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Home > Cats > Why Do Cats Fake Sleep? 8 Common Reasons

Why Do Cats Fake Sleep? 8 Common Reasons

Cute yellow tabby cat sleeping on fake green grass

Cats are generally difficult creatures to understand. And that’s why it’s tricky to decipher some of their strange behaviors. Let’s talk about their sleeping patterns, for example. It’s no secret that they often have a polyphasic sleep schedule, whereby they don’t sleep much throughout the night, but take multiple naps during the day.

What we find to be strange is that those naps are sometimes not real naps, but fake ones. Why would they resort to such tactics? We don’t know, unfortunately, and we can only speculate on some of the most likely potential reasons.


The 8 Reasons Why Cats Fake Sleep

1. Your Cat’s Craving More Attention

In almost every cat conversation, you’ll hear people talk about how they are self-sustaining. And quite frankly, we agree because compared to other animals, they actually are. But being independent does not mean that they never crave attention or want to be loved.

Those tiny doses of love and affection that they normally get from their pet parents are not only important for their mental health, but for their physical health as well. If your cat hasn’t seen or heard from you for days, they’ll certainly be grumpy.

Faking sleeping is also prevalent among cats that have pet siblings. Some of us seem to forget that cats can get jealous, and even insecure, due to various reasons.

It’ll make matters worse if you’re spending more time with your new friend, making them feel left out.

Scottish fold cat is faking sleep
Image Credit: Jirattawut Domrong, Shutterstock

2. Your Cat Needs Some Alone Time

We can all agree that being the center of attention can be exhausting at times. Our feline friends are similar to humans in that aspect. They’ll yearn for some “me time” to recharge their batteries on occasion.

Don’t take it personally, as this behavior is common among most household cats.

3. It’s Your Cat’s Personality

Cats have different personalities. Some are introverted, while others are extroverted. The extroverts will always warm up to you, even when they are tired. They tend to be socially confident and often feel excited to spend time with their human companions. Introverts, on the other hand, prefer being left alone.

So, they’ll be relaxing in a corner somewhere, slowly wagging their tail, watching what’s going on around them. You’ll think they are napping, given their eyes will be closed most of the time, but don’t be fooled. They’ll be wide awake, and very attentive.

This behavior is again perceptible among cats that have been recently adopted. Especially those that are stubborn and strong-willed. They usually need time to warm up to their new parents, as they’ve been through a lot. In such instances, you have to be patient.

Cute orange cat with blue collars sleeping on sofa in the morning
Image Credit: Moon Life Art, Shutterstock

4. Instinct

Cats were born to hunt. Even though they were “domesticated” hundreds of years back, their drive to hunt prey has always remained embedded in their DNA. Hence, the reason why they like to toy around with mice, even though they have access to premium-quality food.

If you’ve noticed your four-legged ball of joy has cozied up too close to your kitchen counter while you’re preparing your favorite dish, some of it is about to go missing. They’ll pretend to be asleep so that you can let your guard down and go about your business as if nothing’s about to happen. But the moment they sense your attention is drawn elsewhere, they’ll immediately grab a bite and run.

5. You’re Being Observed

Cats have perfected what we call the “situational awareness” technique. So much so that they can “sleep” or rest while being fully aware of what’s going on around them. If your furry friend wants to know what you’re up to without encouraging any interaction, they’ll fake sleep.

And this behavior will again be exhibited when there’s a stranger in the house or a new pet. Their curiosity will compel them to feign sleep, so that they can gather all the information they need, without making it obvious or awkward.

Sleeping cat
Image By: icosha, Shutterstock

6. Conserving Energy

Active breeds love playing all the time. You’ll find them jumping on different household items, running around the house (probably chasing their siblings), or just sliding down the stairs because it’s fun. And during those periods, they normally burn lots of calories.

Since calories are units of energy, what they are essentially doing is expending energy. Therefore, they’ll go on “battery-saver” mode to conserve the little that’s left as they wait for their next meal.

7. Stress Relief

Domesticated cats have it good compared to their wild counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t experience stress at times. And what do you normally do when you get stressed? You want to be left alone, right?

Well, that’s another reason why they may feel the need to feign sleep. They’ll pretend for a while so that they can have more alone time to process whatever’s bugging them.

orange striped cat pretending to be dead on the street
Image By: Arlee P., Shutterstock

8. It’s a Defensive Tactic

Cats have been around for thousands of years, and they’ve always resorted to different tactics to evade predators or trick them. Fake sleeping is a technique that has proven to be effective in situations that demand them to be alert and ready to protect one of their nine lives. If they want to fool their adversaries into thinking they are oblivious to what’s happening, they’ll use this defensive mechanism.

Housed cats don’t usually have to worry about predators lurking in the shadows, but they still fake sleep instinctively, to stay alert.


How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Fake Sleeping?

Start by paying attention to their sleeping position. Like most animals, cats don’t like sleeping with their tummies exposed, as this leaves them vulnerable. They’ll only rest on their backs if they feel safe or relaxed.

The way the paws are positioned is also another dead giveaway. Our domesticated cats love tucking their paws underneath their chest and bellies while sleeping. If those paws aren’t fully tucked in, they are probably faking it.

We noted their breathing patterns are shallow and regular whenever they are in deep slumber, meaning your furball isn’t sleeping if her breathing rate is inconsistent. Our feline friends usually take 15 to 30 breaths per minute, but that rate significantly reduces while they are asleep.

cute white fluffy cat of is napping on pink blanket tucking his paws
Image By: ninaveter, Shutterstock

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

In comparison to other animals, cats expend a lot of energy playing, hunting, or exploring. Mainly because they have to heavily rely on their agility and heightened senses. They need at least 12 hours of sleep to effectively recharge their batteries, or their systems won’t be able to function at full capacity.

Just so you know, age also happens to be a chief factor in determining how much sleep your cat needs. Newborns need more sleep to grow and develop their systems, while seniors sleep more to conserve energy.



Fake sleeping is nothing to be worried about, as cats do it all the time. Their reasons might differ, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve inherited this habit from their ancestors. Just don’t leave your food on the kitchen counter unattended, thinking you still find it when you get back. That’s what your furry prankster wants you to believe, as they are being driven by their predatory instincts.

Featured Image Credit: Blanscape, Shutterstock

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