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Cats spend an extraordinary amount of time sleeping - as much as 16 hours per day. Sleeping is not just a luxury of the well-fed household pet but a way of life for all members of the cat family, both wild and domesticated. The feline family is designed to use its energy in short bursts unlike the stamina and endurance required by most canines. Although cats sleep away two thirds of their life, the sleep periods are taken in short naps of several minutes at a time - hence the term "cat nap".

Even while it is asleep the cat is constantly vigilant for danger signals making it very difficult to sneak up on a sleeping cat. The cat will react to the slightest vibration or sound and be instantly aroused and ready for action.

The favourite sleeping place of most cats is a raised position, which allows it to feel safe from attack. Cats may be found snoozing on rooftops, fences and overhead cupboards. Cats love the luxurious life and are experts at seeking out the warmest sleeping places. Warm human bodies in bed invite the cat to wriggle under the blankets and snuggle up on cold nights.

Not all warm spots are safe for the cat. There are many stories of cats choosing to sleep on the warm motor of the car only to have the car drive away. Many cats have been injured in this way, many others lost as they are transported away from their home. Clothes dryers are also enticing when still warm and the door left open.

Cats love to sunbake and will seek out a protected warm sunny spot even in Winter. Since nobody has told cats about "slip, slap, slop" white cats often suffer from skin cancer on ear tips and nose.

Studies of sleeping cats' brains indicate 30 percent deep sleep and 70 percent light sleep periods. The phases alternate and it is during the deep sleep that there is evidence that the cat dreams. In the cat, during the deep sleep period the brain is as active as when the cat is awake.

A cat asleep in the sun is the epitome of contentment. If you watch it closely you may see evidence that cats dream. Paws and claws may flex, ears move and whiskers twitch. There is little doubt that, for the cat as well as for humans, "cat napping" is one of life's more pleasurable activities.

Petcare Information and Advisory Service Australia

Last Update: 21/04/07 12:54 Views: 5104

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