The cat must use short but intense energy to hunt, and then once he captures his prey he gets to feast on it. After the meal, the cat grooms himself to remove traces of the prey. This is part of how a cat is hardwired for protection. Removing traces of his freshly killed prey helps prevent other prey in the area from detecting the presence of a predator. Cats are also prey animals so the grooming helps avoid alerting other predators in the area. Once all the grooming is done, the cat is ready for sleep. If you time your last play session for just before bedtime, you stand a much better chance of having your cat sleep through the night.
If your cat continues to keep you up at night, set out food-dispensing toys at bedtime. If your cat wakes you up in the wee hours of the morning, consider using a timed food bowl. Don’t make the mistake of getting up to feed your cat just to quiet him when he wakes you too early. If you do that you’ll be rewarding the unwanted behavior.
Do Cats Dream?
Cats experience REM sleep (rapid eye movement) the way humans do and that’s the phase in which dreaming occurs. You may notice your cat’s whiskers or paws twitching during this phase. What do cats dream about? The cats aren’t telling but my guess is mice and birds play a prominent role in their dreams.
Changes in Sleep Patterns
While cats do sleep much of the day away, if you notice a change in your cat’s sleep pattern, be sure and talk to your veterinarian. If your cat is engaging in an excessive amount of sleep or isn’t sleeping as much as normal there could be an underlying medical problem. Hyperthyroidism, for example, causes a release of too much thyroid hormone and that speeds up the metabolism so the cat may not sleep as much as normal. Older cats with declining senses or ones with age-related cognitive issues may sleep more soundly and for longer periods. Cats with hearing loss may startle easily while sleeping so be mindful of how you wake them.
Need More Information?
For more information on cat behavior and training, refer to the best-selling books by Pam Johnson-Bennett.
If you have a question about your cat’s behavior, you can find information in the articles on our website as well as in Pam’s books. If you have a question regarding your cat’s health, please contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a replacement for your cat’s veterinary care.