We all know that cats love to sleep, and catnapping is a huge part of their usual daily routine. Yet, sometimes cats seem even more lethargic and quieter than usual. If you’ve noticed your kitty getting a little more shut-eye than they typically do, you may be asking yourself “Why is my cat sleeping more than usual?”.
As increased lethargy can be a sign of illness, it is super important to know the answer to this question. This way, we know when we need to book an emergency appointment with the vet, and when not to worry and leave our kitties napping to their heart’s content.
In this article, I will run through the 11 most common reasons why your cat is sleeping a lot. This will help you to understand whether their change in sleeping habits is a cause for concern or not. Understanding your cat’s behavior is key to giving them the correct care. So, let’s get stuck in!
11 Reasons Cats Sleep More Than Usual
One of the main reasons your cat could be sleeping more is simply because they are bored. It’s no secret that cats love napping, and our felines spend around 12-16 hours every single day asleep. If there is nothing else for them to do, they may decide to take a nap – they love doing it, so why not?
Although boredom isn’t a health concern, it’s still not a reason pet parents want to hear. We all want to give our cats happy and fulfilling lives, right? To help combat boredom, try creating a more enriching home environment for your cat by providing plenty of toys, scratching posts, and cat trees. Be sure to take at least 15 minutes out of each day to play with your feline and see if you notice a difference in their sleeping habits.
Have you just finished a big play session with your cat? If so, your cat may be sleeping as they are simply exhausted. They need to relax and recover from the big bursts of energy they’ve just expelled! You’ll likely be able to tell if this is the reason your cat is sleeping a lot as it will shortly follow a big period of activity and playtime.
While it is great to play with your kitty, try not to play with them to the point of exhaustion. As a general rule of thumb, 15-minute intervals work well. This ensures your cat is active and healthy, but that they don’t get too worn out.
3. Hot Weather
Your cat could also be sleeping a lot due to hot weather. The optimum temperature cats like is between 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, so on a hot summer’s day with temperatures higher than this, your cat will likely be less active and more lethargic than usual.
This is normal and perfectly healthy behavior. When cats move, they produce energy and heat. By exercising on a hot day, they’ll make themselves even hotter and are at the risk of developing heatstroke. So, by lying down and sleeping all day your cat is doing their bit to try to help themselves stay cool so they don’t overheat.
You can also do your bit to help your feline. Try to keep your home well-ventilated to help hot air escape, and provide plenty of water and shade for your cat. On days with warmer weather, you should also try not to overexcite your cat and purposefully take a more relaxed approach to playtime.
Have you ever eaten a huge meal and felt like you can’t possibly move afterward because you’re so full? It is the same for cats! So, another reason why your cat is sleeping more than usual could be that you’ve overfed them. What’s more, cats like to sleep as they digest their food, and so it is common to see cats go to sleep immediately after eating. And, if you’ve given them an oversized potion, they’re even more likely to take a nap as their food goes down.
Try to stick to the portions recommended by your vet to give your cat a healthy balanced diet. You can also try splitting up their food into several smaller portions which you feed them throughout the day. This will be easier for them to digest and make them less lethargic after eating.
Another reason why feeding your cat the right amount is that overfeeding can lead to obesity. Obesity is associated with many other health conditions but it could also be a possible explanation as to why your cat sleeps all day. Fat cats are lazy! With the added bodyweight, it is more effort for them to jump and move around and much easier for them to sleep instead.
This lack of exercise can then make cats gain more weight and they will become more overweight and more tired, getting stuck in an endless cycle. If you think your cat is obese, take them to the vet. They will be able to recommend a specific diet to help them return to a normal weight.
6. Old Age
Do you have an old cat that is sleeping a lot? They may be sleeping more than usual simply because of their old age. As cats mature their energy levels decrease, which typically occurs at the age of 7 or older. Senior cats are also more prone to mobility problems such as arthritis. This condition makes it extremely painful to move, and so cats with arthritis tend to be more lethargic and less active.
Other symptoms of feline arthritis include difficulty getting up and down, stiff movement, and sometimes aggression towards other cats or people. If you notice any of these symptoms, always take your cat to the vet. They will be able to offer some medication to help alleviate the pain so they can still live comfortable lives.
7. Young Age
Just as old age affects a cat’s activity levels, so does young age. Most people assume that kittens are extremely active and playful all the time. However, after bringing your kitten home, you may discover that your kitten sleeps a lot. But don’t worry – this is very normal!
Kittens under the age of one sleep a lot more than adult cats, averaging around 20 hours per day. Extremely young kittens in their first weeks of life will sleep nearly all day! The reason why is that kittens are still growing and need this rest time to allow their body to grow and develop healthily.
