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Cat Owner's Guide

 
 

Sleep

 

Steady Sleeper

Felines spend an average of 16 hours per day in slumberland.
 

Cats are the undisputed sleep champions of the animal kingdom. Only the notoriously slow-footed sloth, which sleeps away an estimated 80 percent of its life, catches more shut-eye. Although the number of hours a cat spends sleeping can vary considerably among individuals, felines spend an average of 16 hours per day in slumberland.

No one is quite sure why, but the solitary cat's lifestyle, punctuated by frenetic, energy-draining bursts of hunting and playing, is thought to necessitate this form of energy conservation. In fact, sleeping wildcats are often described as "resting for the hunt." Because they consume so much energy in taking down large, wily prey, wildcats usually sleep even more than domestic cats. Female lions, the primary hunters of the species, have been known to rest or sleep as much as 20 hours a day.

The cat's diet is also thought to be a contributing factor to its ability to sleep so much. Large grazing herbivores need to feed for hours on end to get enough nutrition to survive and generally only have time to sleep four or five hours a day. The protein-rich diet of the feline, on the other hand, requires no such investment of time for daily sustenance. Instead of eating all day, the cat can stock up on sleep for its short, high-energy chases.

 
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