Do Cats Experience Deep Sleep? Here’s What We Know

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Fact checked by  Jackie Brown
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A peaceful image of a cat sleeping soundly, exemplifying the serene and relaxed state of a resting feline.

Do you worry about whether your feline family member is getting enough sleep? Or perhaps they seem to spend all their time sprawled out on the couch snoozing and you’re wondering if they are sleeping too much?

Key Takeaways

Like humans, cats experience varied sleep cycles, including light, rapid eye movement, and deep sleep phases.

Since cats are more active at dawn and dusk, they often catch up on their sleep during the day with light catnaps.

Cats only allow themselves to relax and sleep deeply when they feel safe, for instance when they are cuddled up next to you.

Your cat should get the right amount of sleep, but chances are you have nothing to worry about. Cat sleeping habits and sleep patterns might seem a bit odd to us pet owners, but that’s because there are some major differences between human and cat sleep schedules.

When Do Cats Sleep?

A serene picture of a cat peacefully asleep, demonstrating the tranquility of a sleeping feline.

Cats are naturally more awake at dawn and dusk, and catch up on sleep during the day.

Cats often spend most of the daytime sleeping, so it might feel like your cat is a bit of a lazybones. However, remember that cat sleep patterns are just different from ours. Cats are much more active than us in the night-time and early morning, while we’re fast asleep.

Cats are crepuscular, which means their most active times of day are dawn and dusk. Just like we might want to sleep on a weekend after a late night, cats will catch up on their sleep during the day.

Also Read: 11 Tips To Train Your Cat To Sleep All Night

Sleep Depth in Cats

A cat comfortably sleeping under a wooden chair, enjoying a cozy and sheltered spot for rest.

Cats have different stages of sleep, including deep and light sleep.

Cat sleep is similar to humans, in they have a sleep cycle that can vary between light, rapid eye movement, and deep sleep phases. During light sleep, cats will be easily roused and half-aware. During deeper sleep they might dream and take longer to wake up.

Also Read: Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

Do Cats Sleep Deeply?

A picture of a cat sleeping peacefully, capturing the essence of a content and relaxed feline nap.

During light sleep, cats often move their ears and might open an eye now and then.

Cats spend a lot of their time dozing. During this time, they’ll be resting but only experiencing light sleep. During light sleep, you might notice your cat’s ears twitching in response to noises, and they might have one eye open every so often. You might also notice them purring, delicately kneading with their paws, or extending their legs out toward you.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Head?

Why Cats Avoid Deep Sleep

A Devon Rex cat breed peacefully sleeping, showcasing its unique appearance and charming sleeping pose.

Cats often sleep lightly so they can quickly rouse themselves in times of danger.

It’s a cat’s natural instinct to remain alert and aware of any threats or predators ready to pounce. This means that unless they feel completely safe in their environment, your cat is unlikely to allow themselves to fall into a deep sleep.

By dozing, your cat can protect themselves and their territory and react quickly with a fight or flight response if there is any danger.

Also Read: Should My Cat Sleep With Me At Night?

How Can You Tell if Your Cat Is Sleeping Deeply?

A cat curled up and sleeping inside a shoe, displaying a quirky and cozy resting spot chosen by the feline.

If your cat is enjoying a rare few minutes of deep sleep, there are a few ways that you can tell. Firstly, they will stop purring and go completely quiet (apart from the occasional snore!). Their breathing will slow down so that their body hardly moves with each breath.

Their eyes will completely close, and they won’t be easily disturbed by noise or movement nearby. If they are in REM sleep, they might twitch their nose, ears, or paws, or paddle their legs a little as if having a dream.

Also Read: Do Cats Dream? Science Has the Answer

Cats Sleep Deeply When They Feel Safe

A cat peacefully sleeping while perched in a tree, illustrating a classic feline behavior of finding high vantage points for rest.

If your cat sleeps deeply in your presence its because they feel safe and protected.

Cats only allow themselves to relax and sleep deeply when they feel safe. If they feel threatened in any way, they’ll keep half an eye on the world around them, just in case. So, if your cat sleeps deeply while cuddling with you, it probably means that they trust you to keep them safe. It’s quite a compliment, as it means that they see you as their protector.

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Lay And Sleep Between My Legs?

Final Thoughts

A cat snugly nestled and sleeping within a blanket, showcasing the coziness and comfort of a feline's chosen resting place.

Cats don’t share the same sleep habits as humans, and they tend to spend their time having little cat naps rather than any lengthy periods of sleep. This means that they can rest and conserve their energy while keeping watch for predators and other threats. So, next time you see your cat dozing all day, remember that they’re not as lazy as you might think!

Also Read: Why Do Cats Purr When They Sleep? A Vet Explains

Frequently Asked Questions

Do cats experience deep sleep?

Most of the time when cats are sleeping they remain in light sleep so that they can quickly respond to threats and protect themselves at a moment’s notice. However, they do reach deep sleep for short periods if they feel safe in their environment.

On the other hand, older cats and kittens tend to need much more sleep, so it’s quite common for them to sleep more deeply and for longer.

Does your cat sleep with you at night? Here's why they should:

If your cat sleeps with you at night, they might be protecting you or watching over you while you sleep. Equally, they might choose a spot near you for a deep sleep, because they trust you to protect them.

Do cats sleep deeper than humans?

Cats don't sleep in long bursts overnight as humans do, and they spend more time dozing or having cat naps of lighter sleep. However, like humans, they do experience deep sleep sometimes.

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About Dr. Hannah Godfrey BVETMED MRCVS

Hannah graduated from the Royal Veterinary College, UK in 2011 and began work straight away at a busy mixed practice. Initially, she treated all species, but as the small animal hospital became busier, she focussed on small animals. Hannah is an expert on cat behavior and nutrition.

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