MIND & BODY
BY STACY N. HACKETT
this trio of cats
— and their female
who prefers to sleep at
the top of her cat tree in
the living room — are quite
a lazy bunch, but that’s not so.
Because of their innate preda-
tory nature, cats need much more
sleep than you and I do.
“Cats, being predators, need to
conserve energy for hunting,” explained
Marilyn Krieger, certified cat behavior
consultant and author (thecatcoach.
com). “It takes a lot of work to catch
Like my trio on the bed, who become
aware of my presence the minute I step
into the room, cats spend most of their
“sleeping” hours ready to get up and go.
“When cats nap they are aware of their
surroundings,” Krieger said. “Check out a
napping cat’s ears; you’ll note that their
ears will turn toward a sound.”
So how much sleep does a cat really
need every day? And how can you tell if
he’s sleeping too much — or not enough?
Kittens need more sleep than adults.
They spend their days frolicking and discovering, and they use up a lot of energy
simply growing. “Newborns can sleep as
much as 90 percent of the day,” Krieger
explained. “Eight- to 12-week-old kittens
can sleep 20 hours a day, but it depends
on their activities. Highly energetic kittens may sleep longer.”
DON’T WORRY: If your kitten
has a particularly fun-filled day of
playing and exploring, he may need
more sleep. “Kittens should play and
explore,” Krieger said. “Play helps them
develop muscle coordination and timing. Exploration also helps them discover and orient themselves to their
BE CONCERNED: A kitten who
sleeps almost all the time or seems
lethargic or uninterested in her surroundings may be sick. Take her to the
vet as soon as possible.
Sometimes I think my cats sleep the
entire day, waking up only to eat, but
in reality, adult cats sleep around 15 to
18 hours per day. This can be affected
by many factors, Krieger said. “On cold, ABS
A quick glance in my bedroom on a sunny day will likely reveal my three male cats sprawled on the bed. If I step into the room, Jack, Phillip and Leroy may each crack open an eye, swivel an ear toward me or change position — but
they’re in no hurry to get up unless they hear the distinctive clink of the
ceramic food bowls being placed on the kitchen countertop.
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