Newton’s Purrspective – Cats and Sleep

Sir Isaac Newton is our Feline Editor At Large (just how large, he’s not saying) who writes very brainy and very well researched articles for us. Newton lives in the North East and is fond of storms, our catnip toys, a soft bed, sunbeams, and naps. He has an ongoing email flirtation with our Daphne. This is his current, and as always, very well done article.


Cats have a reputation for preferring sleep over almost anything else. Perhaps you’ve seen the cartoon showing a group of “business cats” sitting around a table. The head cat is calling for a vote. Should they explore, invent things, do research etc. or keep napping? All answer “nap”. You may laugh, but I don’t think that is such a bad idea considering the decisions far too many humans make without taking adequate time to think about it, consider the consequences, or gather information and read about, or “sleep on it”.




Isaac Newton

Cats need approximately 12-16 hours of sleep daily. I really don’t understand why we should get a bad rap for that. Dogs need 12-14 hours of sleep and nobody jokes about them! But seriously, if you’re going to take an afternoon nap wouldn’t it be better for a snooze with a cat? Of course, we felines enjoy helping you read, type on the computer, text on your phone, knit – almost any activity. But naps are our specialty and you could learn a lot from us! Lying down is an invitation for a snuggle. We are soft and super flexible for cuddling – especially in cold weather. We also make the most delightful music while “making biscuits” on your stomach. Irresistible!

In fact, we cats have perfected the art of napping. We can fall asleep quickly and awake refreshed in a flash! Surprisingly, some people (who may have been cats in another life) have even learned the joys and benefits and they call it, appropriately, a “cat nap”.

Even if you aren’t feeling tired you probably enjoy watching Kitty sleep. What could be more relaxing, meditative even? You may wonder if cats dream. Of course we do! Sometimes our legs kick or our toes twitch like we are running in hot pursuit of a toy or something to eat. We can look like we are chewing, dreaming of a delicious morsel. What are we dreaming of? Perhaps we are dreaming of what we love, like chasing butterflies, hunting for a snack, or a platter of fresh meat. Or maybe we are indulging a more sinister side – catching and crunching unwary birdies.

Regardless, we are never as uncouth as dogs. Have you seen them dreaming? Barks and whines and enough leg movement to generate electricity! Cats are refined and elegant even in our dreams.

Can a cat sleep too much? I think a more important question would be “Have Kitty’s sleeping habits changed?” Kittens and senior cats do tend to sleep for longer periods. But lethargy in a normally active cat is a concern. Other considerations include poor diet or a health problem such as changes in Kidney function. A veterinarian should definitely be consulted if there are symptoms of disease (vomiting, changes in water consumption, flinching with pain when touched or picked up, etc.). Keep in mind that we cats are experts at hiding sickness as to not appear to be weak and vulnerable. Extra sleep could be a “self healing” technique handed down via DNA from our wild ancestors. If Kitty is sleeping much more than usual a health check is in order. If the veterinarian gives Kitty a clean bill of health it may mean that Fluffy may be bored and in need of environmental enrichment – perhaps a CATio, extra attention from you, or fresh Cat Faeries toys.

Now some people complain that cats race around in the middle of the night for “no reason at all”. Of course there is a reason! Wild cats are normally crepuscular. They are most active at dawn and dusk when prey is most available. Housecats don’t have to catch their own meals, but we retain some of that genetically programmed timetable. We have just modified the timetable a bit to suit ourselves. Why not? We (in the sense of the “royal we”) were once worshipped in Egypt and have never forgotten that.

Who doesn’t like to have fun and get a little exercise? How fun it is to scuff up the area rugs and knock things off tables! Considering that our night time vision is six times better than that of humans why shouldn’t we take advantage of the extra room to run when the rest of the household is asleep? We have all day to nap.

Sir Isaac Newton, Feline Boy Genius and Cat Faeries Editor At Large
 
 
 
 

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