Most of us are familiar with the saying “the cat’s out of the bag”, but have you ever wondered if that’s really true? After all, cats are known for their love of napping and their mysterious nocturnal habits. So, are cats nocturnal?
The answer is… it depends. While it’s true that cats are more active at night than during the day, there are also a number of factors that can influence a cat’s sleep schedule. Let’s take a closer look at the question “are cats nocturnal?”, and explore some of the things that affect a cat’s sleep habits.
What Does “Nocturnal” Mean?
First, let’s define the term “nocturnal”. When we say that an animal is nocturnal, we mean that they are most active during the night. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they sleep during the day, but they are more likely to be up and about during the nighttime hours.
There are a number of reasons why an animal might be nocturnal. For example, nocturnal animals are less likely to be seen by predators. And, in some cases, the night air is cooler and easier to breathe.
Why Are Cats Nocturnal?
There are a few theories as to why cats may be nocturnal. One theory is that it’s a holdover from their wild ancestors. Cats are descendants of wild cats, which were nocturnal hunters. So, it makes sense that their descendants (i.e. domestic cats) would inherit this nocturnal tendency.
Another theory has to do with the fact that cats are predators. In the wild, cats hunt small mammals, birds, and reptiles. These animals are most active at night, so it makes sense that cats would be too.
Factors That Affect a Cat’s Sleep Schedule
As we mentioned, there are a number of factors that can influence a cat’s sleep schedule. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.
One factor that can affect a cat’s sleep schedule is age. Just like human babies, kittens need a lot of sleep. In fact, kittens can sleep up to 20 hours a day! As they get older, they will gradually start to sleep less. By the time they reach adulthood, they will typically sleep for around 12-16 hours a day.
Another factor that can influence a cat’s sleep schedule is their environment. If a cat lives in a household where there is a lot of activity during the day (e.g. children coming and going, people working from home, etc.), they may be more likely to be awake at night. This is because it’s easier for them to find a quiet spot to sleep when the house is quiet.
On the other hand, if a cat lives in a household that is very quiet during the day (e.g. everyone works outside the home), they may be more likely to be active during the day. This is because they won’t have as many opportunities to sleep during the day.
Believe it or not, diet can also play a role in a cat’s sleep schedule. Cats that eat a high-protein diet may be more likely to be awake at night. This is because protein takes longer to digest, and can give cats a “second wind”.
On the other hand, cats that eat a high-carb diet may be more likely to be sleepy during the day. This is because carbs are easier to digest and can make cats feel sleepy.
Finally, health can also affect a cat’s sleep schedule. Cats that are sick or in pain may be more likely to be awake at night. This is because they may be uncomfortable or have difficulty sleeping.
Conversely, cats that are healthy and have no medical conditions may be more likely to sleep during the day. This is because they will feel comfortable and have no trouble sleeping.
So, are cats nocturnal? The answer is… it depends. While cats are more active at night than during the day, there are a number of factors that can influence their sleep schedule. Age, environment, diet, and health are all important factors to consider.