You are here: Home » Cat's Behavior » Do Cats Sleep More in Winter? Mystery Solved

Do Cats Sleep More in Winter? Mystery Solved

Cats sleep many hours a day. Most sleep between 12 and 16 hours from nap to nap. However, some furry cats tend to sleep more during winter, up to 20 hours daily. Many cat parents are worried because they don’t know why the sudden and very notorious change. Is it simply that the cat has become lazier, or maybe something is wrong? Do cats sleep more in winter? Some people even think their cat develops depression due to the cold and cloudy days, just as it can happen to us.

If you are interested in knowing if it is normal for a cat to sleep more during the winter or a cold season, I invite you to read on, and you will find exciting facts that will help you better understand your kitty.

why do cats sleep more in winter

Why do cats sleep more in winter?

Don’t worry if your cat sleeps more hours during the winter, it’s completely normal, and here I will explain why. Experts point out that cats’ nervous and endocrine systems are primarily governed by two body cycles or rhythms, known as circadian and circannual rhythms, and these two cycles have a lot to do with your cat’s winter sleep habits.

The circadian cycle, present in all animals, is a natural and internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is repeated approximately every 24 hours. Light levels heavily influence this biological cycle, as the body is already primed to sleep when it is dark. It is believed that during the winter, the cat’s organism might lead it to sleep longer hours because the days tend to be shorter.

Honestly, we (humans) do the same thing. A cloudy day is a perfect excuse to crawl into bed earlier and watch TV or read a good book under the covers, not to mention mornings, because who wants to get out of bed on a cloudy, cold morning?

The circadian cycle is a biological process that occurs over one year and allows all mammals to regulate their bodily functions naturally. The most remarkable example of a circadian cycle is hibernation, during which the animal proceeds to sleep, subsisting on the caloric energy it accumulated earlier. A cat doesn’t hibernate, but it does experience changes in its habits and biology during the winter, especially a cat that lives outdoors or goes out often, as it has more contact with nature.

Do cats get depressed when it’s cold?

You may be surprised to know that a cat can suffer from depression during the winter or cold seasons because the lack of light affects its organism chemically, this is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it even affects humans.

do cats sleep more in winter - depressed

Also known as seasonal depression, it is a temporary condition caused mainly by the abrupt change in the levels of natural light received by the body and possible alterations in sleep patterns. In cloudy or rainy skies, when the sun has not been out for several days, it is prevalent for cats to be more sedentary than usual, developing changes in their sleeping habits and even acquiring behaviors that are detrimental to their health, such as excessive grooming or anxiety.

Other changes that may indicate that your cat is depressed are a lack of appetite and a change in their vocalization levels, hopefully disappearing as soon as the sun comes out the window.

My cat went through a period of seasonal depression last winter. She scratched her ear so much that she wounded herself, so the vet recommended keeping the curtains wide open and placing her bed right where at least one tiny ray of sunlight would enter. Another way to help my cat was to set up a padded bed, with several warm blankets strategically placed near the heater so that the cold wouldn’t affect her even more.

How to care for your cat during the winter?

Cats love anything warm and cozy, so some may have a hard time during the winter, especially if they live where it rains and snows. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help your cat stay warm and free of seasonal depression. It’s all a matter of preparing and watching for signs.

  • Regulate the temperature in your house. If you have heaters, don’t forget that even if you are not at home, your cat spends most, if not all, of its time there and also gets cold. 
  • Make sure your cat has comfortable beds with enough blankets. Place the bed on something if possible so it doesn’t get cold directly from the floor. A mat works very well. You can also let your cat sleep between your legs at night.
  • Take your cat for a walk. When cats have more contact with nature and weather changes, their organism knows how to process them better.
  • Play with your cat and help him to stay active. This will prevent him from getting bored and stressed, and will also prevent him from gaining weight, something widespread in domestic cats.
  • Natural light is essential, so create a space for your cat to receive the sun’s rays while sleeping or resting. A bed next to the window or a comfy perch is ideal.
do cats sleep more in winter - tips

Do cats sleep more in winter? The bottom line

There you have it. Cats can indeed sleep more in the winter than during other seasons. This is due to the cold weather, shorter days, and lack of natural light, all of which make them sleepy. In addition to sleeping more in winter, cats may also be prone to mood changes and depression when exposed to long periods without sunlight or activity.

To ensure your cat stays healthy and happy during the winter months, ensure they have access to a warm bed and plenty of natural sun rays when possible. Additionally, try playing with them regularly and provide an array of interactive toys that will keep them entertained throughout the day. With these simple tips, you can rest assured that your feline friend will remain healthy even when temperatures drop!

Leave a Comment