The owners of Maine Coons are well aware that their pets are great lovers of sleep. They can be found peacefully napping in a variety of places at any time. Scientists have calculated that the average cat is quite capable of sleeping up to 22 hours a day. But sleep is not always a sign of peace and well–being. In some situations, excessive drowsiness may indicate a disease, be a sign of an imbalance in the animal’s body.
The origin of a cat’s long sleep
Initially, Maine Coons, like other cats, are nocturnal animals. Such were their distant ancestors, and so are the modern mustachioed-striped ones. This quality is especially familiar to residents of rural areas, private houses and suburban areas. Living in full or partial freedom, cats come home only to eat and sleep off, preferring to travel or hunt at night.
Domestic cats, who have been living indoors all their lives, rarely wander around the apartment at night, so they sleep much more than their more free counterparts. For them, a significant daytime sleep is simply necessary, since the body needs to recover and digest the prey. How domestic fuzzies sleep so much and retain the flexibility of the spine and joints, muscle elasticity with little physical exertion is a mystery that has not yet succumbed to scientists.
The normal duration of the animal’s sleep
Like human offspring, kittens sleep almost all the time, interrupting only for food. This is completely normal, because their body is still very weak. In a dream, they grow and grow stronger. A slightly grown-up Maine Coon kitten already sleeps less, but still at least half a day.
An adult Maine Coon sleeps about the same amount or a little less/more. It is impossible to name an exact figure, because all animals have a pronounced personality. A lot depends on the character. Some cats are energetic, mobile, they play a lot, have fun. Others are inert, sluggish, prone to weight gain and much less mobile than their vigorous counterparts. Most of the time they just sleep.
There is a popular expression “sleeps like a cat, with half an eye.” This is a very apt remark. Unlike a person who has to sleep at least 7-8 hours in a row to restore energy, cats sleep “in short intervals”. On average, they just doze off during the main time, without losing alertness. As soon as the slightest rustle is heard, the cats immediately wake up.
The whole dream of our Maine Coon pets is divided into two phases:
- Drowsiness, superficial “slow” sleep – 20-30 minutes.
- Deep, “fast” sleep – 5-7 minutes. At this time, animals, like humans, have dreams. The owners of cats are well aware of this, since a sleeping pet can twitch its paws in a dream, “run” and even meow. All this clearly indicates the presence of dreams.
The duration of sleep can be influenced by various external factors, for example, severe fatigue, stress, temperature changes. Physiology also affects the duration of rest. Pregnant cats sleep much more – this is the need of an organism experiencing increased stress.
Natural causes of sleep prolongation in cats
A healthy cat can sleep more in the following cases:
- Severe fatigue. After a night of hunting, active play or prolonged wakefulness, the animal needs to restore strength and expended energy, so it sleeps much more than usual.
- Hot weather. At high temperatures, it is necessary to save energy and water reserves in the body. This is well known to animals native to arid and hot places. The ancestors of cats originally lived in deserts, so they were perfectly able to maintain their strength in the heat and with high dryness of the air. They slept during the day, and at night they were more active when there is no sun, and the temperature drops significantly. Modern cats use genetic memory and prefer to take a nap at noon, so they sleep more than usual in the hot season.
- Cold winter, rain, snow or low indoor air temperature. In this case, purrs also sleep a lot, saving heat and trying to spend less energy. Curled up in a tight ball in a dream, it is easier to maintain the balance of temperature in the tissues of the body. This method allows you to survive the cold and not freeze.
- Pregnancy. During gestation, the cat has to live for three, or even for seven or eight. This is a load on the body, and a natural way to preserve strength is a long sleep.
- Use of a number of medications with sedative properties. They affect the nervous system and cause some of its inhibition, which leads to an extension of the duration of sleep. Drowsiness goes away on its own as soon as the duration of the drug ends.
- Transferred surgical intervention. After the operation and the effects of anesthesia, the animal sleeps a lot for two reasons: painful sensations due to surgery and the effects of the anesthetic drug. It is also known that during sleep the body recovers faster, faster healing occurs. As you recover, the duration of sleep will decrease to the usual norm.
- Vaccination carried out. Vaccinations cause a response in the body, somewhat similar to the disease. The animal feels weak, sluggish, so it sleeps a lot to recover.
- Castration or sterilization. This is not only severe stress, but also hormonal changes in the body of a cat or a cat. While perestroika is underway, a pet can be sleepy and sluggish.
- Old age. The older the cat, the longer his sleep lasts. This is due to the aging of the whole body, lack of energy, rapid fatigue and, as a result, unwillingness to move a lot, as in his youth. The reason for the increased duration of sleep may also be various age-related and chronic diseases that further weaken the pet.
- Recovery after illness. This is an energy-consuming and difficult period for the cat, so he rests a lot and takes a nap.
Stress. The reaction to it is first the excitation of the nervous system, and then a strong inhibition.
All these conditions are not accompanied by additional symptoms that give reason to believe that there are negative reasons for such a long sleep.
Pathological causes of too long sleep
If the cat sleeps unusually much, it may also indicate a latent disease. Attention should be paid to the following additional symptoms:
- fever, fever;
- the animal tends to hide, chooses a dark corner or a hard-to-reach place;
- lack of appetite;
- refusal of water;
- completely ignoring your favorite treats or toys;
- nausea, vomiting;
- digestive disorders;
- heavy, hoarse breathing, runny nose;
- suppurating eyes;
- paling of tissues in the mouth;
- trembling, shaky, uncertain gait;
- meowing, including in a dream;
- acute reaction to touch, up to aggression;
- matted, untidy wool.
These symptoms may indicate that an unusually long sleep is not an increased duration of rest, but an indicator of health problems in your Maine Coon. In such cases, the pet must be urgently shown to the veterinarian, because the cause may be an illness, including life-threatening animal and requiring urgent treatment.