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Do Cats Dream? (Are They Really Chasing Rabbits?)

Do Cats Dream?

Is your cat twitching in its sleep? Is it making noises? Then there is a good chance it’s dreaming, and doing a rather noisy job of it as well. It’s probably not chasing rabbits as many owners seem to automatically assume when they see dreaming dogs and cats, but it is dreaming of something.

So, let’s see if we can get to the bottom of whether adults dream, what they dream of and why they can fall into such deep sleeps from time to time.

Do Cats Dream?

Scientists theorized that animals dream just like humans do, but because they couldn’t exactly ask them, they weren’t able to confirm this for a number of years. Eventually, it was thanks to a study on rats that we were able to say for sure that animals did dream, although what they dream about isn’t as clear and probably never will be.

Why do Cats Dream?

We don’t really know why cats dream. In fact, we don’t know why any animals dream, including us humans. There are plenty of theories, but the truth is that even the purpose of sleep has eluded us, which leaves dreams someway off our understanding.

It is thought that we need to sleep in order to recover and to process the things we learned throughout the day. We know that the body recovers during sleep and we know that sleep deprived individuals have limited cognitive function, poor memory and even signs of muscle atrophy. Assuming all mammals are the same then it’s likely that cats dream for the same reason, even though you’d think they would have a lot less information to process at the end of the day (or several times during it, as the case may be).

What do Cats Dream of?

We can’t say for sure just what cats are dreaming about, but the process is much the same as us humans. They enter different stages of sleep, with the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) state being when dreams occur. It’s unlikely that they will be dreaming of chasing rabbits and other prey if they didn’t go anything of the sort during the day and it’s much more likely that they will simply be reliving an event (or a surreal mishmash of events) that occurred during the day.

So, cats are much more likely to be dreaming of chasing their feline siblings around, playing with their toys or even getting cuddles from their owners.

Why is my Cat Difficult to Wake?

Cats can slip into a very deep sleep just like we can. This is especially true if they are in REM sleep, so there is usually nothing to worry about if the cat is snoring away and refusing to wake up when you’re calling it or gently prodding it.

Some cats are also more prone to deep sleeps than others. Cats that are usually very anxious and alert tend to always be on the brink of being woken, whereas cats that are usually very relaxed and content tend to shut off from their surroundings much easier.