Cats don’t sleep anymore than us. “Cats sleep their life away” – this is a complete myth peddled by millions of websites that are proliferating as fast as fruit flies ;). Cats may sleep less than us. They may need more sleep!
Yes, cats lie down, curl up and close their eyes, but they ain’t sleeping. A cat will go from “sleep mode” to fully “alert mode” faster than your high tech computer and be ready for action immediately thereafter; and it doesn’t take much to activate the alert mode. If I am asleep it would take a bomb to get me to do that.
What I am stating is that cats don’t sleep for 16 hours a day. They rest and within that extended rest period there are periods of genuine sleep. During this times a cat will snore, make gurgling sounds, twitch and show rapid eye movement indicating real sleep.
What I am stating is supported by the recent research on the purpose of sleep. Scientists believe that sleep is a time when toxins are removed from the brain. The brain cells shrink allowing the cerebral spinal fluid to flush out the toxic proteins.
It is also believed that these toxic proteins cause dementia. If this is true the flushing out process is not 100% effective. There is a gradual build up. Sleep deprivation leads to death ultimately.
The prevalence of dementia in cats and humans is similar. That is a massive statement and it is unsupported by statistics because we don’t have reliable statistics on dementia in cats. We have statistics for dementia in people. I can’t make a comparison.
However, my gut feeling based on general reading is that dementia in cats is at least as prevalent as it is for humans.
On the basis that I am correct, the cat and the human have similar amounts of brain flush-out time! Therefore they sleep for similar lengths of time.
In fact, cats may sleep less than humans. Cats are designed to hunt at dusk, dawn and at night and sleep more during the day. This is out of sync with the human lifestyle, which probably means the cat will be disturbed during the day when trying to get some genuine sleep.
Perhaps dementia in cats is higher than for people. One website (http://veterinary.answers.com) states that half of all domestic cats aged 15 have dementia and 28% of cats between 11-14 show signs of senility. Aged 15 for cat equates to aged 77 for people. If that statistic is correct dementia is far worse in cats than humans (the Alzheimer’s Society states that 800,000 people have dementia in Britain – pop: 63.23m).
Drawing on the research referred to above, the indicators are that cats are not getting enough sleep! They have to sleep more.