My cat sleeps constantly, when should I worry about it?

My cat sleeps constantly, when should I worry about it?

Cats are enigmatic creatures, known for their independent nature and, of course, their love for sleep. It's not uncommon to find your feline friend curled up in a sunny spot, dozing off for most of the day. But how much sleep is too much? When should a cat owner start to worry about their pet's sleeping habits? Let's unravel the mystery of feline slumber and understand when it might be a cause for concern.

Why Cats Sleep So Much

Firstly, it's important to understand why cats sleep as much as they do. On average, cats sleep for about 12 to 16 hours a day, with some older cats sleeping even more. This propensity for sleep is rooted in their evolutionary history. In the wild, cats are predators; hunting requires short bursts of intense energy, followed by periods of rest to conserve energy. Even though domestic cats aren't hunting in the wild, they still retain this instinctual pattern of sleep.

Normal Sleeping Behaviors in Cats

  1. Age Factor: Kittens and older cats tend to sleep more than adult cats. Kittens expend energy in play and growth, needing more sleep for development. Senior cats slow down as they age and may require more rest.
  2. Time of Day: Cats are crepuscular, meaning they are most active during the early morning and evening hours. It's common for them to sleep during the day and be more active at dawn and dusk.
  3. Sleeping Positions: Cats often sleep in various positions - curled up, stretched out, or even on their back. These positions are usually a sign of comfort and security.

When to Worry About Your Cat’s Sleep

However, there are certain signs that could indicate a problem:

  1. Changes in Sleep Patterns: A sudden increase or decrease in sleep, especially if accompanied by other changes in behavior, might be a red flag. If your normally active cat is now sleeping excessively without periods of wakefulness, it's worth investigating.
  2. Lethargy: There's a difference between a cat that is sleeping and one that is lethargic. Lethargy can be a sign of illness, characterized by a general lack of energy and unresponsiveness.
  3. Other Symptoms: Look out for other symptoms like changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, vocalization, or changes in grooming habits. These, combined with altered sleeping patterns, warrant a vet visit.
  4. Unusual Sleeping Spots: If your cat suddenly starts sleeping in unusual spots, especially cooler places like tile floors, it could be a sign of fever or pain.

Possible Health Concerns

Several health issues can affect a cat's sleeping patterns:

  • Diabetes and Hyperthyroidism: Both can cause increased lethargy.
  • Arthritis: In older cats, arthritis pain can lead to increased sleep.
  • Heart Disease: This can lead to decreased activity and more sleep.
  • Depression or Anxiety: Yes, cats can suffer from mental health issues too, leading to changes in sleep.

Tips for Monitoring Your Cat's Sleep

  1. Keep a Sleep Diary: Track your cat’s sleep patterns, noting any changes in duration or behavior.
  2. Observe Other Behaviors: Monitor their eating, drinking, and toilet habits.
  3. Regular Vet Checkups: Ensure your cat has regular health checks, especially as they age.


In conclusion, while it's typical for cats to spend a significant portion of their day sleeping, drastic changes in their sleep patterns or behavior should not be ignored. Always err on the side of caution and consult with your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual. Remember, you know your furry companion better than anyone else. Trust your instincts if you feel something might be off with their health or well-being.

Understanding and monitoring your cat's sleep habits is not just about ensuring their health; it's about deepening the bond you share with your beloved pet. Here's to many more peaceful catnaps and purrs!