you will be able to keep them relatively awake during the day and get them plenty of night sleep, but both at a young and an old age, those daytime naps are going to go from a half-hour to a full-day. If your middle-aged cat is becoming a bit too docile, though, it might be time to head down to the veterinarian.

Do all cats sleep the same amount?

Not all cats need to sleep the same number of hours each day. This is dependent on a variety of different factors, each of which influence the amount of energy a cat has and, therefore, how much sleep it needs to keep in good health and live a happy life.

Cats will sleep different amounts of times based on these factors:

  • Kittens will sleep longer than adult cats, as they need more energy to stimulate and sustain physical growth.
  • Senior cats, much like elderly people, also need more energy as it is harder for them to complete their daily activities.
  • When it is cold and darker outside in winter and fall, cats need more sleep.
  • Certain illnesses and health issues will make your cat sleep more. This is because its body needs the time and energy to beat whatever pathogen has entered its system, or heal whatever wound afflicts it.
  • You might notice that if your cat barely sleeps it is way more lazy, behaves strangely, is extremely bored, or seems seriously unhealthy.

Not a bad idea: It's always good to monitor your kitty. Is it sleeping more than usual? Has it been sleeping less? Does it seem to be uncomfortable or unhappy in its sleep? If you're concerned, call your vet!

Age plays a role in how long cats sleep, and kittens will generally sleep much longer.
Age plays a role in how long cats sleep, and kittens will generally sleep much longer.  © 123RF / Betonstudio

Cat sleeping rhythm: How long do cats sleep in one go?

You might notice that your cat spends about two-thirds of every day fast asleep. This is because it is regenerating its energy, body, and mind, and preparing for an evening or night of hunting. Outdoor cats will sleep a lot during the day because they expend more energy, while indoor cats will sometimes be a little more balanced as they have less reason to become tired.

Ultimately, cats remain active throughout day and night, only sleeping for around one to one and a half hours at a time. They spend the rest of their time either lazing around, enjoying a boost of energy, eating, hunting, or seeking affection.

Cat sleep disorders

Cats can suffer from a variety of sleep disorders, causing them to need more rest.
Cats can suffer from a variety of sleep disorders, causing them to need more rest.  © 123RF / Annatretiak

While cats will generally adapt to the sleeping habits of their humans, sometimes they won't fully integrate, leading to problems with their sleep cycles. Some of these problems can end up as sleep disorders, which can become serious.

There are two key cat sleep disorders: Narcolepsy and Cataplexy, each of which affect their bodies in significant ways.

Narcolepsy caused a cat to sleep way too much during the day, while cataplexy involves a cat losing control of its body without losing consciousness.

If you have noticed either of these symptoms – so if your cat seems overly sleepy and lacking in energy during the day, or if it keeps having strange fits of paralysis – it needs to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible. These issues can develop far further, to the point of being life-threatening.

A cat's daily sleep schedule is complex!

Human sleep cycles are rather simple: We get up in the morning, we do our thing, we go to bed and sleep for around seven to eight hours. Cats are different, as cats have different requirements. Seeing as they are much more nervous animals, they don't experience as much deep sleep. This results in a need for naps!

Snooze, eat, snooze, hunt, snooze, chill, poop, snooze – that's the life! You're a little jealous, aren't you?

Cover photo: Kate Stone Matheson / Unsplash

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