If you’re a pet owner, the same thing probably happens every day when you get home from work. The second your dog hears the doorknob turn, they begin zooming around the living room like they’ve had at least three shots of espresso. They’re ready to go on an adventure through Middle Earth.
Your cat, on the other hand, seems to hardly notice you. They’re sleeping up on a high shelf. They briefly open their eyes, acknowledge that you’re home, and fall right back into their nap. They seem to be engrossed in a dream much more interesting than their reality.
But, why are they like this?
Their Instincts Tell Them To Sleep
Cats, by nature, hunt for their meals. Your house cat isn’t much different from the feral cats that might live in your neighborhood. Cats without owners act much like wildcats do. They have to chase and subdue most of what they intend to eat, and they use that instinct on a regular basis.
If your housecat were to get lost for a week or two, they probably wouldn’t starve. They’d know how to tap back into that instinct.
They sleep during the day to conserve their energy for when they need it. They lay low to keep their energy requirements down to their most basic levels. When they’re ready to eat, they jump up full of vigor to pursue something tasty. In the case of your housecat, it’s their food bowl.
How Much Sleep Do Cats Actually Need?
Kittens sleep almost all the time. They wake up to eat (or be fed by their mothers) and go right back to sleep. As they grow into adolescence, their schedules and patterns may become irregular. They’re attempting to find the right balance of sleep and wake. Their habits won’t always be predictable, and they often surprise their owners with the desire to play at odd times.
Adult cats can sleep for as long as 20 hours a day. Most of them will sleep for a minimum of 12 hours. They won’t accumulate those hours consecutively. They’ll sleep for an hour or two, get up to groom, eat, drink, and use the litter box, and go right back to bed.
Older cats are more likely to sleep closer to 20 hours than 12 hours will as they usually experience issues with joint mobility, and typically have slower metabolisms.
Should I Be Worried About How Much My Cat Sleeps?
You should only be concerned about your cat’s sleeping behaviors if you don’t observe them getting up to take care of themselves. If they’re still eating, drinking, using the litter box correctly, and occasionally indulging in socialization with people or other animals, they’re likely healthy.
If something ever doesn’t feel right to you, take your cat to the veterinarian.
...And Then They Get the Midnight Crazies
It’s three in the morning. You’re asleep. You hear loud clattering and thrashing noises. You go downstairs to find that your cat has somehow become tangled in your blinds in the process of knocking every throw pillow off the couch. She’s suddenly tapped into this endless well of energy, and she’s on a rampage.
This is because your cat’s brain is telling them that it’s time to be a predator. Cats are crepuscular (i.e. twilight) animals, and their nighttime instincts motivate them to stalk and hunt. Even though they have access to all the fresh, tasty food they want, their instincts are still driving them to hunt for something.
Since they don't know exactly what they’re supposed to be hunting for, they might become a little destructive. They’ll knock things over zooming around the room, and they might bully your other pets.
This can be an extremely aggravating thing to deal with when it’s really late and you want to get some sleep, but it’s not your cat’s fault. They need to exert energy and play appropriately, but that’s not what they’re biologically driven to do.
Helping Your Cat Find Balance
Older cats may have a desire to move around and play more, but their joint mobility holds them back. VETCBD’s pet-safe CBD extract can help to support joint mobility in older cats. It’s easily dispensed with a plastic dropper, so you don’t have to worry about any glass breaking should your cat decide to go for a little nibble.
Over time, your cat may experience benefits from CBD. This can make it easier and more enjoyable for them to get up and move around. If they haven't really moved around in a while, they might be a little rusty. They’ll need your encouragement and support for gentle play. Soft toys that vibrate should capture their interest. They may swat them around or try to capture them, even if they don't perform gymnastic feats in their attempt to overtake them.
If your cat’s midnight crazies are a problem, there may be a compromise in order. Your cat needs to get out all that energy. It’s healthy for them to exercise and hunt. You don’t want to stop them from doing that. It can become an issue if your cat has a tendency to run wild without supervision and wreck your home.
Keeping your cat relaxed at night and stimulated during the day may help to achieve that balance. Make sure your cat has engaging toys to play with while you’re gone. Spend some time on the floor with your cat engaged in active play. Encourage them to indulge in their instincts appropriately.
If you need to keep them a little more relaxed at nighttime, VETCBD’s CBD tincture can help. It doesn’t get your cat high. It just helps to soothe them. Your cat will usually begin to feel the effects within an hour or two after you’ve administered an appropriate dose. The effects can last as long as 12 hours, giving you plenty of time to sleep while your cat is relaxed.
Once you’ve worked to help them develop better habits, the process will sustain itself. If your cat is used to engaging in supervised active play during the day, they won’t need to be carefully managed to regulate their sleep patterns. They’ll still require a substantial amount of sleep, but they’ll get it at a more appropriate time.
Cats Are Sleepy... Until They Aren’t
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with a sleepy cat. Cats, much like people, appreciate the value of a great nap after a meal, or a good breakfast after a long sleep. If they prefer to spend most of their days lazy, they’re totally fine to do so. It’s not like they can go out and get a job. Let them be warm and snug.
You might notice that your cat isn’t getting up much at all. If your cat is still meeting all of their basic needs, can travel to the food and water, and can use the litter box appropriately, it may not be a serious issue. If a serious issue is apparent or if a prolonged period without play has you concerned, you need to take your cat to the vet.
If joint mobility issues are preventing your cat from getting as much movement as they should, VETCBD can help. Our tincture can also help to relax cats who want to sleep, terrorize your house, and then run off into a corner for another nap.
Biology & Behavior of Cats - What they Eat & More | Alley Cat
Crepuscular Animals Archive | OneKind Planet