Do Cats Dream?
Cats love to sleep and they love to dream.
We all know that cats love to sleep. In fact, they'll sleep up to 16 hours purr day! But, what most cat owners don't realize is just how much cats dream. Actually, there have been scientific studies that prove that cats dream.
In a recent USA Today Article, MIT Scholar Matthew Wilson found that, "As dogs and cats doze, images of past events replay in their minds much the same way humans recall experiences while dreaming. That's because the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in memory, is basically wired the same way in all vertebrates and mammals." Wow, that's kind of trippy. Because of our similar wiring, cats and humans have pretty similar dream world experiences. However, the way we come into these dream cycles are a little bit different.
Cat Dreaming vs. Human Dreaming
Cats sleep about twice as much as humans- an average 16 hours compared to eight- and our sleeping cycles are quite different. As you may already know, humans have 5 stages of sleep, and it's during the fifth stage, aka the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage, that all the dreaming occurs. Cats, on the other hand, have only two stages of sleep: REM and non-REM. During their 16 hours of sleep, cats spend about 30% of their sleep in REM dreaming mode. Within this dream world, cats usually dream about hunting, playing, and eating.
How to Know if Your Cat Is Dreaming
Many people underestimate the brain activity of cats. But if you take a look at your cat while he is sleeping, you will notice a couple tell-tale signs that he is dreaming. Some of the biggest signs include:
- Movement in the legs, toes, and ears. Oftentimes, cats will stretch out their paws as if they are grabbing for something.
- Whisker twitching. During dreams, cats are re-enacting moments in everyday life. Whisker twitching is just a sign that your cat is trying to use his whiskers (as he does during the day) and is having a really intense dream.
- Murmuring, half meows, and cries. Even though these may sound troubling, don't worry. It happens to all cats.
Sometimes, dreams can be so intense that these movements will actually wake your cat out of his sleep!
Sleeping and dreaming are just part of a kitty's nature.
Get Your Cat a Bed
To ensure that a cat is getting the peaceful sleep that leads to peaceful dreams, cat owners should provide him with a comfortable cat bed. These beds come in a wide range of styles and are designed to give the support that all cats need. Most cat beds feature thick, comforting memory foam that molds to a feline's body, ensuring that he is relaxed. In addition to these beds, there are also cozy heated cat beds that can provide even more support. Just remember, a happy cat is a cat with happy dreams!
By: Tim Snyder