Ever wondered, “What do cats dream about?” You’re not alone. Considering the fact that there’s literally a nap named after felines (hello, catnap!), it’s no shock that these precious pets spend a good chunk of their time sleeping — about 15 hours per day on average. So it makes sense that they must have something going on in their brains while they snooze. Luckily for us, cat experts have a pretty darn good idea of what a cat dream might look like.
What do cats dream about?
As it turns out, scientists have been curious about cats’ dreams since at least the 1960s. Around that time, sleep researcher Michel Jouvet studied cats’ sleeping patterns in a series of experiments and found out something interesting happened to the kitties during REM sleep — aka the sleep characterized by rapid eye movements, more dreaming and bodily movement, and faster pulse and breathing.
According to Jouvet’s research, when cats’ REM sleep began, they stopped simply lying there quietly as they had done in other stages of sleep. They started to pounce, hiss, arch their backs, and act in a much more aggressive manner overall. As clinical and evolutionary psychologist Deirdre Barrett, PhD, explained in an interview with People, these cats essentially looked like they were hunting mice in their dreams. Although our cats are domesticated and certainly don’t need to search far for their food, it appears that they still have that natural predatory wiring to hunt, according to Sleep.org. And as every cat owner knows, the only thing our kitties seem to love more than sleeping is eating — though we can’t say we’re too shocked about that!
That said, feline fans might be pleased to know that food isn’t always the only thing on cats’ minds while they catch some Zzz’s. According to The Purina PetCare Advice Centre, cats actually have the ability to recall and relive just about anything they did during the day while they dream. So for all we know, they could be reimagining the moment they played with a favorite toy — or perhaps that one time they scratched up the fancy sofa.
This begs the question: Do cats dream about their owners at all? Perhaps — but don’t say “aww” just yet. Mother Nature Network reports that while cats probably dream about their humans, they possibly fantasize most about either annoying us or getting more food from us. Again, we have to say that we’re not too surprised.
Sigh — it’s a good thing cats are so cute!