How Long do Cats and Dogs Sleep? (And Other Cute Pet Facts)

Posted by Pam Johnson - Head of Buying on 18th Feb 2022

How Long do Cats and Dogs Sleep? (And Other Cute Pet Facts)

As a nation of pet lovers, we tend to want to know everything about our pets. This can include anything from knowing their perfect tickle spot (or where NOT to tickle in the case of cats) to their favourite cat foods and dog snacks.

Go that little bit further and discover interesting facts about your pets and their sleeping habits with Bensons for Beds.

We’ll also show you how to turn your bedroom into a sanctuary that both you and your favourite furry friend can enjoy.

Feline facts

How long do cats sleep?

You’ll have noticed that your cat spends a lot of their time asleep, but do you know just how much? According to Cats Protection, domestic cats spend, on average, an astonishing 16 hours sleeping each day.

In addition, you’ll have observed that cats appear to have two distinct modes - hyperactivity mode and sleep.

Sleep mode is usually activated by their human getting up from a chair for a few seconds leaving the perfect spot for a curled up catnap.

The hyperactivity setting is saved for the middle of the night, extremely early in the morning, or when you’re trying to get anything done.

Why do cats sleep so long?

As you may have noticed, younger cats can be very active. A cat’s natural instinct is to hunt, and while many cats prefer to play, others do in fact go off to hunt and proudly bring back their prey as a gift for you. Either way, your cat uses a lot of energy during these activities, and needs time to recuperate.

Older cats and kittens can sleep much longer than the average 16 hours(1). However, if you think your usually active cat is more lethargic or sleeping more than usual, you should seek veterinary advice.

Are cats nocturnal?

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not in fact nocturnal but are crepuscular (try saying that ten times fast!). This means they’re most active during the twilight hours. It could explain why you’re likely to find your cat sleeping during the day and eager to play or go outside in the early morning and the evening.(1)

Do cats dream?

We dream during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep (5). In the 1950’s, Michael Jouvet, French medical researcher and neuroscientist, discovered that cats also enter the REM stage of sleep. Jouvet’s extensive research suggested that it was highly likely that cats also dream.(6)

What do cats dream about?

It was thought that the motor patterns displayed by cats during sleep meant cats dream about attack, defence, and exploration.

So, if you ever see your cat’s little legs twitching or even “running” during their naps, it could be that the little cuties are dreaming about their latest adventures.

Canine questions

How long do dogs sleep for?

You may think that your doggo doesn’t spend as much time sleeping as their feline friends, but it’s pretty close. The PetMD website states that dogs can spend around 12 hours sleeping and another 8 hours just “loafing” about.

Why do dogs sleep so long?

It’s important for dogs to get the sleep they need and lack of sleep can actually affect their physical and mental health.(2)

According to PetMD:

“Sleep helps a dog’s brain development, memory, and learning capacity, as well as their immune system.”

Dogs are prone to bursts of energy and need plenty of sleep to recuperate. During this down-time dogs will process their day, regrouping information in much the same way that we do.(2) This could be why you find your dog lazing about for most of the day, especially bigger dogs as they can need more time to recover from things they have experienced during long walks or play sessions.

Should you notice a change in your dog’s sleeping routine or if they are sleeping more or less than normal, contact your vet for advice.

Do dogs dream?

Like cats, and humans, dogs enter the REM state of sleep and according to The Blue Cross, dogs do dream. Again, like cats, dogs display motor patterns when dreaming.

They also exhibit other signs such as:

  • Whimpering
  • Barking
  • Tail wagging

What do dogs dream about?

Unfortunately we can only guess what our dogs are dreaming about. However, as dog’s brains work in a similar way to ours during sleep (6) we can presume they dream in a similar way too. So when you hear your dog barking during sleep they could be recalling a particularly fun chase. If you see their tail swishing they could be happily dreaming about you.

Dog bed, cat bed or all in your bed?

A pet-free bedroom

It’s important to bear in mind that not all animals like to snuggle up in bed with their human, and some pampered pooches and mollycoddled moggies prefer to get some shut-eye in their own cat bed or dog bed.

You may also prefer to declare the bedroom an animal-free zone. 

In fact, according to our resident Sleep Expert,  Dr Sophie Bostock:

"Many people sleep with their pets believing that it helps them to relax, feel more secure and to sleep better. Research evidence suggests that people who share their beds with a canine companion or a feline friend take longer to fall asleep, have more disturbed sleep during the night, and are more likely to wake up tired. "

Therefore, if you do plan on having your faithful friend in bed with you, bear in mind that you may not get the best night's sleep!

However, there are some times when your pet may want to be near you.

The loud bang of fireworks on New Year’s Eve and Bonfire Night can be extremely distressing for some animals. They may feel comfort being near you in your bed or simply close to you in the bedroom in their own cat or dog bed.

If you’re concerned that your pet is becoming stressed during these times, consult your vet in advance of these occasions.

Making your bedroom a sanctuary for you and your pet

A whopping 93% of our pet Instagram poll participants said that they viewed their pets as part of the family.*

If, like most of our Instagram poll participants**, you love nothing more than having your furry friend in bed with you, we have some top tips that can make you both feel pampered.

