I previously answered the question ‘What do dogs dream about?‘. Another popular pet which people are curious to know more about is cats. Do cats dream? This is a question many cat owners have pondered at one point or another. While we know that humans dream and dogs dream, it wasn’t until fairly recently that we discovered that cats do too. In fact, cats are just like us when it comes to dreaming. They experience the same stages of sleep, including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when most dreaming occurs.
Studies have shown that cats spend about 15 hours a day sleeping, and about a quarter of that time is spent in the REM stage of sleep. During this stage, their brains are highly active, and they’re likely dreaming.
One way to tell if your cat is dreaming is to watch for physical signs. You may notice your cat’s paws twitching, their whiskers moving, or their eyes darting back and forth under their eyelids. These are all indications that your cat is in the REM stage of sleep and is likely dreaming.
What Do Cats Dream About?
So, what do cats dream about? While we can’t be sure of the exact content of their dreams, we can make some educated guesses based on their behavior and physiology. It’s likely they have nightmares like humans other animals – though they have ‘good dreams’ just as often.
- Hunting and Chasing
Cats are natural hunters, and it’s no surprise that they often dream about hunting and chasing prey. You may notice your cat twitching or pawing in their sleep, which could be a sign that they’re dreaming about hunting or playing. A piece of research from 1960 by Michel Jouvet, showed cats hissing and arching their backs – as if they were hunting prey in their sleep.
- Exploring and Roaming
Cats are curious creatures, and they love to explore their surroundings. In their dreams, they may be reliving some of their favorite adventures or exploring new places. You might notice your cat’s paws twitching or their whiskers moving as they dream about wandering through a new territory.
- Interacting with Other Cats
Cats are social animals, and they often dream about interacting with other cats. They may dream about playing with a littermate or snuggling up with their favorite human. If you have more than one cat, you might even notice them snuggling up together in their sleep, indicating that they’re dreaming about each other.
Just like humans, cats may dream about past experiences. This could include memories from their kittenhood, such as nursing from their mother or playing with their littermates. It could also include memories from their life with you, such as cuddling on the couch or playing with their favorite toy. They have an incredible long term memory and this may partly be due to their dreams being used to consolidate memories/information from the day prior – similar to humans.
Unfortunately, not all cat dreams are pleasant. Some cats may experience anxiety or nightmares in their sleep. You may notice your cat twitching or vocalizing in their sleep, which could be a sign that they’re having a bad dream. If you think your cat is experiencing anxiety or nightmares, it’s important to talk to your vet about ways to help them feel more comfortable.
- Processing Emotions
Like humans, cats may also dream about processing their emotions. If your cat has had a particularly stressful or exciting day, they may dream about that experience as a way to process their feelings. This could include dreaming about a recent vet visit or a particularly fun play session.
- Recalling Smells
Cats have an incredibly strong sense of smell and use it to explore their world. They can smell things we cannot and use their noses to determine whether something is safe to eat or not. In their dreams, they may be reliving some of their favorite scents, such as catnip or a particular food they love.
Cats love to play, and it’s not uncommon for them to dream about it. They may dream about chasing a toy or playing with their favorite catnip mouse. You may notice your cat twitching or pawing in their sleep as if they’re playing a game.
- Protecting Their Territory
Cats are territorial animals, and they may dream about protecting their turf. This could include dreaming about chasing away a rival cat or defending their home from an intruder. As I mentioned earlier you might notice your cat growling or hissing in their sleep, which could be a sign that they’re dreaming about protecting their territory.
- Resting and Sleeping
Finally, cats may dream about something as simple as sleeping. While it may seem odd to us, cats may dream about theact of sleeping or resting. This could be a sign that they’re in a deep state of relaxation and enjoying a restful sleep.
What is the Purpose of Dreaming for Cats?
So, why do cats dream? While we can’t know for sure, it’s likely that cats dream for the same reasons that humans do. Just like us, cats experience a lot of new information and emotional experiences throughout the day, and their brains need time to process and consolidate this information. Dreaming may be one way that cats process and make sense of their experiences.
In addition, cats are highly sensory animals, and their dreams may be a way for them to explore and process sensory information. They may dream about hunting, playing, or exploring their environment, all activities that provide them with valuable sensory input.
Overall, while the exact purpose of dreaming is still a mystery, it’s clear that it serves an important function in the brain. Cats, like many other animals, experience this phenomenon, and their dreams may provide insight into their experiences and emotions.
Do Cats Dream in Colour?
It’s not fully clear whether cats dream in color or not, but there is some evidence to suggest that they do. Studies have shown that cats have color vision, although it’s not as vivid as that of humans. Cats have fewer color receptors in their eyes, which means they can’t distinguish between as many colors as we can. However, they can still see a range of colors, including blues and greens, and they can see better in dim light than humans can.
Given that cats can see in color, it’s likely that they also dream in color. When we dream, our brains create images and scenes that are often vivid and lifelike, and it’s thought that these images are created based on our experiences and memories. Since cats have the ability to see in color, it’s reasonable to assume that their dreams are also colored.
In summary, cats do dream, and their dreams are just as mysterious and fascinating as ours. While we can’t say for sure what cats dream about, we can make some educated guesses based on their behavior and physiology. If you’re curious about your cat’s dreams, pay attention to their body language and behavior while they sleep. Who knows, you might just catch a glimpse into their mysterious dream world!