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Can Cats Dream? What Do They Dream About?

Red Tabby Kitten sleeping sideways

Do you think that only people dream? Well, I have to tell you that researchers found that all mammals dream about their daily activities and experiences (exactly like people do). Can cats dream? Let’s see.

MIT Researchers Found That All Mammals Dream

Researchers at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), monitored the brain of rats to understand if these mammals do dream.

During the tests, they’ve found that the rats’ brain activity was identical, while they’re both awake and asleep, which means that they dream about daily events.

Rats and cats are different species, but the study showed that there is a possibility that all mammals dream.
House cats prefer to sleep between 15 and 20 hours a day, so they spend more time sleeping and dreaming (much more than people do).

As in the case of humans, images of past events reply in the cat’s mind while sleeping, even if their brain is much smaller compared to ours.

The feline hippocampus (the part of the brain that retains memories) is much smaller, but works the same way like our part of the brain that retains memories, which means that they can retain past events like we do, and they can dream about them while sleeping.

MIT researchers also found that younger cats may dream about 80 percent of the time while asleep because they have a huge amount of new information to learn.

House Cats Sleep Between 15 And 20 Hours A Day

All felines that live on the planet love to sleep, and they do sleep more often than other species (including other pets).

Young kittens can sleep about 20 hours a day, while older cats will sleep about 15 hours a day.

If you want to see if your cat dreams while sleeping, it is enough to watch her.

If you notice a twitch, a move of her whiskers, tail or paws “waking up” during sleeping, snore or other unexpected and odd sounds, it means that they have brain activity while asleep, and this means that they dream like us.

If you see your cat changing its sleeping position without waking up at all, it means that she dreams.

Exactly like people, cats go through different phases of sleep, including the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, when most dreams occur.

During the REM sleep phase, your cat may experience vivid and long-lasting dreaming sequences, while kittens can also dream in other sleep phases because they need to learn a lot of new things fast.

Kittens have longer and more frequent phases of REM sleep in their first months of life, and this is the reason why you can see more prominent muscle twitches while they sleep.

Adult and older cats will twitch less while sleeping because they have shorter phases of REM sleep compared to younger kittens.

Older cats can also have dreams in other sleep phases, but these dreams will be fragmented and less tangible compared to the REM dreams.

The answer to the question “Can Cats Dream?” is a big Yes!, because they do dream much more than people do (they sleep more than us).

Your Cat’s Sleeping Position Can Tell You A Lot About Its General Health and Personality

Cats have different sleeping positions according to their general health, personality, and the way they feel.

1. Eye See You Position

Your cat is a predator, and if prefers to sleep with her eyes half open, it means that its natural hunting instinct is still active.

Another sign telling you that your cat is still active in this position, is shown by her ears that are constantly moving, announcing that your feline is alert and ready to react if needed.

There are cats that sleep with one eye shut and the other open, showing that half of their brain is sleeping (the one with the eye shut), while the other half is active and alert.

This sleeping position is specific to cats living in areas where threats can occur.

Your cat can stay in this position for hours during the day, being aware about everything around it.

2. Loaf Position

A cat will use this sleeping position (sitting upright, but placing its front paws under the body) only if she wants to spend a short time sleeping before starting the next activity.

Your cat is still alert in this position, but she prefers to relax a little before becoming active again.

3. Curled-up Position

This a pretty common sleeping position for cats, dogs, and a large number of wild animals sleeping outside in nature.

However, cats prefer this position because they feel comfortable using it and because they can conserve their own body heat while protecting their belly.

4. Sleeping Inside A Box

If your cat prefers to sleep inside a box, it means that tries to find a place where she feels safe because without the box, your home is a place where threats can occur any time.

In order for her to feel comfortable and safe, she tries to use a box or even a closet as a hiding place when sleeping.

You need to find out why is your cat hiding because usually, the reason behind such a behavior is another pet inside the house (a dog) or children playing in the same room where the cat tries to sleep.

To help your cat, you can create an enclosed space where only you and your cat can enter, and there you can place an open box filled with all kinds of fluffy things that could improve the comfort inside it.

Your cat will be happy to use that box for sleeping, but only after being sure that the threats can’t reach that place.

5. Sleeping On One Side

A cat sleeps sideways with her limbs stretched out only when it feels very safe and comfortable inside the house.

Being a very relaxing sleeping position for felines (humans often use the same position when sleeping), it can help your cat reach the REM sleep phase, where she can experience very intense and interesting dreams.

If your cat likes to use this sleeping position, be sure that your home is very safe for her.

6. Paw-over-face Position

Paw-over-face sleeping position

Paw-over-face sleeping position, image source: pixabay.com.

When your cat prefers to sleep covering its face with a paw will look adorable, and will try to show you that she wants to protect her eye and ears from a bright light and from any noises inside the room.

This is her way of showing you that she doesn’t want to be disturbed.

7. Contortionist Position

A cat that sleeps in the contortionist position will look twisted up with her limbs in all possible positions and her head twisted at a strange angle in relation to the body.

Cats use this strange sleeping position because it’s very comfortable for them, and they can reach the REM sleep phase where they can dream about very interesting events.

8. Belly Up Position

This is another comfortable sleeping position preferred only by cats that feel truly safe in your house.

Cats always protect their stomach area because they know instinctively that the area is vulnerable, and needs to be protected from any outside threats.

Sleeping with its belly exposed, your fluffy feline is trying to show you how confident and relaxed feels when you are around.

9. Monorail Position

This sleeping position is preferred by cats that love to sleep lying on sofas, chairs, on furniture, staircase banisters, tops of doors, fence posts, on the bike saddle, etc.

Cats use this position when they want to monitor a wider area.

10. Sleeping On You

If your cat wants to sleep on you or in your arms, it shows you that your she feels extremely safe and comfortable while being in direct contact with your body.

Cats can feel the energy inside the human body (the aura of each organ), and they usually choose to sit covering the area with weaker energy field.


If you love your cat and care about her, you will watch closely what sleeping position she prefers.

You’ve already seen that a cat that feels safe in the house, will sleep in a very comfortable position which allows to reach the REM sleep phase.

This is a profound sleep, full of dreams, and very restful for the cat.

If the cat doesn’t feel safe in your home, it will be stressed because it won’t be able to reach the REM sleep phase, the profound sleep that would help her recover after a stressful day.

A cat that doesn’t feel safe in your home, it may move to another home that she considers safer for her.

Once again, if you love your cat, you will make the required changes in the house to provide a safe and comfortable place for her, and only this way you can keep her in the house with you and your family.

Article written by:

Darius Savin is a lifelong animal lover and protector and the chief editor of Checkmember. He writes and edits articles and is also the creator of the distribution maps for all the creatures featured here.