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What Do Cats Dream About?

  • Post category:Behavior
  • Post last modified:April 13, 2020
  • Reading time:6 mins read
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One thing that seems obvious among cat owners is the fact that cats love to sleepThey love it so much that they often spend between 15 to 20 hours out of every day sleeping. The hours of sleep are usually scattered conveniently throughout the day. 

It’s safe to say that cats have indeed mastered the art of catnapping. Cats are in a deep state of sleep only a quarter of the time they are actually sleeping.

Do Cats Dream?

Cats are similar to humans in that we both experience REM while we are sleeping. REM is short for Rapid Eye Movement. Dreaming most often occurs during this cycle of sleep – for both us and our feline companions. So it is safe to say that, yes, cats DO dream. 

If you are lucky enough to own a cat, then you are probably aware of the rapid twitching behavior that most cats experience while they are sleeping. 

This is a sure indicator that your feline is dreaming as well. 

What Do Cats Dream About?

It is believed that cats primarily dream about cat related activities such as hunting, playing, chasing, getting petted, and any other normal cat behavior. They may be reliving the events of the past day through their dreams. 

Cats sometimes twitch or make short rapid paw movements when they are in a dream state. This is perfectly normal and most likely associated with what they are actually dreaming of in that moment.

It is believed that cats also dream about their owners and any related activities that they experience while they’re awake with you such as being petted or being played with.

For example, if your cat has a favorite toy, they may be dreaming about playing with that particular toy when they are asleep.

I’d like to think that my cats mostly dream about their laser light, because I do tend to play with them using a laser pointer for at least a half hour a day. 

Even hearing the clicking or keychain-like noise will wake them right up out of a deep sleep. They get so excited about laser pointers.

Can Cats Have Bad Dreams?

There have been several studies done that show that cats do actually experience bad dreams or nightmares from time to time. This may be due to something that scared them while they were awake. This could also happen if they went through any trauma in their lives. 

My cat, Shadow, once got lost near Minneapolis for almost a month. I ended up getting her back alive and in one piece, but the whole event was rather traumatic for her. 

I remember watching her sleep some nights, and it was during these REM dream states that I would hear her whimper or make other sad crying noises while she slept. I’m almost certain that she was having a nightmare about her time lost near the big city. 

Nowadays, she doesn’t seem to have these types of dreams while she sleeps, and that makes me feel a lot better obviously. 

What If Your Cat Is Having a Nightmare?

what do cats dream about

The best thing for you to do in this situation is to just let your cats finish sleeping. You’re better off not waking them up, because they may not have a positive reaction to being woken up during a nightmare. 

They may react to being woken up by clawing, hissing, biting, scratching, or growling. And really, who can blame them for that? I think even I hiss when I get woken up before I’m ready. 

So, let them sleep and maybe when they finally do wake up, you can give them a special cat treat or an extra long petting session. This will help them overcome any anxiety they might have gotten from their bad dream. 

Final Thoughts

I think it’s so cute when I see my cats dreaming. I can tell what type of dream they may be having based off how their body is reacting to the dream.

Like I said earlier, I’m pretty sure that my cats dream mostly about their laser light since that is the main toy that gets them excited enough to wake right up out of a deep sleep.

All dreams do come to an end – even nightmares, so just let your cat sleep it out. Don’t wake them up. They will be better off just waking up on their own.