Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Why Do Cats Sleep So Much??
Hi and welcome to the May 7th edition of The Grable Report. For those of you who are new to The Grable Report, let me introduce myself...I am Grable Davey, a former feral kitty and one of the spokeskitties for The Kitty Kanteen Feral Cat and Kitten Rescue in New Haven, Michigan. In todays report, we are going to explore the age old question..."Why do cats sleep so much?".
Everyone knows the old adage of the Cat Nap...but do you know what this term means?? Lets find out!
A normal cat will sleep on average 15- 18 hours per day...did you know that this is more than any other mammal with the exception of a Opposum or a bat?
The reason for this goes back to a time when all cats were wild animals who survived in the world by predatory means...they hunted everyday to live!
The lives of cats in todays world have changed drastically, but the hunting instinct is still an inbred part of their physiology...I guess you can say that you can take the cat out of the hunt, but you can't take the hunting instinct out of a cat.
A cats day usually follows a set pattern...they are by nature a crepuscular creature...this means that they are most active between the hours of twilight and dawn as this is hunt time, a time to creep, pounce and capture, even when it is only a toy or another family or colony member...humphhh maybe that is why we get into so much mischief during the night hours when our human counterparts are sleeping!
But fear not, this doesn't mean that we stay awake all night. No, due to years of domestication, we have adapted to our human families sleep patterns. We sneak in enough cat naps during the dark of night, so that we can still enjoy quality time during the daylight hours when you humans are awake...hey, we love you, and want to spend time with you too!
Although you think we sleep alot, our sleeping pattern is very different from what you as humans experience. Lets see why....
Now here is the definition of the term Cat Nap. A cat nap is equivalent to a light doze...just a few minutes of rest lasting anywhere from 15 - 30 minutes. Our eyes are closed, but our body language is still in spring mode. During our cat nap, you will notice that our heads are usually laid on our paws which are placed under our bodies. This is done so that at a minutes notice, we can spring into action. Due to the fact that our sense of sound and smell are still very active, we can smell a mouse or food in an instant. Did you ever wonder why, when you thought we were in a deep sleep, we could still be awake in an instant when we hear the whirl of the can opener? Now you know, we are not really sleeping... we are just resting our eyes!
After our cat nap time, our bodies usually start to relax. We will stretch out and flip onto our backs or sides. Now, we are really ready to snooze! During this time we will go into a deep sleep. This is accompanied by rapid brain movement, and tends to last from 5 - 6 minutes. It is like a REM dream state. Yes, we do dream! After about the 5 - 6 minutes in this REM sleep, we usually revert back to our light slumber. This pattern keeps repeating until we wake up recharged, and are once again ready to go!!
There are a few exceptions to our sleeping pattern. Kittens and senior cats (due to energy levels), always require more snooze time than the normal adult cat. Also, if we are ill, we sleep more. Another thing that can affect a cats sleeping habit is the weather. A cold or rainy day will usually find us looking for a warm cozy place to snuggle in for a few extra zzzzz!!!
Well, that is The Grable Report for today. We hope you enjoyed this edition, and it helped you understand the cat nap! I am Grable Davey, and remember, We may sleep alot, but when we cats are awake...Look out world!!