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Sleeps and Naps: Feline Style

Cats are the world's best sleepers. They slumber away about 60% of their lives--16 hours out of 24. At this rate a nine-year old cat has been awake for only about three years! Since cats are so efficient at obtaining their protein-rich food, they have plenty of time to rest up for the next hunting trip (or visit to the kitchen). A typical feline day includes over fifteen hours of sleeping, and dozing, four to six hours of grooming and playing, with hunting, eating and exploring making up the rest of the day.

There are three types of adult feline sleep: the brief nap, the longer light sleep, and the deep sleep. A napping cat is on "radar patrol", scanning the environment for any small sound. The periods of light sleep and deep sleep alternate. When Kitty settles down for more than a brief nap, the phase of light sleep lasts for about a half hour. Then, for six to seven minutes, he experiences deep sleep. At this point the cat's body relaxes and he appears to be dreaming (twitching and quivering). After the deep sleep, the adult cat then returns to another bout of thirty minutes of light sleep until he eventually wakes up.

When choosing a site for your cat's bed, keep in mind the feline need for warmth and security (high and protected). It has been observed that the temperature of the room is a determining factor in the sleeping cat's body position. At less than 55 degrees F., the cat is curled up with his head tucked into his body. As the temperature increases, the cat's sleeping position opens up. At over 70 degrees F., the cat is uncurled with paws out in front. Upon waking, the supple cat usually takes a few minutes to stretch and restore his circulation. A yawn or two later, a quick face wash, and watch out!--he's ready for action.




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