Where Cats Sleep and Why
It’s absolutely normal for a cat to spend half of all hours – 12 hours or more asleep, either sound asleep or “catnapping.” Old cats will spend up to 16 to 18 hours asleep.
Applied Animal Behavior Science surveyed 1,177 cat parents and discovered that most felines had five preferred sleeping areas. Feral or community cats may move their favored sleeping area slightly to enjoy privacy, moderate body temperature, or react to stressful experiences.
Cats often have favored sleeping places in homes. Cats do seem to have an internal clock and they are creatures of habit, so you may consistently find cats sneezing in certain places at certain times of the day.
Preferred sleeping places may have the following in common – from the cat’s perspective.
A safe place. This may be up high (more often occurring in confident cats and when there is cozy vertical space offered in the first place). A safe place is defined by the cat, of course. Less secure cats in a home may seek hard to find places, such as under a bed, or a corner in a closet or a corner in a basement. Many cats feel most comfortable and safe snoozing with those they care for, humans and/or other animals.
Privacy: Even social humans seek privacy every now and again and the same turns out to be true for cats. Particularly, in loud households, cats may seek out quieter places. These cats may learn to deal with the commotion, but also seek solitude and peace, away from crazy kids and/or other animals.
Warmth: Cats relish warmth, and their bodies require it particularly during or following illness or for geriatric cats. These cats’ health actually benefit by offering warming pads or other assured to be warm places. Cats of any age may choose to snooze in sunny windows, literally following the sun throughout the day or snooze on top of radiators or under heat vents.
Claiming Territory: Cats feel most comfortable in beds or places to snooze where they have previously slept, so that place contains their own scent.
Why a cat suddenly chooses to not sleep in a previously preferred place might be that the cat was frightened at some point while blissfully snoozing, by anything from a car alarm to a vacuum or even a frightening smell suddenly occurs. You may not have witnessed this loud noise or nasty smell, so while mysterious to you, it’s clear to the cat that this place may no longer be considered “safe.”