SLEEP, SLEEP and SLEEP... What else?
That’s why we’re considered by the majority of housewives to be lazy, good-for-nothing,
furry heaps that could be better employed as mittens (at least that’s the
suggestion made by some of the more rebellious members of my supporting
staff). This really is most underserved: we don’t just sleep because we’re
lazy, we sleep because it’s our lifestyle. Cats’ lives can be defined as
long periods of sleep followed by short periods of extremely energy-consuming
activity, aka hunting. Of course (and here I have the decency to look embarrassed)
that’s true only about the wild felines. For us domesticators food is merely
a matter of interrupting all the supporting staff activities by howling
loudly down a stairwell…
But I digress… Even though our energy
usage is small compared to that of, for example the lion or cheetah, instincts
die hard so it will take another couple of thousand years to get cats that
rise with the sun and go to bed with the moon.
Anyway, cats spend about two-thirds
of their lives sleeping, unlike humans, some of whom are up and about the
whole time! Old cats and kittens rest longer, sometimes up to 90% of the
day. Our record is broken only by the sloth (the animal) and the koala
who are active only about two hours a day and sometimes not active at all.
For cats like for humans there are two
kinds of sleep: light sleep and REM sleep. Mature cats mostly have light
sleep, in fact they spend 50% of their time in light sleep, 15% in REM
sleep and the rest 35% they are active. Kittens on the other hand nap,
on average 75% of the time, 60% of that is REM sleep. An explanation is
needed at this point. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement (not something
that has to do with computers, that’s RAM), this is the period in sleep
when an animal’s eye makes up to 30 movements per second. This is when
cats and humans dream. I would tell you what we dream about but you primitive
bipeds wouldn’t understand.
It has been duly noted by many people
that cats are one of the best alarm clocks in the world. The soft jump,
the quiet mew, the gentle nudging of the leg, the viscious attack on the
nose… What cat lover is unfamiliar with this?
Another thing that strikes humans is
our ability to sleep in such weird positions on any surface. You can see