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Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

Adult cat sleeping

Adult cats can sleep between 15 and 18 hours per day, however, younger cats or elderly cats can sleep much longer. So, let’s see why do cats sleep so much?

Cats are animals that spend almost the entire day sleeping. In the wild, cats are mostly nocturnal, because this way they can hunt freely during the night due to the fact that other predators are less active.

Domestic cats don’t need to hunt that much, but even so, they still preserve many of their ancestral habits, and for this reason, they sleep mostly during the day, and are more active during the night.

Instead of hunting, they wake up after sunset, and they want to play with you even is you are trying to sleep.

How Many Hours A Cat Should Sleep Per Day According To Its Age?

Kittens and elderly cats seem to sleep much longer than adult cats.

1. How Much Does A Kitten Sleep?

Newborn kittens sleep almost all the time, except the time when they eat and go to the bathroom.

Until the age of four to five weeks, kittens can sleep at least 20 hours a day, and this is very normal, because the growth hormone is released mainly when they sleep.

A good sleep is essential for the kitten’s correct development. It seems that the greatest amount of growth hormone is released when the kitten is in the deepest state of sleep (the REM phase).

This is the reason why kittens sleep more than adult cats, they need to grow, so they sleep more deeply and more often.

Kitten sleeping all day long

Kittens sleep all day long, image source: pixabay.com

After the fifth week if life, kittens will drastically reduce their sleeping time, and will become more active. When awake, they will play a lot, will eat and explore the world around them.

2. How Much Does An Adult Cat Sleep?

After week five and up to one year of age, cats sleep only about 65 percent of their time, and this means between 15 and 16 hours per day.

When they reach adulthood, the average number of sleeping hours per day will increase again, spending about 75 percent of their time sleeping, about 18 hours per day.

Of course, that the cat doesn’t sleep seventeen hours straight, it is rather a nap throughout the day.

This might be the reason why we see the cat sleeping in various spots around the home during the day.

2. How Much Does An Elderly Cat Sleep?

It seems that not all cats reach old age at the same time, but all cats are considered elderly after the age of 12 years.

You can easily recognize a cat which has aged because as we see in humans, older cats start having sedentary habits, and a decreased physical activity.

The decreased physical activity, translates automatically into an increase in sleeping hours, so is very common in elderly cats to sleep between 18 and 20 hours a day.

During this final stage of life, it is essential to offer the appropriate care to your cat, and take her to the veterinarian if you spot any health issue.

Why Do Cats Sleep So Many Hours Per Day?

Cats are less active during the day, and more active after the sunset.

In the winter, cats sleep more as a way to preserve body heat, and this is the reason why they often look for warmer places to rest.

Domestic cats that don’t have access to the outside world, will sleep much more than wild cats.

This happens because an indoor cat will have less activity to occupy in its time, so will be less energized due to a decreased general activity.

A cat that stays in the house all day, and sleeps most of the time due to a lack of activity, will have an increased risk of obesity.

If you prefer to keep your cat only in the house, you have to spend time playing with her or him.

You have to spend a few hours per day playing and stimulating your cat every day.

If your cat sleeps more than the indicated average, it may still be normal, however, if your cat has a lost appetite and sleeps more than 16 hours per day, and becomes weak, you have to take her or him to the vet, to rule out any possible health issue.

Is It Normal For A Cat To Sleep All Day?

Giving the fact that cats are active mostly after sunset, it is normal to see your cat sleeping during the day.

Adult cats can sleep between 15 and 18 hours per day, which may seem like they’re sleeping all day.

Cat sleeping in a tight ball

Cat sleeping in a tight ball, image source: pixabay.com

However, kittens and elderly cats being less active, can sleep up to 20 hours per day.

If you have an adult cat that sleeps like a kitten or an older cat, you should call your vet right away, especially if the cat has lost her appetite. Certain diseases can make the cat less active and more lethargic.

Why Do Cats Sleep In A Ball?

Your cat may prefer to sleep all balled-up, because this is a position that makes her or him feel safe and secure.

This sleeping position is very common among indoor cats, and is used when they find a comfy, warm and relaxing place to sleep.

However, if the cat doesn’t sleep when sitting in this position, it could be due to a medical problem.

Cats that adopt this position without sleeping could be in deep pain due to some health problems, so pay attention to its behavior, and if you see other disturbing symptoms, take it to the vet right away.

Why Does My Cat Sleep Next To Me?

If you go to bed and you find your cat already sitting there, you don’t have to worry or to kick her out.
Cats prefer to sleep next to us because for them this is quite a relaxing and pleasant experience.

More than that, we are a great source of heat for them, we are actually human radiators for cats. Despite their furry coat, cats are always looking for the warmest places in the house where they can sleep such as: near the stove, between the couch cushions, or in the sunlight if it comes through the window.

Another reason why cats prefer to sleep with us in the bed is the level of comfort they feel.

Our bed is more comfortable and warm, so they prefer to sleep there next to us.

Even if they seem relaxed, cats are constantly on the alert, so if they choose to sleep next to you, be sure that they consider themselves secure and protected near you.

It Is Okay To Sleep With My Cat?

There are advantages and disadvantages when you share the bed with the cat.

If your cat walks freely outside, or if you have allergies, it is not wise to let your cat sleep in the same bed with you.

However, if the cat is dewormed and vaccinated, you can share your bed with her or him.

It might even help you fall asleep more easily, be more relaxed and happier.


Cats love to sleep all day long, but they become very active after the sunset. Wild cats prefer to sleep during the day and hunt during the night, while indoor cats sleep during the day, and instead of hunting, they want to play in the middle of the night.

Kittens and elderly cats can sleep up to 20 hours per day, but adult cats usually don’t sleep more than 18 hours per day.
If your cat sleeps more than usual, refuses food and is lethargic, call your vet right away.

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.