Keep your pets flea-free

As an animal lover you'll want to make sure your cat or dog is free from pesky fleas and other troublesome creatures. You'll also want to avoid these pests invading your bed and any other areas of your home. First, make sure your pet is up-to-date with their flea treatments. It's also a good idea to check with your vet to see if there are any further steps you can take to keep your pet free of any unwanted visitors.

This bed isn’t big enough for the both of us

It may seem absurd to consider your pets when buying a bed. However, if you want to avoid being banished to the furthest edges of your bed by your bed-hogging fur baby, it could be quite a sensible idea.

When you’re ready to give up the pretence of your dog or cat not being allowed on the bed, make sure you get a bed that’s big enough to be comfortable. A king size bed is ideal for bigger pets and their humans, or even a super king bed if you insist on having your partner in bed with you too.

Protect your mattress from pets

As much as we love our pets, it pays to be realistic about their habits, especially if the plan is to have them in bed with you each night.

There are a few ways you can protect your mattress from any toileting accidents or shedding fur:

  • Use a waterproof mattress protector on top of your mattress.
  • Have a designated cat or dog blanket in their favourite spot on the bed.
  • Wash bedding regularly to help stop dust and fur transferring from your pet onto your mattress.

Choosing a cat-friendly bed

Cats absolutely love to scratch, and they rarely distinguish between a brand new piece of furniture or a designated scratching post. If you don’t want your bed ripped to shreds by a scratch-happy cat, then choose your new bed carefully.

Why do cats scratch?

As annoying as it can be, cat claw scratching is an important part of their grooming process.

There are two reasons cat scratch:

  1. To keep their claws in perfect condition.
  2. When cats scratch they leave behind a scent from their paws, as well as claw husks, and markings, all of which alert other cats in the area of their presence.(4)

Metal beds are in

If you purchase a mostly fabric bed, like a divan bed, your cat is likely to view this as one gigantic scratching post. Consider a metal bed or a sturdy wooden frame bed to minimise the possibility of scratch markings.

Shop Metal Beds

Can I stop my cat scratching my bed?

Should you be unable to resist the allure of a fabric bed, there are ways you can deter your cat from scratching your bed(7):

  1. Never reprimand your cat for scratching - it’s a normal and healthy thing for them to do.
  2. Cats like to scratch things that are rigid and resist their pulling as they scratch. So, invest in some quality cat scratching posts and place them in an area away from your furniture.
  3. Cats also enjoy a stretch as they scratch so give them access to taller scratching posts for them to do this.

Cats leave scent markers when they scratch which is why particular spots become their favourite scratching places. Therefore, they should soon prefer their scratching posts to your furniture.(7)

Choosing a dog-friendly bed

Unlike cats, dogs can’t always spring easily onto a bed, and will therefore need a bed that makes allowances for their stature. If you have a small dog or older dog that finds it difficult to jump onto furniture, choose a lower bed, rather than a bed with a higher base. The Bensons for Beds Bespoke collection provides the option of being able to have your bed on castors, rather than legs so that your bed is lower.

If you don’t want to compromise on the height of your bed, invest in some pet steps. Alternatively, make your own platform your dog can use to get onto your bed.

The great news about having a dog in your bed rather than a cat is that anything goes when it comes to the type of bed you buy. So divan beds and fabric beds are ideal for dogs and you can even scale them up or down according to how much room you’ll need to share.

Shop Divan Beds

Choosing a pet-friendly mattress

If you’ve gone so far as to consider your pet when buying a bed base, then you may as well take the next step and make sure your mattress is comfortable for both of you too.

The vegan-friendly Slumberland Natural Solutions mattress is the ideal choice for animal lovers. Not only is this mattress free from any animal products, it also features vegan-certified natural fillings such as bamboo and organic cotton.

This vegan mattress is available in medium, firm, and extra firm comfort ratings.

With such a range of comfort ratings, you’re sure to find one that suits you and your pet.

Shop Vegan Mattresses

Help buying a bed

Whether you love having pets in your bed, or you want the bed all to yourself, let us help you find your perfect bed at Bensons for Beds.

Get in touch with our helpful customer services team for more information, or place an order today by calling 08008 144 6160.



SOURCES:

*When asked, “Is your pet part of the family or just a pet?” Of 442 Instagram poll participants, 409 answered “Part of the family” and 33 answered “Just a pet”.

** When asked “Do you let your pet sleep on your bed with you?” Of 447 Instagram participants, 267 answered yes and 180 answered no.

  1. Relax, Your Cat Is Probably Not Sleeping "Too Much" (Here's Why) - Petful
  2. How Much Do Dogs Sleep? | PetMD
  3. Why Do Cats Sleep So Much? | Blue Cross
  4. Cats and Scratching - Why Do Cats Scratch? | Cats Protection
  5. What Is REM Sleep? (verywellmind.com)
  6. Michel Jouvet, Who Unlocked REM Sleep’s Secrets, Dies at 91 - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
  7. Learn How To Stop My Cat Scratching The Furniture | Battersea

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authors profile
Pam Johnson
Head of Buying
Pam has worked within Bensons for Beds for 16 years and has a great deal of experience in both developing and sourcing new product ranges. As Head of Buying specialising in mattresses, divans and headboards, Pam is dedicated to providing solutions that help customers to get a great night’s sleep.
Read more from Pam