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Do cats dream? What do cats dream about?

If we were to survey all the cat parents in the world, they would probably all agree that one of their cats’ favorite activities is undoubtedly sleeping and sleeping many hours. And even though these felines seem to be very active animals, the reality is that they sleep more than half of the day, sometimes up to 16 or 18 hours! If we compare the amount of time the average person sleeps and the amount of time the average cat sleeps (with up to 10 hours difference), I’m sure we all have many questions, for example, why do cats sleep so much? Do cats dream? And if they do, what do they dream about? If you have the same doubts, let’s solve the enigma!

Why do cats sleep that much?

There is a very logical explanation behind this, and let me start by saying that it isn’t that your cat is lazy. On the contrary, its nature is very wise. Domestic cats, like all felines in the world, are natural-born hunters. That is, evolutionarily, they are designed to hunt their food, whether it is necessary or not.

do cats dream - why do cats sleep that much

Hunting requires an enormous amount of energy because they have to be strong, agile, and fast, and they also have to wait and focus on the prey. Felines sleep a lot to get and conserve energy for the time to hunt.

Of course, your cat eats tasty kibbles and canned food and gets it without any effort, she even has a specific schedule to approach her plate and eat until she is satisfied, but still, her instinct dictates that she must hunt, even if it is a fly or a stuffed mouse. For this reason, cats sleep up to 18 hours in total. They spend almost the whole day between quick naps and sleeping between your legs all night.

Tip: In nature, a cat sleeps and hunts, i.e., rests and burns energy and calories when awake. Domestic cats tend to sleep and get food without any physical effort, which results in obese cats due to lack of exercise. So now you know, if your cat is awake, don’t miss the opportunity to play with her to avoid those extra unhealthy pounds.

Does my cat dream?

As you can imagine, there are no studies that prove one hundred percent that cats dream. However, based on studies conducted on the behavior of their sleep patterns, researchers have concluded that cats do dream. Specifically, they do so when they are in the REM sleep phase.

Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep occurs between the first 60 and 90 minutes. Although it is not the deepest stage of sleep, it is when the brain becomes energized and begins to dream, and since sleep cycles repeat several times, the REM stage can occur several times. At this stage, you may notice that your cat moves its eyes quickly under the eyelids, breathing faster and deeper while moving its paws or tail and even moving its mouth as if it were meowing or eating.

What do cats dream about?

I would love to tell you that your cat dreams of playing with you or taking long walks and spending a wonderful day by your side, but this would not be entirely true. Although, like the previous question, the answer is partially validated, experts agree that cats mostly dream about their favorite sport, hunting.

what do cats dream about

Now, how do the researchers know this? Observing the cat’s movements while it sleeps makes it possible to interpret the action it performs in the dream, for example, running, growling, and hissing. Even cats move their heads as if following their prey with their eyes.

But don’t feel bad. It’s also very likely that you will appear in your kitty’s dream sometimes, although maybe not in the way you expect. Like us, cats also dream about their daily lives, so your cat may dream that you give her an endless bowl of kibble, or that you cooked a massive piece of salmon just for her, or maybe she dreams that she is having fun while teasing you. After all, cats think they are our masters, and we are only their faithful servants.

Do cats have nightmares?

That’s a great question, and unfortunately, the answer is yes, cats can dream and have nightmares.

Cats get scared and stressed very quickly, so it’s not hard for your cat to have an unpleasant dream. Maybe he’s reliving a stressful episode from that day, or perhaps something went wrong in his imaginary hunt, and he suddenly becomes helpless prey. It’s easy to tell when a cat dreams something terrifying because you can see him twitching or breathing uneasily. There are even cats that cry and whimper.

The golden rule is no matter how bad your cat’s nightmare seems, never approach him to comfort or wake him up because you will only scare him more, and in defense, he may attack you with his claws and teeth.

do cats dream - nightmares

Do cats dream? The bottom line

There is a fascinating explanation behind so many hours of sleep. Your cat is not as lazy as you thought. Your cat is just resting to be full of energy to hunt or play for hours. Another interesting fact is that by dreaming, they are exercising their mind since, through sleep, cats can organize and better understand the experiences lived each day. That’s why cats can remember!

But don’t worry, they don’t store information like the day you stepped on their tail, but valuable information like in which drawer you keep their precious snacks. Have you ever noticed your cat dreaming or having a nightmare? Tell us about it in the comments!

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