Happy World Sleep Day!
Guess what’s going on at my house right now? Nothing. My house is the place of inaction because there are three happily snoozing cats in it. I could nearly see the z’s floating off of them. I’ve always wondered what my cats dream about.
Being hunters by nature, cats tend to be more active around dawn and dusk (crepuscular). They sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day, with some cats sleeping as many as 20 hours a day. Kittens and older cats tend to sleep more than younger cats. Of course, we have the idiom catnap from our feline friend’s ability to snooze for brief periods of time.
Boudicca likes to snooze, birdwatch, and sunbathe on the window seat in my office. The boys like it too.
I have not timed how much my three cats sleep in a given day and night but they sleep a lot and take their sleep seriously. Everyone seems to take at least one nap in the morning and a longer nap in the afternoon, especially the boys have their 1 o’clock zoomies and scamper session. Maybe they schedule pre- and post-naps as well. I know that the boys, at least, are awake for part of the night because I hear them playing. (They often choose to bat around a jingling ball right around the time we’re going to bed.) Boudicca heads to bed the same time we do. Given her age, she does seem to rest more than the boys do but she is also always down for lap time!
Notice the layers. It is a baby pink bed with a pink blanket inside a box. I had purchased this bed for Queen B and put it on the floor for her; she refused to use it. I put it in a box and instantly she claimed it as hers. She becomes upset at me when I take off the blanket it clean it. This is her supurrviser spot in my office.
Each of the cats has a distinct preference for a sleeping spot, although each will change it up or grab an odd choice, like a scratching pad every now and then. Boudicca usually opts for her pink bed in the bedroom, the couch, her box bed in my office (see above photo), or the window seat. The Downton Tabbies have their orange bed (they like to share), the overstuffed chair, the rolling car seat (Aaron outfitted these for video game use), the ottoman, or the cat tree. During the day they sometimes commandeer the bed and snuggle. At least once a day I catch a snuggle in progress. It’s adorable.
Garrus found a meditating/catnap/sunbathing spot on a scratching pad near the sliding glass door.
Generally speaking, the cats don’t sleep in the bed with us for long periods of time. We might bring Boudicca into the bed with us for a snuggle but she usually leaves after a couple of ours. I’ve briefly woken up in the middle of the night to discover that Charlie had surreptitiously crept up onto the bed and curled up behind my knees to sleep. I find it soothing to fall asleep with a purring cat next to me. Boudicca and the boys are polite and don’t bother us by caterwauling at unholy hours of the night. Depending on your cat’s behavior and your individual sleep needs, sleeping with your kitty may or may not help your own sleep hygiene. Additionally, there are a few things to consider about pet safety.
Garrus is quite fond of his blue elephant Pillow Pet.
The Downton Tabbies lounge on the worn car seat. Their new orange bed is shown beneath.
On the other hand, there are many cats that view the night as the prime opportunity for shenanigans: flopping on your head, tearing around the house, getting into ALL the mischief, attacking your feet, yowling, playing with the loudest toys, and starting blood feuds with every pet in the neighborhood. Wild antics can disrupt even a veteran cat owner’s sleep but do not give up hope! Cats, believe it or not, can learn to sleep at night. Adding play sessions during the day can tire your cat out and thereby discourage such lively romps at night. Cats learn so much through play, including manners and boundaries; they also build trust and confidence. Teaching a cat manners (such as bite inhibition) is vital to having a well socialized companion.
Garrus and Charlie like to be high up in the cat tree. When we first put up the cat tree, Charlie spent a lot of time in the cubby; he spends less time in there now.
Sleep hygiene is important for dogs too! Given that dogs are pack animals and very different creatures than cats, their sleep needs vary. Certain breeds can develop sleep disorders, just like humans; brachycephalic airway syndrome and narcolepsy are two examples.
For many years, my family had Miniature Schnauzers as pets, as I’ve mentioned before. As you may or may not know, Schnauzers, like many other types of dogs, have a habit of “nesting” in their beds. This, and the tendency to sleep pressed very close to my parents legs disrupted my parents’ sleep so they trained the dogs to sleep in their own bed. Although it took a bit of work, we were happy with the end result. Since we lived in Minnesota at the time, during the winter the dogs were very insistent in reminding us to turn on a heating pad under the cushions for 20 minutes before bedtime (we turned it off before we went to sleep)! The dogs also liked to snooze on the back of the couch.
Now my parents have Chiquita, a Kooikerhondje, and Chiya, a Tibetan Spaniel. Chiya is not as brachycephalic as, say, a French bulldog, but she does snore a bit when she sleeps. Chiquita twitches while she dreams sometimes.
Chiquita does not believe that guests should sleep alone.
Is it nap time yet?