What percent of cats’ lives do they sleep?

The title is a bit clumsy. It is taken directly from the Internet. To rephrase it the question is what percentage of a cat’s life is occupied sleeping? It is quite an interesting question but in order to answer it you have to define the word “sleep”. The reason why you have to define the word is because there is a distinct difference between sleeping and snoozing and domestic cats snooze a lot of the time.

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My cat sleeping.
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Definition of sleep

Sleep is a condition in which the animal’s consciousness is practically suspended and the nervous system is inactive. The eyes are closed and the postural muscles are relaxed.

What percentage of a cat’s life is occupied sleeping?

So what percentage of a cat’s life is occupied sleeping under that definition? When I watch my cat sleeping I don’t think he is sleeping at all a lot of the time. At the merest hint of a sound his ears swivel behind and he will wake up at the drop of a hat. Although he does of course sleep deeply at times and when he does so it is quite clear. He’ll twitch and perhaps make some sounds indicating that he is dreaming.

Classically, people argue that domestic cats sleep for extended periods up to a maximum of about 20 hours per day. I would argue that this is incorrect. I would suggest that cats sleep in short naps adding up to a similar percentage of time in their lives to that of humans. So if my argument is correct and cats sleep – and I mean genuinely sleep – for around eight hours a day that represents one third of their day which can be scaled up to one third of their life (33% of their life).

Let’s be generous to people who believe that cats sleep much longer than eight hours a day and set the target at about 12 hours per day. This is a compromise between my thoughts and those of the general public. That represents half the day and therefore half a cat’s life. Therefore the answer to the question in the title is that domestic cats sleep for about 33% to 50% of their life.

Just out of interest, the lion pride is an efficient hunting machine and therefore the lion has the most time to sleep and rest. Once again I don’t think you can argue that they sleep the entire time that they rest. But they probably sleep more than the average species of wild cat.

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