What Do Cats Dream About When They Sleep?

What Do Cats Dream About When They Sleep?

Have you ever wondered what cats dream about when they sleep? Cats spend roughly 16 to 18 hours a day sleeping and, like humans, they experience Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Most dreaming occurs during the REM stage, although some dreams happen in the non-REM stage, which are more fragmentary and less visual.

Cats may twitch their whiskers, paws, or even snore while sleeping, indicating they might dream. But what exactly do they dream about? Though it’s challenging to know, some experts believe that cat dreams could involve daily experiences, social interactions, and hunting.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cats experience REM sleep, where most dreaming occurs
  2. Dreaming in cats may involve daily experiences and social interactions
  3. Cats’ sleeping behaviors, such as whisker twitching, suggest they are dreaming

The Dreaming Process in Cats

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Phase

Cats experience the REM phase during sleep, similar to humans. This stage is marked by rapid eye movement, faster heart rate, and increased breathing. Most of their dreaming occurs during the REM phase. In this state, your cat might twitch its paws whiskers, or make slight noises.

Non-rapid Eye Movement (NREM) Phase

Aside from REM sleep, cats also spend time in the NREM phase. Their dreams in this stage tend to be more fragmented and less visual. Although not as vivid as REM sleep dreams, the NREM phase still plays a role in your cat’s dream world.

Interpretation of Cat Dreams

Prey Chasing Scenarios

When your cat dreams, it’s likely that they’re imagining scenarios related to their natural instincts. One common theme in their dreams could be chasing prey, such as mice or birds. This is an essential part of their biology and helps them practice their hunting skills while asleep.

Territorial Disputes

Another aspect of your cat’s dreams could revolve around defending their territory. Cats are known to be territorial creatures, and they might envision scenarios in which they protect their domain from intruders, such as other cats or animals. These dream scenarios further hone their survival instincts and ensure they’re ready for any challenges they may face in real life.

Famous Studies on Cat Dreams

In scientific research, studies have measured electrical waves in cat brains during sleep, revealing patterns similar to those in humans. This suggests that cats likely dream about their daily experiences, such as playing, stalking prey, and interactions with their owners.

For example, your cat could dream about the bird they saw outside or cuddle on your lap. As you observe your cat’s sleeping behavior, it’s fascinating to consider the dream world they might be experiencing.

Comparing Cat’s Dreams with Human Dreams


Like humans, cats also experience Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the stage in which dreams occur. In both species, dreams consist of activities from their daily lives, such as playing or hunting for cats and various daily routines for humans.


Though cats and humans share similarities in their dreams, the content and details can differ vastly. Cats dream about their instincts and natural behaviors, while human dreams can be more complex, involving emotional or abstract themes.

The Influence of a Cat’s Lifestyle on their Dreams

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats

Indoor cats may dream more about playing with toys and interacting with their owners. In contrast, outdoor cats have dreams involving hunting prey, exploring their environment, and interacting with other animals. Their dreams reflect their daily experiences and activities.

Effects of Age

As cats age, their dreams may change. Kittens tend to dream more vividly, dreaming about playing, exploring, and socializing with other kittens. Adult cats may have more subdued dreams, including memories of earlier experiences, while senior cats might exhibit less dream activity overall.

Do Cats Dream in Color?

Cats do dream, but whether they dream in color remains a question. While studies on cat dreams are limited, we know that cats have fewer color receptors in their eyes compared to humans. This suggests that their color perception during waking hours is likely different from ours.

When your cat is asleep and possibly dreaming, its brain activity could be influenced by its color perception abilities. However, there is no concrete evidence to confirm if cats dream in color or not.

The Role of Dreams in a Cat’s Cognitive Health

Cats, like humans, dream about their day-to-day lives, which include playing, stalking prey, and other activities. These dreams occur during REM sleep, crucial for maintaining your cat’s cognitive health.

REM sleep allows your cat’s brain to process and consolidate memories, helping them learn and adapt to their environment. Ensure your cat has a comfortable and quiet space to sleep, as this contributes to their overall cognitive well-being.

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Avatar of Nidhi


Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *