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Why do cats like to sleep?

Cats spend a lot of time sleepy. In fact, cats sleep about 13-16 hours a day. In other words, your feline friend spends 2/3 of his life in a dream world.

Sleep plays a big part in a cat’s life. And cats sleep a lot: small kittens sleep 90% of the time, while adult cats sleep sometimes 14-16 hours a day. Urban cats, who live in large houses and have no free space, spend especially much of their time sleeping.

A cat’s periods of wakefulness alternate with periods of sleep several times a day. Cats can be said to fall asleep at every opportunity. Cat owners should be aware that it is very difficult to keep a cat awake for more than 8 hours. If for some reason a cat is not able to take a nap in a secluded area, it suffers greatly.

A cat has a strange ritual to prepare for sleep: it stretches out its whole body, relaxing all its muscles, before assuming the posture required for sleep. Cats fall asleep quickly, but their long periods of sleep are very unusual and interesting.

Sleep phases

Scientists have discovered some very interesting facts by looking at the brain activity of cats during wakefulness and sleep. It turns out that a cat’s sleep is a very active part of its life, consisting of two completely different parts, as different from each other as from full wakefulness.

The first phase of a cat’s sleep is a shallow sleep, most like a nap, which can last between 20 and 30 minutes. In this state, the cat’s muscles do not fully relax, but the pulse and breathing become slower compared to wakefulness. The cat receives signals from the environment and is ready to wake up at any moment. Cats snooze either lying on their side curled up in a ball or lying on their stomachs with their paws tucked under them and their head

After 20-30 minutes of shallow snweaving, the cat falls into a completely different state – the second phase of sleep. It is characterised by the cat’s body being completely relaxed, lying on its side with its paws and tail stretched out and freely extended, but the rest of the body and the organism are in a state as if it were in hibernation.

Behind closed eyelids, the cat’s eyes move quickly, as if it is following something. This is why the second stage is called the rapid eye movement stage. A cat that is fast asleep may twitch its eyelids, whiskers, tail and paws, and may purr or meow. Most surprisingly, however, the irregular breathing, jumping blood pressure and pulse are more reminiscent of wakefulness than the first phase of sleep.

The second phase of sleep lasts 7-10 minutes and wakes you up 300 minutes slower than the first. Whether cats have dreams in this 7-10 minute phase is difficult to answer. The cat’s dream centre in the brain has not yet been discovered, but there is no evidence to suggest that dreaming is a human privilege.

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