Why Does My Cat Sleep So Much? 6 Reasons That May Surprise You

Many people, especially those that don’t own a cat, do not even realize how much a cat actually sleeps, and many think a cat is lazy, because they often see them sleeping throughout the day. Having said that, a cat actually sleeps around 16 hours per day, some require more, up to 20 hours per day, while others may require less. Observing these endless hours of sleep is the reason why owners ask themselves the question ‘Why does my cat sleep so much?’ It’s certainly not because they are lazy, in fact, there are some very good reasons why cats sleep so long. Let us take a deeper look into the lives of cats, and why they sleep so many hours in a day, this way we will understand more about a cat’s sleep and how important it really is.

Why Does My Cat Sleep So Much – Typical Reasons

 1. Mostly Snoozing Rather Than Sleeping

Although the majority of the day is seemingly spent sleeping, our cat is more than likely just snoozing most of the time, not fully asleep, but resting with enough alertness to wake up at a moments notice. You may have noticed a cat seems to be asleep, yet has his eyes fractionally open, or his ears are still twitching listening for sounds, a bit like the saying “sleeping with one eye open”, you may have noticed some cats even seem to be asleep while sitting. However, they do fall into deep sleep too, that’s when you notice that both eyes are shut tight, or they may have their tail over their face, and some may even snore, yet both types of sleep, dozing and deep sleep is essential to the cat.

why does my cat sleep so much

2. It’s A Gene Thing

  • The fact is, that all cats are predatory, meaning they hunt prey, and when they hunt, they expel lots of energy, which they need to replace, and sleeping allows them to gather enough energy for the next hunt. When hunting, a cat will stalk, chase and kill its prey, which in turn, burns a lot of energy, sleeping helps to conserve energy between meals. Wild cats like lions, or tigers are the same, and just because you feed your cat so he doesn’t have to hunt, his instincts for hunting and conserving energy is still in his genes.
  • Cats are what is known as Crepuscular, meaning they are most active during twilight hours, that is the hours just before sunset, and the hours just after sunrise. The main reason behind this, is because it is thought that this is the best time to hunt, and the time where they are likely to find their prey, it could also be due to the fact that a cats eyesight is probably at its best at these times. Conserving energy may not always be the reason your cat spends much of his time sleeping though, there are several reasons why he may not be as active as you would expect him to be.

why does my cat sleep so much

3. Age Can Play A Role

  • Although most cats will snooze, nap, or sleep the majority of the day, age can play a role in the hours a cat sleeps too. An older cat, over 7 years of age would be in his senior years and tends to slow down, so requires more nap time. Also, in older cats you may have joint problems, or arthritis start setting in impairing his mobility, making him more prone to sleeping longer periods. Having said that, if your cat does have arthritis you should ask your vet about any medications that can relieve his discomfort.
  • Looking at the other end of the scale, newborn kittens need extra sleep too, because they are developing, so will sleep most of the day, at least for the first few weeks. They develop and grow during sleep time, so are more prone to sleep longer hours than their mother for instance, and sometimes you have to be quick yourself to see them during playtime that doesn’t seem to last long enough before they are back to napping, sometimes in unusual places as you can see from the picture of my son’s kitten Lily

why does my cat sleep so much

As well as age and hunting, there are a few other reasons our cats may be sleeping longer than usual and we will look into those reasons next.

4. Boredom Results In More Sleep And Nap Time

When your cat is bored, he will tend to nap or sleep more, especially if he is left alone for long hours during the day. Moreover, a bored cat will sleep much more than an active cat, which is why you should allow him to entertain himself when left alone with some interactive toys, and maybe a climbing tree for exercise. Another cat can alleviate any boredom, or alternatively you could get him a battery operated toy that moves on its own, like a mouse or other imitation animal, which also allows him to hone those hunting skills.

cat is bored

5. Illness Can Play A Role In Our Cats Sleep Pattern

If your cat seems to be sleeping even more than usual, pay attention to him when he is awake, he should be running around, and playing with toys and generally having fun. If he is tired, and lethargic even when awake, this could be a time for a visit to the vet as some illnesses can be spotted this way initially. Hyperthyroidism, and anemia can cause your cat to become lethargic and sleep more than is necessary, and it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution.

