Do Cats Understand We Need Sleep?
Do Cats Understand We Need Sleep?
While humans are diurnal animals and prefer to stay active throughout the day, cats are crepuscular - they're most alert and active at dawn and dusk.
Cats are hardwired to hunt, which requires short bursts of energy. This translates into a sleep cycle that includes frequent dozing in and out, as well as deeper sleep cycles.
They’re seeking warmth
Cats have the physiology of a predator, meaning that hunting is an energy-consuming process that requires short but intensive bursts.
Sleep is the time that cats recharge their energy stores and restore their natural balance between activity and rest. So it makes sense that they’d seek warmth and comfort when they need to sleep.
They may also be seeking to be close to you, so that they can feel the soothing rhythm of your heartbeat. This is particularly common when a cat is bonded to you, and it helps strengthen their bond.
Cats are very vulnerable when they sleep, so this behavior suggests that they trust you and that they feel secure around you. It also serves as a form of communication that says they love you and want to stay close to you.
They’re marking their territory
When cats are awake, they are hunting and chasing down prey. This requires them to be highly active, but after a chase, they need to rest to regain their energy.
While other fur-covered mammals coast by on 8 hours of sleep per cycle, cats are biologically programmed to need more than that. Their naps are 15-30 minute stretches, allowing them to conserve energy while also adjusting their bodies so that they can spring into action at the right time.
Cats also mark their territory through scent rubbing, scratching and spraying (urine marking). Their saliva carries natural pheromones that help establish boundaries within which they feel comfortable and secure.
This marking can be triggered by any number of factors, such as stress, changes to their environment (i.e., moving to a new house), or an increase in social pressure from other cats. Generally, male cats who are not neutered engage in this behavior. Those who are neutered may exhibit this behavior as well.
We humans know that sleep is essential for our health. It recharges us for the next day, supports memory function and our immune system.
But do cats understand this?
They’re naturally predators, and they require a lot of energy in order to hunt. They also have a crepuscular sleep cycle, so they tend to be active during the day and more restful at night.
Cats can be very clingy and need companionship, so they might want to cuddle with you when they’re feeling lonely.
If you notice that your cat isn’t eating, this could be a sign that they’re feeling lonely. They may squat and spray away from their litter box to let you know they need your attention.
Lonely cats might also show signs of destructive behavior like ripping up curtains, shredding toilet paper and moving things around in the attempt to keep themselves busy while you’re gone. It’s important to monitor their behavior closely and make sure they have enough time for playtime, affection and alone time.
They’re trying to get your attention
Cats are highly social animals that enjoy our company, so they’re usually pretty good at figuring out how to get our attention. They do this in a variety of ways, including meowing or following you around the house, staring into your eyes, pawing at your leg or arms, knocking objects off furniture, sticking their face into yours and even biting you.
Getting sleep is important for healthy brain function, which translates to emotional stability and overall wellbeing. It also helps us remember things better and erases information that clutters our nervous system.
Some cats have rudimentary memory of your behavior, so they know when you’re asleep or not. This can lead them to stare at you while you sleep, which can be a little annoying. If you notice your cat doing this, try to figure out what’s going on and ask for help from your vet. It could be a sign that your cat is having cognitive issues.