Dear Green Gato #16 – Kitty Dreams

What do kitties dream about when they take a little kitty snooze?

What do kitties dream about when they take a little kitty snooze?

Dear Green Gato,

I have a big boy tabby cat named Louis. Louis is huge on naps, just like most cats are. He naps in the morning, in the evening, and anytime in between. I’ve noticed that while he’s napping, he sometimes makes odd movements and twitches. His eyes will bat, his feet will twitch, and he will have little spasms all over his body. Sometimes his tongue ends up sticking out. Why does my cat twitch while he’s asleep? Is he dreaming? Is he okay? Thanks!

-Francine S.

Dear Francine,

Well the good news is, it certainly sounds like Louis is doing just fine! Many cats are “huge on naps” and almost all cats have the twitchy sensation that you’re pointing to. As it turns out, Louis and all other twitchy cats are most likely dreaming! You can be assured that Louis is healthy and safe and exhibiting normal behavior for a cat when he does this.

As you know, most humans don’t move much while they’re asleep, even if they’re dreaming. For animals, it is much more common for their muscles to participate in their dreams. There are different stages of sleep that we all go through; the deepest of which being REM sleep. REM sleep is the deepest level of sleep, and can usually only be achieved while in a trustworthy and completely calm situation. So if Louis is twitching while you’re in the room, or after he’s fallen asleep in your arms, you can take it as a compliment that he feels most comfortable around you.

Most dreams that cats have tend to be pleasant, and mimic a hunting experience, a memory of some birds outside, or even a great meal. However, sometimes cats can get so deep into an intense REM sleep that they actually jolt themselves awake. Not to worry, Louis will be able to calm himself down in no time. Cats tend to keep their dream movements pretty concentrated and don’t end up sleepwalking, unlike dogs who are known to sleep-bark and run!

The only reason that you would want to consult a veterinarian is if Louis is having these sort of tremors while he’s awake, or if the shakes seem to get intense to the point that they could be considered a seizure. From what you described, it seems like the behavior is totally normal and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Enjoy your naps with Louis, and try to imagine what he’s dreaming about! Is he dreaming about tuna, or that spider that he hunted last week? Have fun!

-GG

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