All cat parents know that cats are great snoozers. Cats sleep between 12 and 18 hours a day. Their sleeping patterns vary by annual season and by cycles of light and dark. Sometimes, however, changes in the sleeping patterns may represent the sign of an illness. Because of that, it is essential to notice when your cat is sleeping too much.
In order to spot when their sleeping patterns become irregular, you might want to understand their normal sleeping routine first. Veterinarians from Eastshore Vet, the best pet hospital in Madison, explain it this way.
Cats are experts in napping at the weird places. They take every opportunity to close their eyes wherever they are'by hanging from a railing, packing themselves into the tight box, or curling up in the bathroom sink. These naps usually last from 5 to 30 minutes.
Experts believe that cats have learned to nap with one eye open as a survival technique. In order to accumulate enough energy they need to chase their prey, they develop this habit. Thus, it is not surprising when you half-sleeping cat suddenly pounces when an unusual sound breaks into the room.
Like their human counterparts, cats also have REM (rapid-eye-movement) phase. This phase means that the cat's body is completely paralyzed during the sleep, while their brain is still active. The REM phase is one of the characteristics of good sleep and essential for cats well-being.
During this deep stage of sleep, you might see sudden involuntary movements such as twitching and chirping. It is quite normal and suggests that your cat is dreaming.
Many people believe that cats are nocturnal animals, who sleep during a day and are active during the night. Feline experts, however, claim that cats are crepuscular animals meaning they are active before dawn and during dusk. According to them, cats have inherited these sleeping patterns form their ancestors in the wild, who tried to conserve energy by daily sleep and later use it for hunt.
Cats sleep longer in winter months when daylight is short, and during bad weather. Besides other factors, their sleeping patterns depend on the light-dark cycle.
Cats may sleep too much when trying to hide their illness or use their prolonged sleep to cope with pain. Some illnesses such as kidney disease, diabetes, liver disease, osteoarthritis, anemia, parasitic infestation, and even cancer may affect your cat to sleep much longer than usual.
No one can know for sure when your cat is sleeping too much. What you may want to do is to recognize what is normal for your cat. Any variation in sleeping pattern, especially if it is accompanied by other symptoms, such as vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, pale gums, etc., might point at some underlying illness. If you've noticed any of these changes, it might be a time to visit a vet.