It is said that the cat sleeps with one eye open. In fact cats have two levels of sleep: a deep sleep, in which it is totally lost to the world, and a shallower level in which it probably dreams. The cat spends more time sleeping than any other family pet. Attempts to analyze the cat’s sleeping pattern have revealed that on average it sleeps about six hours a night with one hour of shallow sleep.
This is characterized by involuntary movements: whiskers that suddenly tremble, paws and tail that twitch nervously and fur that stands on end. Flickering eyelids and sudden shifts in position are also typical of this sleep level as are faint meows -all of which make the cat look as though it is dreaming. Whilst the cat sleeps a lot it is not always a peaceful sleep. Depending on the individual or type of cat, the sleep pattern may be more or less turbulent according to the time of day or night, the place in which the cat has chosen to curl up, or the state of its digestion.
The adult cat on average also spends the equivalent of fifty percent of its day in shallow sleep, fifteen percent in deep sleep and only thirty-five percent wide awake. Even if a cat changes its circumstances it will not change its sleeping pattern. More sensible than people, if it is suddenly given more freedom it will not make up for lost time gallivanting out on the tiles, it will sleep as usual when it needs to sleep.
Sometimes when a cat wakes up it will lie for a few seconds with its eyes open but looking as if it were still in some dream. Can cats really dream? No one knows the answer. They appear to be dreaming in shallow sleep, and those involuntary movements make it look as if they are cl1asing some prey in a dream, but this is probably a misinterpretation of a purely mechanical, physical reaction.
However, when a cat really sleeps badly and wakes up too suddenly, the reason is quite clear: a healthy cat sleeps well and at its own usual times. If it is sleeping badly it is a good idea to get the vet to look at your cat.