Can Cats Dream When They Sleep?

can cats dream

Sleeping cats are looking cute, funny, and sweet. Cats are real sleeping heads! They are probably sleeping and dreaming just like us. You probably know those images of cats sleeping in the sun or front of a fireplace. Sometimes you can see that their eyes are blinking while sleeping, sticking out the tongue, or having convulsions. If you look at your cat, you have probably wondered about can cats dream?

Cats can dream when they sleep. Cats normally sleep more than fourteen hours a day. They dream a lot, just like us. However, what exactly? Surely, cats can dream and process their experiences during sleep. Many scientists have examined the sleep behavior of cats. The result: it is almost certain that cats spend part of their sleep with dreams.

I watch very often to my two cats when they are sleeping cutely. It works meditating, relaxing and it is fun to watch. However, what I often wonder is, can cats dream? To answer this question, I researched on the internet. In this blog post, I will talk about the dreams of a cat, how many hours they sleep per day, their sleeping behavior, and whether cats can also have nightmares.

cat is dreaming

The Different Phases of Sleep and Awakening

We are sometimes a little jealous of cats who sleep between 10 and 18 hours a day. It is generally known that more active people also need less sleep. That is also the case with cats. Cats that go outside, play outside, or have plenty of room to move will also need less sleep.

However, how does sleeping works at our house cats? Sleeping cats have the same characteristics as those humans. They also have different phases, such as light sleep alternating with the deep sleep of about 20 minutes, followed again by the 5-minute REM sleep.

REM sleep (rapid eye movement) is the phase where both cats and people dream. At that moment, the eyes move, and the ears, whiskers, legs, or the tail can move quickly. Through an Elektro encephalogram, we know that cats have more light sleep during the day because they also have to be alert to potential prey and enemies in nature.


For humans, REM has the function of transforming experiences into For humans, REM has the function of transforming experiences into memories and organizing them in your mind. Therefore you can also conclude that the cat also dreams about the daily activities such as hunting, playing, other cats in the house, or about their owners. So just like people, cats can also have nightmares.

REM sleep is also essential for cats, and if this is interrupted, it can have significant consequences. Sleep-deprived studies also indicate that people and other animals with sleep deprivation can have serious consequences. The shortening of REM sleep repercussions all other behaviors such as attention, cognitive skills, and moods. So let a dog, cat, and human sleep well and do not wake them up; otherwise, it can have unforgivable consequences!

sleeping kitten

Asleep and Also Awake

If it seems like your cat is always a few seconds away from a cat nap, that can be true. Cats never seem to be far from sleep. Although they may be fully awake for a moment, they are playing, seriously demanding attention, or cleaning themselves. They can effortlessly back to rest and go to sleep the next moment. Cats are crepuscular. Cats are most active and awake during twilight at dusk and dawn. The rest of the day and night, they are in a part of sleeping and waking.

Cats sit in the border between day and night and between waking and sleeping. They often challenge themselves, but this is almost impossible to be asleep and awake at the same time. Cats can sleep while sitting upright but at the same time keep their sense of smell and hearing active during most of their sleep. Your cat can dream while he is sitting upright and half awake. They also call that talent.

Sleep Phases

Cats are professionals in naps. Even while they are sitting relaxed, they can take short naps, something like a power nap. With a sound, the cat does not get upset, they often do not even open their eyes, but the ears are spurring. You can see that the cat is very relaxed but does not sleep deeply. A cat that sleeps deep is usually rolled up with the tail around it or lying on one side. The breathing is deep, and the cat no longer responds to sound. Sometimes a paw, whiskers, or tail vibrate and shake: the cat is dreaming. Some cats even make sounds in their dreams.

During the sleep phases, the senses work only half. When a cat occasionally sleeps deep, the body posture changes. Usually, the cat rolls from one side to the other; some muscles can contract, sometimes your cat shouts. If the cat makes a sound, it is usually the case that he dreams. During deep sleep, the eyes are closed, and the ears are switched off. Your cat sleeps so fast that it does not wake up when you, for example, gently blow to the ear. The only reaction is that it moves in a reflex with its ear. This phenomenon is called the paradoxical sleep phase and lasts about 6 minutes. So do not worry if you see this; your cat sleeps well.

If a cat shows his belly in his sleep, that is the best proof of trust. The cat feels protected and does not have to be afraid of anything. A cat stops the feet under the front legs if it feels completely safe. The tail is then curled around the body. If your cat stops his head in the abdominal area, he feels completely safe and familiar. This attitude also saves much energy because only a small part of the body is free.


