Why cats might sleep more in winter

Whether you have an indoor cat or a feline that heads out on daily adventures, with shorter days and a chill in the air, you might have started to notice some changes in their behaviour. Especially their snoozing! Here’s all you need to know about what’s normal when it comes to cat naps and wintertime blues.

Do cats sleep more in winter?

On average, cats sleep for around fifteen hours of their day, with some felines getting up to twenty hours of shut-eye! During a recent survey, 72% of our cat customers said that winter changes their cat’s behaviour with 30% suggesting that their feline friend sleeps more during the colder months.

If you think your cat tends to nap more once the clocks have gone back, you might not be wrong since the darker days might actually affect their normal cycle.  

Why do cats sleep more in the winter?

There are a number of different factors that might change your cat’s usual sleeping pattern. Us humans could be one of the reasons they’re seeking longer naps as, like dogs, cats have become domesticated meaning their behaviour is affected by those around them as well as any in-built instinctive biological patterns.

Winter is also cold and since our feline friends have a tendency to conserve energy in wintertime (thanks to those natural instincts), they might simply sleep for longer simply because their body tells them to. The chill can also disrupt their REM cycle, leading to decreased quality of sleep which might lead to more naps to make up for this.

Remember: they might also try to find a warm place to sleep to prevent this, too, so be sure to provide them with plenty of bedding and blankets in winter. 

Since winter is darker, a cat’s built-in circadian rhythm (the internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle) responds to the reduced daylight hours in the same way ours does, by sleeping more.

A sleepy cat

Can cats get SAD?

Very little research has actually been done on seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in cats but since we share similar brain chemistry with our feline friends, the changes to the production of mood-regulating hormones could be behind your cat’s naps. Or maybe, we simply project our mood changes onto our pets.

How to help your cat cope in the winter

Here are tips for keeping your cat happy and healthy during the darker months!

It might seem like your cat is sleeping their life away, especially with any changes during the darker months, but it’s usually all part of their ancestral remembering. That said, do take a trip to the vet if you feel that your cat’s behaviour is uncharacteristically different in winter as it can also point to more serious health concerns like anaemia, gastrointestinal problems or depression.

Looking for more cat advice?

We’ve written some handy cat advice guides, to help you unlock the secrets of your mysterious moggy.


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