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Sleeping Purry

Dear Pet Column, I am a new cat parent and am amazed by how much cats sleep. I wish I had the ability to fall asleep anywhere and anytime - like in the laundry bin, the closet, or on top of my dog. My cat otherwise seems healthy and happy but how do I know if he is sleeping too much?

Let me being my response by stating that being awake is over rated. The finely tuned skill of sleeping that we cats have proudly mastered is a result of our evolution, nutritional habits and physiology. In the wild, cats have to hunt in order to eat, and the stalking, chasing and killing of prey burns a lot of energy. Sleeping helps cats conserve energy between meals. Thus, it is a survival mechanism.

I know, most domestic cats no longer have to hunt down their dinners but before you judge us as just being opportunistic lazy beings keep in mind that, of the time cats spend sleeping, about three quarters of it is what you might call snoozing. In this state, cats can get all the rest we need, but are still alert enough to awaken at a moment’s notice.

You can tell when a cat is in light sleep because our ears will twitch and rotate toward noises and our eyes will be open a tiny bit. Even when sitting upright, cats can slip into this sleep state. I call it my Doze Mode.

So only the remaining quarter of cats’ sleeping hours is spent in deep sleep (older cats might spend as much as 30 percent or 40 percent of the time at that level). Cats in deep sleep are usually curled up with their eyes tightly closed. Sometimes, they might even have their tail over their face, like a fluffy sleep mask. Deep sleep is critical for the body’s ability to regenerate itself and stay healthy. It’s also the time when your . If you’ve seen your cat’s whiskers or paws twitching while she’s asleep, there’s a good chance he’s dreaming.

It is normal for cats to sleep as much as 16 hours a day, and older cats spend even more time at rest, as much as 20 hours a day. If your cat starts sleeping a lot more or a lot less than usual, contact your veterinarian. Excessive sleep could be a sign of illness or pain, while frequent wakefulness can indicate a problem such as hyperthyroidism.

Otherwise, my recommendation would just be that you learn by example and curl up in the closet or laundry bin for a little afternoon snooze with your cat…

My name is Bella and I am an altitude napper, as in I like napping in high places. I am about six years young and although shy and timid at first I do love me some cuddle time with people too. I get along well with other cats, despite my independent nature, and my favorite hobbies include finding new napping perches, practicing personal hygiene, and hopscotch. I am seeking a forever home that understands the importance of cuddle time.

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops service San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 970-626-2273 to report a lost pet or to learn about adopting a homeless pet and the SCHS spay/neuter, volunteer, feral cat or other programs. View our shelter pets and services at

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