It’s quite a calming activity to spend a few minutes watching your cat sleep, but have you noticed that sometimes their sleep seems different to other times? It’s pretty obvious when they’re just snoozing. Their eyes are still a tiny bit open, their ears move around in response to slight noises and their breathing stays fairly constant. Other times though they are clearly dead to the world. There’s no reaction to sound, they make involuntary movements, their breathing might seem more erratic and maybe they even snore. Soph does, and Mr Pet Parent and I sit there giggling like children as poor Soph carries on oblivious.
Types of Cat Sleep
Just the same as humans, cats experience REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and non-REM sleep.
REM Sleep: This is the most prevalent type of sleep cats do. This is when their eyes move under their eyelids, whiskers, ears and limbs twitch and they wake up and go back to sleep easily and often. It’s estimated that up to 60% of cat’s sleep is REM sleep which is roughly 3 times more than humans do. It’s also considered that cat’s dream during REM sleep. How on earth do people know that?! I suspect because it’s been identified that that’s when humans dream someone has deduced that cats must do that too. Hmmm, I will remain sceptical until someone with credibility provides some evidence. Maybe it’s another case of us projecting human characteristics onto our pets again.
Non-REM Sleep: The non-REM phase is the deep sleep phase. Just like in humans this is when the body gets to repair and regenerate itself. If your cat is sick or has been injured, this is the time when the immune system can really swing into action and aid recovery. Kittens will need more non-REM sleep as their muscles and bones grow. It’s estimated that each non-REM cycle lasts between 15 and 20 mins.
This sleeping pattern has been inherited from domestic cats’ wild ancestors. The constant need for cats in the wild to be on alert for danger and prey necessitates this type of light sleeping. It allows for quick reaction to catch dinner or to evade being someone else’s.
Getting sufficient and good quality sleep is as important for your cat as it is for you, and will help keep them happy and healthy. What can you do to help foster quality sleep for your cat? If your Favourite Feline is anything like Pussa & Soph they probably go through phases of where they like to sleep at any given time. More often than not, they want to be within reasonably close proximity to their hoomans. This includes sleeping on the back of the couch (Soph’s personal fave), basically on any of the chairs in the lounge room, and of course there is the perennial favourite of our bed. We use our Feline Futons in those spots which helps contain cat fur and stop it permeating every single piece of furniture we own. Other times they want something that’s more enclosed to provide a sense of security. When that mood strikes we bring out the Cat Cot. Then of course for those in-between times there’s the Slumber Yard which has a lovely rustic look and can be personalised with your cat’s name too.
Given that your Favourite Feline spends up to 20 hours of the day in pursuit of sleep it’s the job of the hooman to provide the required infrastructure to facilitate such activity. When you’re in a situation like this puss-cat you just need the right cat bed underneath you.