However, if your kitten sleeps a lot and is not very active when they’re awake, it can be a cause for concern. Usually, this is a sign of anemia. Cats with anemia don’t have enough red blood cells and struggle to transport oxygen around their body to where it’s needed. Aside from lethargy, another symptom is pale gums. If you think your kitten could be anemic, definitely call your vet.
If your cat is sleeping all day and not eating, is more aggressive, and is more vocal, it could be a sign of depression. You may also notice changes in their grooming habits, they could become more clingy or timid, and they may start scratching objects around your home more frequently as a way to relieve stress. Learned behavior, such as using their litter box, may also be forgotten.
As with humans, it is hard to pinpoint a cause for feline depression. It may be that they have gone through a stressful event, such as moving home, losing a loved one, or there being a new family member. They may be in pain from an injury that has got them feeling down. Depression may also be related to another illness such as hypothyroidism, respiratory disease, or diabetes.
If you think your cat is feeling sad, take them to the vet as they may provide medication. If the depression is caused by another medical condition or injury, your vet will also be able to provide treatment for that. At home, you can do your bit by helping establish a consistent routine and spend time each day petting and playing with your cat.
9. Side Effects of Medication
Is your cat on any medication? If so, them being increasingly lethargic and sleeping all day could be a side effect of the drugs they’re taking. In fact, lethargy is a common side effect of many pet medications, especially for anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives where making your cat relax more is the drug’s purpose.
However, it can also be an unwanted side effect of many other drugs. For example, opioids such as morphine, codeine, fentanyl, and buprenorphine, are medications sometimes prescribed to relieve severe pain in felines. Yet, all of these drugs list lethargy as a side effect.
There is also the possibility that your cat is sleeping more due to an infection. These infections can be caused by parasites, bacteria, or viruses, and there is a huge list of possible infections that your cat could have contracted. However, here are some of the most common types of each:
- Parasitic Infections: Fleas and ticks are common external parasites, whereas worms are the most common internal parasitic infection. As these parasites use the cat as a host, they can take their energy and make them feel more tired all the time. Other symptoms include weight loss, poor coat, itchy skin, and stomach upsets.
- Bacterial Infections: Common bacteria to infect cats are salmonella, campylobacter, and streptococcus. Cats will usually contract these infections from dirty water, raw meat, or feces. Cats with bacterial infections will sleep more, and also usually have diarrhea or vomiting and fever. Bacteria can also infect cats’ urinary tracts and cause UTIs which are instead characterized by painful and more frequent urination.
- Viral Infections: The most common viral infections are feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline herpesvirus (FVR), or feline leukemia virus (FeLV). Depending on which infection the cat has and which area of the body is infected, symptoms vary dramatically. For example, FIV and FeLV affect their immune system, whereas FVR infects the lungs and is one of the main feline respiratory infections.
Infections can usually be treated with medication – antibiotics will treat bacterial infections, antiviral medications can treat viral infection, and dewormers or flea medication and remove parasites. So, if your cat is sleeping all day in combination with any of the above symptoms, take them straight to the vet for treatment.
11. Other Medical Conditions
Aside from the medical conditions mentioned, there are many more that could be why your cat is sleeping more than usual – too many to list! Lethargy and low activity levels are extremely common side effects for many illnesses. Some of the more conditions include:
- Musculoskeletal injury
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Asthma or other respiratory problems
- Certain types of cancer
- Kidney or liver disease
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Neurological conditions
Each of these has its own set of symptoms as no two diseases are quite the same. However, lethargy is common with them all. Medical conditions are also more likely if your cat is sleeping more than usual and eating less. There are also cat sleeping positions when sick that you can watch out for, and other symptoms that could mean your cat isn’t their usual healthy self.
In any case, it’s best to take your cat to the vet so they can complete a physical examination. As lethargy is a common symptom of many illnesses and disorders, it can be difficult to diagnose. However, through the right testing, your vet will be able to pinpoint this issue and provide effective treatment. Sometimes, it’s a great idea to take your cat to the vet just to rule out medical conditions as the reason behind their sudden love for sleep.
Low energy levels and sleeping all day is a common symptom of many serious medical conditions. However, your cat could also be sleeping more simply because they’ve been overfed, are too hot, or are recovering from a big play session!
In any case, it’s always advisable to book an appointment with your vet. If there is something wrong, your vet will be able to provide treatment and have your feline back to their usual active and playful selves. If there isn’t, it’s great to have peace of mind and rest assured knowing that your cat is healthy – albeit a little lazy!