Cats probably have nightmares and sweet dreams, depending on memories they have to recall at a specific moment. A few experts say cats can sleepwalking, but this is something to worry about and to be investigated. A sleepwalking cat could look funny, but it is not. Sleepwalking can be related to injuries around the brain or brain damage. Do you have the idea that your cat is sleepwalking? Discuss this with your vet. The vet can do some tests with your cat. Much information is still unknown. Whether cats dream or not, we know one thing for sure: they love to stretch out and lie on your bed or couch.

Can Cats Have Nightmares?

You probably know it as a cat owner. Your cat is sleeping peacefully, and then suddenly it starts to vibrate, make uncontrolled movements with the legs or the lips vibrate. It does not look very calm and comfortable. During dreaming, the large muscles that control other body movements and limbs are turned off to prevent the dreamer from physically acting out dreams. Sometimes the off switch is a bit weak, which is why cats twitch or make running movements or sounds during sleep.

The chance is that your cat has a nightmare, or there is a chance that your cat relives a negative event of the day. There is also a good chance that it is just the normal muscle contractions with REM sleep. Sometimes the movements are so quick that they wake the cat up, causing them to be startled and momentarily confused.

What Do Cats Dream About?

When cats close their eyes, cats likely have dreams that are very similar to those of people. As people, we dream about our daily lives, and cats dream about their lives. We have different life experiences. People dream about things they are interested in during the day, even visual and less logical.

There is no reason to think that animals are different. If you have a dog, you may have warm, fluffy dreams about walking or playing with other pets, and those dreams can answering. Dogs are generally extremely attached to their human owners. Because of this, the chances are that your dog is dreaming of your face, your scent, or the cookies it received that day.

Cats probably also dream about people, but perhaps they fantasize more about how they can annoy their owner or get more food than to please the people. Like humans, cats will probably dream about things that have happened in the recent or distant past. Cats may dream about their feline friends or even their canine companions. Birds that they see out the window or other cats in the neighborhood could also enter their dreams. Young kittens may dream of mama or the littermates or familiar sights and smell from their past.

Wake up Your Cat When It Sleeps

It is, of course, not the intention that an enemy attacks the cat at such a moment. Cats that live in the wild always look for a safe place to sleep. At home, this is also true; you must not wake up a cat. A cat can be severely stressed if it is awakening unexpectedly. For example, children want to play with the cat or visit who wants to pet the cat.

REM sleep is essential for cats, and if this sleep is interrupted, it can cause major damage. Studies on sleep deprivation also indicate that people and other animals with sleep deficits can have serious consequences. The shortening of REM sleep has consequences for all other behaviors such as attention, cognitive skills, and moods.

If you think your cat has a bad dream, it is not a good idea to wake it up. There is a big chance that your cat might be so scared when it wakes up that it uses its nails and teeth. So let a dog, cat, and human sleep well and do not wake them up; otherwise, it can have unforgivable consequences! It is better to leave a sleeping cat alone and wait until it is awake again.

My Cat Is Sleeping Too Much

A cat that does not feel well or has pain withdraws and sleeps more than usual. As an owner, you know your cat, and you know how he usually behaves. If you have the impression that your cat is very much asleep and withdrawn, check what can happen, mainly if the cat was always active.

Cats can also have complaints that can be very painful — special attention to older cats. A cat who has pain when moving will avoid moving and sleeping more. An example of this is osteoarthritis, a chronic joint disease that is common in older cats. Do you suspect that your cat is sleeping more than usual and behaving differently? Then visit the vet.

Video Funny Cats Sleeping

Sleeping Positions of Cats

Cats that sleep have the craziest attitudes. The most common is that a cat rolls up, with the tail folded around itself. Some cats stretched out and sleep on their stomachs while other cats sleep on their backs. The way a cat sleeps says something about how he feels, and the attitude has a meaning — for example, a cat sleeping in a box. A box with four solid walls where your cat can sleep is the perfect form of security. Your cat feels safe in the box. It wants to rest and not be disturbed. In one of my next posts, I will explain more about the sleeping positions of a cat, what they mean and what kind of sleeping positions a cat has.


Cats can dream, and they dream about different things. Cats sleep on average between 10 and 18 hours. One cat sleeps more than the other cat. Cats also have different sleep phases, such as light sleep alternating with deep sleep. Cats probably also dream about people. Even cats will probably dream about things that have happened in the recent or distant past. If a cat sleeps deeply, you can leave it alone. Waking a sleeping cat can have negative consequences. A cat has different sleeping positions.

If you like this post, you might also like similar blog posts. In the cat life section, there are more posts about the life of a cat.

Hopefully, you learned something about sleeping and dreaming cats. Also, if you know someone who likes to know more about Can Cats Dream When They Sleep, feel free to share this post.

By Marleen

Marleen is a truly madly deeply cat lover and founder of That Is for My Cat. She wants to share her knowledge about cats with other people who like to know more about cats.