Have you ever watched a documentary on big cats? Have you noticed how much like our pet felines they really are? They play, hunt, chase, pounce and eat just like our pets do. Some big cats even purr. But did you know that their sleep and rest patterns should be similar too? It’s true. All cats need ample rest to make up for the energy spent during the hunt. Whether it’s a cheetah hunting real live prey or your sassy tabby chasing a Wiggly Ball, they need to rest after the chase.
But rest doesn’t always mean sleep. While it’s true that cats sleep more than humans, they shouldn’t be sleeping all day. If your cat sleeps more than he’s awake, he’s probably bored.
In a recent study in Applied Animal Behaviour Science, outdoor cats were fitted with cameras to study their behaviors. Contrary to popular thinking, the researchers discovered that active cats don’t sleep all day. In fact, these cats were almost always on alert—even while resting. The study cats watched each other, scanned their domain, and socialized with other cats. But they didn’t really sleep that much.
So what can this tell us about our indoor-only four-legged friends? That’s easy. Cats need stimulation to lead happy, active lives. And it’s easy for us to help them out.
First of all, play with your cat. Start with a simple wand toy or string. Mimic the different types of prey they can find in the wild. Help them to see there’s more to life than catnapping. It may take a little coaxing if your cat isn’t used to regular play sessions, but with a little practice, he’ll be a pro in no time.
At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping our pets safe, healthy, and happy. And a bored, sleepy cat isn’t happy. Active, happy cats will relax more and sleep less.