Do Cats Dream?

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What Do Cats Dream About?

Little cute baby

credit: Team B&K/500px/GettyImages

Have you ever watched your cat twitch in their sleep? If you’ve ever owned a cat, or been in the vicinity of one for more than 30 minutes, you probably have.

Cats sleep approximately 14-16 hours per day, so there is ample opportunity to observe them in this cute of state. If you’ve witnessed this adorable phenomenon, you’ve probably wondered: does all this twitching mean that cats dream?

Yes, they do! Humans aren’t the only animals that dream, after all.

What do cats dream about?

 

Just like humans and all other mammals, cats’ sleep cycle includes Rapid Eye Movement (REM), the state in which dreams occur. Scientists theorize that, also like humans, cats’ dreams consist of activities that occur in their daily life: hunting, playing, and so forth.

In a 1965 study, scientists Michel Jouvet and J F Delorme found that removing a part of the brainstem called the pons from a cat’s brain prevented the cat from becoming paralyzed during REM sleep. Instead of lying still or maybe twitching a little, the cats lacking this part of the brainstem walked around and behaved aggressively during sleep. This was an interesting discovery because it suggested that the cats were dreaming about activities from their waking hours. Like us, it seems that cats dream about what they know.

Maine coon cat sleeping
credit: Elke Karin Lugert/500px/GettyImages

Do cats dream about us?

 

Based on the research above, it seems likely that cats do dream about us, but we don’t have a way to prove this theory definitively. Unfortunately, there is little research into the subject.

Scientists believe that cats dream about the things that happen regularly in their waking lives. Since we humans are a big part of their waking lives, it’s probably safe to assume that we make it into their dreams at least once in a while.

Do cats dream in color?

 

We’re still not totally sure what colors cats can see during waking hours. Some scientists think that cats see only in blue and gray. Other scientists believe that cats can also perceive yellow. In either case, we know that cats cannot perceive color as vibrantly as humans can. That’s because human eyes have about 10 times more cones, the light receptors in our retinas that help us see color, than cats do.

Although there is little research in this area, it’s likely that cats dream in whatever colors they can see in their waking life. In all likelihood, their dreams are not black and white, but instead reflect the muted colors they see every day.

Do cats have nightmares?

 

Since cats probably dream about experiences they’ve had in their waking lives, it’s likely that unpleasant dreams sometimes make their way into our poor kitties’ sleeping brains. We don’t have hard evidence of cat nightmares, but many cat owners report that their cats seem to experience them, sometimes waking up hissing or looking startled.

Should I wake up my cat from a nightmare?

 

It feels counterintuitive, but no, you should not wake your cat up from a nightmare. Dreams — including bad ones — are a natural part of a cat’s sleep cycle.

Just as you shouldn’t wake a dog up from a nightmare, it’s best to let sleeping cats lie. Waking a cat mid-nightmare interrupts the REM stage of their sleep. Cats need to complete their sleep cycle in order to be properly rested (just like us).

It’s hard to just stand by as your cat has a bad dream, but remember that too many interruptions can be seriously detrimental to their sleep. Additionally, consider your own safety in the matter. Waking a cat from a nightmare can be a dangerous proposition, as the cat might still be feeling scared or aggressive!

Conclusion

 

Cats do dream, and it’s very cute. Like all mammals, cats experience Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. It’s during REM sleep that dreams occur.

Although we don’t have definitive proof about what cats see in their dreams, studies suggest that they dream about the activities from their daily lives, like playing with toys or hunting prey. Since humans are a big part of domestic cats’ lives, it’s likely that we make at least an occasional appearance in our cats’ dreams! But don’t ask your cat, she’ll deny it.

What Does It Mean When a Cat Twitches in Its Sleep?

By Melissa Schindler

Your cat looks so sweet curled up in his cozy bed. You can’t help but laugh when you see his little paws and whiskers start to twitch. It’s likely that he’s having an exciting dream, perhaps about chasing after a mouse or his favorite catnip toy. Dreaming is not isolated to humans, and kitty has sweet dreams, too.

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Cats will often twitch during REM sleep.
credit: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Cat Sleep

Cats spend an extraordinary amount of time snoozing. Your cat can clock up to 16 hours of sleep per day. This means your cat is asleep for more than half of his entire life. It’s common for cats to nap, but only fall into a light sleep. As soon as you scratch kitty’s ears or he hears the can opener going, he can jolt awake. However, he can fall into a much deeper sleep, called REM, or rapid eye movement. It’s during this deep slumber that you’ll see kitty moving his paws or twitching his whiskers as if he’s chasing some phantom prey.

