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Dr. Jasmine's cat sleeping
Dr. Jasmine Streeter, DVM
Published: 03 July 2019

dr jasmine perfecting the cat nap medDr Jasmine's dog Sheba enjoys a nap with SoleilI believe a restful sleep is essential for human and animal health and happiness. My cat Soleil Jus Soleil can attest to this statement. She can sleep through anything and on almost any surface. Just as soon as she wakes, eats and goes potty, she’s back in her lair dreaming of dropped ahi tuna and leftover sushi rolls. On average, she and many other cats like her sleep and doze between 15 to 20 hours a day. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least seven hours each night to promote optimal health and wellbeing. 

Soleil’s restful moments energize her for her thrilling kitty hunts consisting of terrorizing the household in the wee hours of the night. Watching her languorous lifestyle has inspired me to establish better sleeping habits which have led to increased happiness and productivity.

After doing a little research, I found that Soleil’s sleeping habits, very closely resemble the habits mentioned in the article, “Are You Getting Enough Sleep?” on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. 

  • Soleil is consistent in her sleeping schedule and generally will sleep and wake up around the same time regardless of what day it is, weekends included. If you own a cat, you know there is no such thing as “sleeping in.”
  • Soleil engages in minimal electronic devices during the day, except the occasional “Black Mirror” episode or Netflix documentary, which makes it much easier for her to disconnect and fall right asleep.
  • In addition to decreasing her electronic usage, Soleil avoids caffeine, tobacco, nicotine, alcohol, and large meals before bedtime which are harmful to her health. These habits help cultivate an ideal sleep schedule.
  • Lastly, Soleil engages in physical activities during the day which help her fall asleep at night more easily. These activities include stalking plants, spying through windows and jumping from unacceptable surfaces.

All of these habits lead Soleil to a blissful night’s sleep filled with sweet kitty dreams.

I’ve witnessed Soleil kneading her paws and twitching her whiskers while sleeping, which I, like many other fur parents, interpreted as dreaming. A recent article on sleep published by the National Sleep Foundation, found animals and humans are very similar when it comes to sleep. “[Mammals] all have the same fundamental sleep cycle. During REM sleep, you see the same kind of eye movement, paralysis and twitching across species”, says Adrian Morrison, DVM, PhD, professor Behavior Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Center.

If we ever truly wish to know if our pets dream, I feel we should just ask. Until then, I’ll keep watching silently with loving eyes and leave you with my favorite quote from Victor Hugo: “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.” I wish you Sweet Dreams.

Dr. Jasmine Streeter writes about pets, lifestyle and nature. You can email her at drjasmine@theskanner.com.

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