Is Your Cat Sleeping Excessively?

You may have noticed your cat sleeping a lot. To recognize if this is normal behavior, you must know what is normal for your individual cat.

Normal Sleep

Predators need lots of sleep because hunting is so energy-consuming. Even though your cat's hunting consists of jumping up on the counter to reach his bowl, he is evolutionarily conditioned to sleep a lot to prepare for hunting. Because of this, the average house cat sleeps 16 hours daily. Some cats, especially older cats, may sleep even more.

Since you live with your cat all the time, you are the best judge of normal behavior. Cats love routine. They will usually keep to a sleep schedule and be active at the same times each day, usually around meal times and in the evening. It might be that your cat is quite active after you are asleep.

However, if your cat starts to vary dramatically from this routine, something may be wrong.

Determining a Problem

Our pets can't tell us when they are sick and even try to hide it since weakness in the wild may get them killed. If the behavior changes for only a few days, your cat may have just been sleeping off a mild bug. Usually, serious health problems will have other symptoms such as behavior changes and changes in eating and drinking patterns. If there are other symptoms, visit your veterinarian.

Your cat may also be sleeping because he is bored. Try making his environment more interesting by providing more scratch posts and toys. Interact with your cat during the day by initiating games, cuddling or even leash walks in the neighborhood.

Prolonged stress is very energy intensive. If your cat is easily frightened or suffers from anxiety in his environment, make changes to reduce your cat's stress. Give him a quiet, dark room where he can go relax. Install a DAP diffuser, which releases calming pheromones in the air that only your cat can smell. Desensitize him to his fears by exposing him at a low level and rewarding him with treats for remaining calm.

If you have tried improving your cat's environment and find he is still sleeping excessively, observe his behavior when he's awake. If he seems lethargic and depressed, it may be a medical problem. Feline Infectious Peritonitis, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline Leukemia Virus and Lyme disease all list lethargy as a symptom. More common problems such as colds, the flu and allergies could also cause your cat to sleep more frequently.

As your cat gets older, he will naturally sleep a little more. However, your older cat has a weaker immune system and is more susceptible to disease, so you must be aware if he is sleeping a normal amount. A good way to judge is to have a special time each day where you interact with your cat through games. If he suddenly seems uninterested or the sleeping patterns change suddenly, visit your veterinarian.

Because cats spend so much of their life sleeping, it's hard to determine what is "normal." However, if your cat's sleeping patterns change suddenly, this is often a sign of illness and should not be ignored.