REM Sleep

You’re likely familiar with REM sleep in humans. It’s the time when you dream vividly. During REM, brain activity increases and your eyes dart around in all directions beneath closed lids. This type of sleep is found in most mammals and birds, and isn’t unique to humans. Dogs, cats and rats all dream. You’ll go into REM sleep about every 90 minutes, but your cat dreams more than you. A cat will enter REM sleep about every 25 minutes. Since your cat snoozes so much of the day away, he’s doing a lot of dreaming.

Muscle Atonia

During REM sleep, your muscles are temporarily paralyzed, called muscle atonia. This is to keep you from acting our your dreams in your sleep. But anyone who has ever sleepwalked or talked in their sleep knows this isn’t perfect. Sometimes you can lose some muscle atonia during sleep, allowing for movement. It’s likely the same thing is happening to your cat. When his feet twitch or his tail quivers, it’s because his body is acting out his dream.

Concerns

It’s perfectly normal if your cat gets a little twitchy when he’s having a good nap. Sometimes a twitchy cat isn’t because he’s dreaming of hunting down a prized trophy. It could be a sign that your cat is having a small seizure. If his entire body goes completely stiff or he’s acting sick and throwing up, it’s time to visit his vet. If the twitching is small and only occurs while your cat is sleeping, it’s likely he’s just having a thrilling dream.

Your cat looks so sweet curled up in his cozy bed. You can’t help but laugh when you see his little paws and whiskers start to twitch. It’s likely that he’s having an exciting dream, perhaps about chasing after a mouse or his favorite catnip toy. Dreaming is not isolated to humans, and kitty has sweet dreams, too.

Why Do Cats Sleep All the Time?

By Cuteness Team

Cats certainly love themselves some shuteye. Depending on their age, health, personality, and whether they’re primarily indoor or outdoor, they average around 14 -16 hours of sleep per day which is more than most mammals (with the exception of bats and possums). Even during the majority of their waking hours, cats don’t appear very far from sleep–maintaining a zen-like, meditative state. So why are our feline friends such sleepyheads? Read on to find out.

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No predators? No problem!

Since Mother Nature made cats hunters with few natural predators of their own, they can afford to take long naps in relative safety. Our domestic house cats live even cushier lives than their African lion cousins–the reigning kings of the jungle–who spend most of their days safely sleeping in the open savannah when not hunting their next meal. And since we’re on the subject of hunting–cats big and small expend a great deal of energy in a very short amount of time when stalking, running, and pouncing on prey (even if that prey is just a catnip mouse toy!). These concentrated bursts of energy make rest and recuperation a necessity.

Cats are most dynamic at dawn and dusk

You’ve probably already noticed that your usually calm cat really perks up during those mysterious twilight hours when it’s not quite light and not quite dark. Though many people think that cats are nocturnal (most active during the night), they’re actually crepuscular–most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. That’s why our cats always insist on waking us up at the break of day by crying out for attention and/or impatiently treading all over us while we’re sound asleep. Why do they conserve all of their energy for dawn and dusk? That’s the time when most of their natural prey emerges from hiding, and their hunter instincts kick into action.

Kitties keep alert during catnaps

Even dozing, cats have the ability to remain aware of their surroundings (mainly through sound and scent) in the event they have to escape from danger or pounce on prey at a moment’s notice. This is why, even while a cat is asleep, any sudden noises will cause their ears to rotate toward the direction the noise came from. They’re on a constant cycle between deep and light sleep, allowing them to get the required rest they need, as well as stay attuned to their environment.

Even though nature has programmed cats to sleep through most of the day and night, many domestic house cats have learned to adapt to their owners’ work and sleep schedules by conserving some (but most likely not all!) of their energy for when their human companions are at home and awake. This, however, may have a lot to do with their feeding schedule, as they typically want to be wide awake when you’re dishing up their xdinner!

By Maya M.

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Is your kitty twitching?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENTS FROM LOVINMYPUP.COM: 

As some of you know I am very allergic to cats so I do not have a whole lot of  close experience with them.     However I found that this article was very interesting.  REM sleep in humans does allow movement at times.  Cats also go into REM sleep at time’s.  This is when their paws and bodies can twitch and move.Very complete article for the parents    of a feline fur baby.

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