Cats can spend up to 23 hours aa day sleeping, deeper or lighter. After all their basic mottos are two: “When in doubt, wash yourselves” and “if you are bored, go to sleep”. Cats are undoubtedly masters of the art of sleep!
They can sleep on branches, chairs, radiators or even on an uncomfortable exhaust hood. They can turn into a little ball while sleeping or stretch to incredible length while snoring incessantly! And while they are sleeping, their eyes are often half shut and moving, their paws bend and relax, their nails appear and then hide again, their whiskers (oh those wonderful cat whiskers) and their limbs twirl, while various strange noises come out of their mouths!
Why are all these things happening? Do cats have dreams? And if so, what kind of dreams? What do cats dream about?
Human dreams are based on things we have experiences, seen or read and are sprinkled with a dose of creative, free imagination. The same thing happens with cats more or less!
Cats have the ability of memory as well, being able to remember previous experiences. They also remember the things they have seen – such as how to open the cat door to the house they live in after having watched other cats do it. In their dreams they can watch scenes from life outside the house, like prey hunting etc.
After all, it has been found that cats have the ability to imagine and we can see that as plenty of times our cat seems to be thinking of the solution of a problem before proceeding with the test process to actually solve it. For example, a couple of imaginative cats came up with the idea of standing on each other’s backs to open the door, instead of jumping on the handle trying to open it.
What kind of dreams do cats have?
What do all these quick movements of their legs and the constant murmuring during their sleep mean? It is very likely that at that time the cat is seeing in its sleep the hunt of a prey – even if many cats have never hunted a real prey, they all have the instinct of the hunter in them.
Do cats have nightmares?
The movements of their legs are similar to the hits they make on their prey. The murmur is very similar to the frustration they express when their hunting goes south and their prey gets away. Judging by the frequent sounds that come out of their mouths while they are sleeping, we can assume that their prey often gets away in their sleep. Such a dream could be the closest thing to a “nightmare” for the cat!
If you watch your cat carefully while it sleeps, if you notice its small movements, you can understand what kind of a dream it is having! A twirl of the tail could mean a dream of tracking prey or a dream in which the cat is seeing something extremely interesting. However, if the cat raises its lip and the canine appears, it is most likely dreaming of finally grabbing its coveted prey. The murmur in combination with the movements of the tail as if it were a whip may indicate that the prey is gone!
In other cases, the movements may be even more intense when the cat is dreaming that it is fighting with a dangerous opponent or is having other similar violent dreams! A cat can transform into a real fighter in its sleep, murmuring, hitting the hand of the person it is sleeping with, sucking, licking, biting, kicking with its back or even its front legs.
In other cases, when cats have traumatic experiences, such as the death of their cat friends or their human parent, their memory may visit them in their dreams, causing them to suffer from other nightmares.
Other times dreams seem to be more painless!
Fortunately, there are also those dreams that show pleasure. Many times they see that they are having a delicious meal or they see the memories they have from when they were newborn kittens, while it is not uncommon for them to dream that they are rolling in the sun.
Has it ever happened to you to accidentally wake up your cat and see her having a look that almost says “I was having such a wonderful dream”?
The human brain and the cat’s brain secrete substances that prohibit them from having the reactions they would have if their dreams where happening in reality. In laboratories, during barbaric experiments where they prevent cats from secreting those substances, the cats’ reactions are similar to the ones they have while they are awake.