The cat is an animal that has a biological rhythm very different from ours, in terms of hours of activity, sleep and feeding. However, it is important to understand this rhythm in order to also understand the behaviors of our little indoor felines and to be able to meet their needs.
The cat’s sleep cycle
The cat spends about 16 hours a day sleeping, which is on average two thirds of its time! Although it is often referred to as a nocturnal animal, this definition is not accurate since the cat actually has a “polyphasic” lifestyle, i.e. it alternates the sleep and wake-up phases throughout the day.
Nevertheless, it has peaks of activity corresponding to the most favourable times for hunting small animals in the wild, at dusk and dawn. Sleep is essential in cats and especially kittens, as it is during the cat that the body produces growth hormones. If the kitten can sleep many hours at a time, the adult cat performs its 13 to 16 hours of sleep several times in a day, interspersed with periods of activity such as play, outings and meals or “snacks”.
The rhythm of the cat’s diet
The cat is a “snack” animal that enjoys making several small meals a day, including at night. Thus, he can return to his bowl up to 16 times in the space of 24 hours, hence the importance of offering him available croquettes at will. However, giving it one to two real daily meals as a supplement, based on moist food, allows it to provide a more complete and tasty nutrition. In addition, the cat being a punctual animal and attached to the habits, serving him meals at fixed time (morning and evening for example) helps to ritualize the food intake and reassure him.
How does a Cat day go?
As you will have understood, your cat spends most of his time sleeping and eating! But other occupations are essential to his physical and mental balance, such as play sessions as well as hunting if he is lucky enough to have access to the outdoors. In nature, these two activities are closely related and the majority of games played by the kitten have the characteristic of simulating a hunting activity.
Later, the adult cat will continue to exercise them since the gambling behavior is essentially derived from the hunting instinct and thus constitutes a natural de-stressing for our small predator, as domesticated as it is. The game therefore occupies on average a third of its time, hunting being part of for cats that can go out. Otherwise, providing hanging toys or balls that act as “prey” is recommended for fun and well-being, as well as a cat tree that allows him to jump, spend and claw.
What if my cat prevents me from sleeping?
The cat sleeps a lot during the day, it can unfortunately happen that it prevents us from sleeping at night … Fortunately, a few tricks make it less active during the day, starting with keeping him awake during the day as soon as possible: offer him sessions of play or hugs and leave at his disposal a maximum of toys during your Absence. You can find electric toys that help stimulate the urge to play in the cat by imitating the movements of a prey, or fake mice in synthetic material that you will be able to hang at the end of a wire.
Another “trick” is to give him a more important meal before going to bed. Finally, try to keep a regular sleep cycle yourself, by setting up an identical routine (toilet, reading, curfew…) so that your little companion gets used to it and can model his rhythm on the habits he observes in your home.