6. Obesity Can Lead To A Lazy Cat That Sleeps

Having a cat that is overweight can be seriously disruptive to his energy levels, especially when compared to an active cat that is of the correct weight. An obese cat means those extra pounds in weight really slows him down, leading to even more obesity, which can eventually lead to many health problems arising. If you have an obese, or overweight cat then speak with your vet to discuss putting him on a special diet, so he can lose the excess weight gradually in a safe way over time.

why does my cat sleep so much


Many cats sleep for very long hours, two thirds of the day to be more precise, but many cats can also fall into the schedule their owners have. Be sure to keep your cat active when he is awake with toys that he can play, and interact with and make sure he has something to climb, as well as a good scratching post. Moreover, keeping to the specific food measurements will ensure your cat doesn’t become obese, and stays healthier for longer. Having said that, now that you know some of the reasons your cat may be sleeping all the time, you can now rest easy knowing that it actually may be for their own overall health and growing needs


Author: James Kelly

James Kelly is a network marketer and blogger who earns a living from affiliate programs and blogs

16 thoughts on “Why Does My Cat Sleep So Much? 6 Reasons That May Surprise You”

  1. Very informative! Having inherited a cat upon moving in with my fiancee, I often wondered why the cat’s schedule was the way it was. Now I have some insight into their world and a point of reference for future knowledge. Thank you!

  2. Nice article James. Our family’s cat passed away about 5 years ago now but after reading this article it now makes sense why she slept so much. We had a kitty door so she was free to come and go as she pleased often times bring in lizards or birds that she happened to catch. It must have been all of that hunting that kept her so tired!

  3. Great article for cat lovers, Jim!
    I wonder how this varies for, say, a cat that has just had kittens. Would it tend to be awake and alert more of the time because of that? What brought me to that question was wondering what kind of sleep cycle humans might fall into if we didn’t have jobs, kids & responsibilities to keep us engaged. Interesting thought.
    I’m in a family full of cat lovers and will happily let them know about your site.
    Keep up the great work

    1. Thanks for that feedback Kevin. I guess a mother cat has too much time on her plate dealing with the uprearing of her kittens to get much time for sleeping. No different in that regard with the human species of mothers and their babies with the mothers not getting much time for sleep! It is also probably true to say that unemployed people, low on self esteem and motivation and totally bored spend more time sleeping than their working counterparts.

  4. I have 3 of those devil cats, and they all seem to have different schedules. Two of them are what you define as senior cats, and they spend most of their time outside sleeping. My other one is that one that sleeps until about 3:30 in the afternoon and then comes out yawning ready to eat. She is a fat cat, but she likes to race around and slide on the kitchen floor. Good article!

    1. Thanks for those comments Kathy. Those ‘Devil’ cats are certainly wide awake when it comes to feed times. My Oscar is at my bedroom door at 7 each morning yowling for his food. He is also overweight and doesn’t like the fact that we have cut out his lunch in an attempt to get him more trim.

  5. Very interesting post. I remember that when I had a cat she would sleep for what seemed like the entire day, but I suppose it was really snoozing because she would get up at a moments notice like she hadn’t been asleep at all. I now have an italian greyhound and she sleeps just as much! I don’t know that she was ever predatory, but perhaps some of her sleeping is the same as for cats. Thanks for the post!

    1. You are welcome Pete and thanks for those comments. Yes you may think your cat is asleep but for the most part they are just snoozing and with their heightened sense of hearing they are still very alert to what is going on around them!


  6. Hi James Kelly

    Very thorough overview! Now I know! My questions are; When do they start to be like this? Is it at a particular age? and what breed or blood line are those? Thanks in advance!


  7. Good article, I enjoyed reading it. We have a cat here who’s about 12 now and he’s still quite active for his age. I do see what you said about going out just before sunset, and the hours just after sunrise, this is when Rolo, our cat is out and about. He does also play by himself in the house and control the dogs here by sitting in the way and refusing to allow them to pass!

    Cats and dogs are so amusing 🙂

  8. I can definitely agree about how long cats sleep for. Schedule for Dyson is usually a walk about at 6am, then snooze in her cat tree whilst watching birds/sun come up until 8.30. A bit of running about for an hour, then sleep and snooze until dinner time. Then more running about until 12pm. Now that I have a new kitten as well these times are slightly different but the kitten will have a power play for about 90minutes or so and then be zonked out for the rest of the day. She is only really wide awake for about 5 hours of the day and those times are some very fast play and eating. It does surprise a number of people though when they see how much a cat does sleep – they often think something is wrong with their cat whereas this is very natural (even big cats in the wild will sleep for many hours of the day)

    1. Some great comments Evie and thank you very much for them. Yes Lily, my son’s kitten, also used to get into lengthy power plays and then draped herself over the top of her scratch post/cat tree for naps for hours on end!


  9. Hey James, definitely an eye-opening post, because I always thought cats were just lazy creatures and I think 95% of people do as well, haha. I do agree with you about the snoozing though, sometimes I think cats are sleeping yet they open their eyes quickly to a slight movement or noise.

    Don’t you wish you could be a cat and snooze 16-20 hours a day just like a cat, not pay and bills or worry about daily activities, have free food and live life on YOUR terms. Lol

    Great job on the article, I learned a lot.


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