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. Make sure that any automatic cat toys have an auto-shutoff so that your kitty doesn’t end up tiring itself out either. 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 if you notice they’re too warm. 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. Heatstroke can become a life-threatening condition, so helping your cat regulate its body temperature before it gets to this point is important.
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. Napping after eating allows their bodies to spend 100% of their efforts and all their energy on digestion. Any cat that is being overfed definitely needs this time to process its huge portion.
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. If you’re not around in the day to feed your cat regularly, why not try an automatic cat feeder? These do all the hard work for you! Simply set the mealtimes and the feeder will serve up each portion right on cue.
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. Their metabolism also slows down and their appetite drops, further causing a drop in energy levels and contributing to lethargy. This is a normal part of the aging process and nothing to be too concerned about.
Aside from decreased energy levels, seniors are also more prone to medical conditions that can make them sleep more. A common example that affects 90% of cats over the age of 10 is arthritis. This condition makes it extremely painful to move, and so cats simply don’t move! As such, arthritic cats 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. While resting, kittens can put all their energy towards growth, repair, and development.
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, it could be depressed. Like depression in humans, depressed cats will lose interest in activities they previously loved. They will struggle to get themselves out of bed and don’t want to face the day. As such, it is common to see your cat sleep all the time when they are struggling with their mental health.
A loss of appetite, more aggressive behavior, and excessive vocalizations are three other common signs 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.
You can speak to your vet and see if you can change to another treatment option. However, sometimes there are only a handful of drugs available to treat certain diseases. In other cases, the benefits of the medication will outweigh the side effects and your vet will advise you to keep administering it. Your cat is a little more sleepy, but at least they’re on the mend.
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.
However, there are a handful of infections with no treatments available. Your cat will usually fight these infections off over time all by themselves. Nevertheless, I still recommend doing to the vet at the first sign of infection There is no way to know what is causing the infection until your vet runs tests.
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.
Should I Worry That My Cat is Sleeping More Than Usual?
Cats love to sleep, so having a cat that sleeps all the time isn’t necessarily any reason to worry. Most will sleep upwards of 12-16 hours every day! However, if your notice your cat suddenly sleeping more than usual, you might want to talk to your vet. As mentioned, lethargy is a common sign of many medical conditions, and it is usually one of the earliest signs that something is wrong.
As a general guide, I would recommend calling your vet if you have noticed increased lethargy for over 24 hours. Also, look out for these other subtle signs of sickness that could indicate you’ve got a problem on your hands:
- Inappropriate Elimination: All sorts of medical conditions can cause cats to stop using their litter box. Cats with arthritis might find it difficult to climb in and out of the tray. Similarly, cats with UTIs or kidney disease often have painful urination and so pee outside the box. Diabetes is another disease linked with inappropriate elimination.
- Social Changes: All cats are unique, and some will be much more social and involved in the action than others. However, cats that suddenly appear more withdrawn than usual are often suffering from a disease or anxiety. This could be because their medical condition makes them more sensitive to touch, or perhaps the general pain makes cats feel frustrated and not in the mood to socialize.
- Food and Water Intake: Increased food consumption could be a sign of hyperthyroidism or diabetes. On the other hand, a loss of appetite can be linked with toxicity, dental diseases, or gastrointestinal problems. Increased thirst is often the initial sign of kidney disease, urinary problems, blocked bladders, and diabetes.
- Weight Loss: If your cat is on a diet, weight loss is normal. But if your cat is suffering from unexplained weight loss that doesn’t necessarily seem to align with their eating habits and exercise levels, it’s usually a sign of illness. Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, dental diseases, and gastrointestinal infections are all possibilities.
- Weight Gain: On the other hand, unexplained weight gain can also indicate underlying health conditions. Diabetes can sometimes lead to weight gain, as can joint diseases like arthritis. Cats with these conditions aren’t as mobile and so pile on the pounds quickly if their diet isn’t adjusted.
- Excessive Vocalization: When in pain, cats of all ages become more vocal. This is their way of crying out for help and letting out their frustrations. Older cats with hypertension or hyperthyroidism also howl a lot more frequently than usual. Not only is this disruptive to you, but a vet needs to determine the cause and provide treatment.
- Changes in Grooming: Cats love being clean and are incredible self-groomers. They find this behavior extremely calming. Yet because of this, cats use grooming as a coping mechanism when they feel stressed or in pain. Excessive grooming can lead to greasy, matted fur and hair loss. Obesity and arthritis can also limit your cat’s ability to groom, resulting in poor coat quality.
Keep an eye out for these subtle signs of illness. Is your cat just sleeping more than usual? Or do you notice some of these above symptoms as well? If the latter applies, arrange to take your cat in for a checkup with your vet. There is probably something wrong with your cat that needs rectifying. Your vet will be able to run tests to determine what is wrong and offer treatment.
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!