Do Cats Dream? Yes. In fact, many cats enjoy being outdoors during the nighttime. Most indoor cats sleep so little, they even wake up during the night.
WHAT IS REM SLEEP IN CATS?
Some scientists believe that cats actually dream during their REM (rapid eye movement) stage. The REM stage is similar to dreaming. In other words, you may think you’re sleeping, but your body is in an extremely active state. The most widely accepted scientific view on why felines dream is that they experience a “jet lag” when they travel from one area to another. Scientists have developed a method using which they can determine when a cat enters into REM sleep stage.
As cats age, they become less sensitive to things such as pain and not cry out if they are hurt. They will not purr either. Although they will play a lot and will eat and drink a great deal more than younger cats, they will not “doze off” by sleeping. Instead, they will experience REM sleep, which is their body’s way of repairing itself. Some think this is because they are processing painful experiences while in REM sleep. Others believe that the changes in hormone levels are what is causing this.
Some studies have shown that REM sleep can actually be predictive of how long your cat will live. This means that if you provide your feline with stimulation, such as stimulating his or her sense of smell during their REM sleep, they may live longer. Other researchers believe that the study simply means that cats have different types of REM sleep patterns that differ from ours.
WHAT ARE NON-TRAUMATIC DREAMS THAT CATS EXPERIENCE?
Other scientists believe that cats experience non-traumatic dreams. Non-traumatic dreams are dreams that do not have any emotional or physiological arousal. It may seem hard to believe that animals dream, but recent studies suggest that cats dream. Sleep researchers have found evidence that suggests that the brain has a significant role in dream recognition. In fact, there are now techniques available that allow the brain to track brain wave activities during the dreaming process.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence that supports the notion that cats experience non-traumatic dreaming. Recent studies have found that cats spend at least 15 hours per day in their deep sleep phase. This is much more than any other feline mammal. Since most kittens are asleep for an hour or less each day, it would take them an hour and a half just to reach the deepest part of their sleep cycle. Most kittens never outgrow their dream stage. Over the course of their lifetime, kittens are likely to experience multiple dreams per day.
Many felines enjoy recurring nightmares. This is believed to be because of a phenomenon known as sleep apnea. When a person stops breathing while they are asleep, they stop experiencing dreams. Cats seem to experience a dream state while they are sleeping. Many cats even dream about being eaten by a snake.
WHAT ARE THE THEORIES BEHIND CATNIP?
Sleep scientists have found that kittens that are introduced to catnip early in their lives experience an increase in brain activity and better quality sleep. Scientists believe that brain activity increases due to the increased amounts of dopamine that is released. Dopamine is responsible for the sense of smell, movement, cognition, and emotion. The more dopamine is released into the brain during deep sleep, the better the brain’s ability to remember things and make decisions. A study showed that Kittens that are given a dose of catnip before going to bed not only had an improved chance of having a good sleep, they also had more behavior problems and sleep issues as they got older.