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what do cats dream about

What Do Cats Dream About? Do They Ever Think Of You In Their Sleep?

For more than half of the day, you can find your cat in a sleeping state. Their love for sleep might make you wonder, do cats have dreams like humans do? If so, what do cats dream about?

Can Cats Dream?

If you ever sit and observe your cat during its slumber, you’ll notice that occasionally they would make a sound or twitch in their sleep. This makes a lot of owners also question whether cats are able to dream.

For a long time, researchers have been analyzing animals’ sleep to find a possibility of them dreaming during this time. A study published on Elife about hippocampal – an area of the brain used for learning and memory, indicates that rats can stimulate this part during their sleep.

Researchers conducted an experiment that involves rats having to find a treat in a designed track. They measure brain activities of the rats during their sleep, and the rats’ brains show signs of creating mental maps to get to the food.
what do cats dream about
Studies have confirmed that animals are likely to have dream activities
This study certainly gives us new insights to animal’s sleep. To this day, the answer to the dream theory is still not 100% certain, but it’s very likely that mammals do have dreams. This includes both humans and cats.

When Do Dreams Happen For Cats?

In the case of humans, dream occurs during the rapid-eye movement, or REM sleep. As the name suggests, in this sleeping phase, your eyes move rapidly and the brain will mirror all activities as if you’re awake. Dreaming occurs mostly in the REM period, and this is when you’re in deepest sleep.

Cats also experience this stage when they sleep. Their hippocampal activities during this time also resembles those of humans. Like how we sleeptalk or shuffle around in our blanket, cats might twitch and turn regularly during REM. This is because actions that the brain recreates will be the most vivid at this moment.

Cats will usually start dreaming during the deepest phase of slumber

Like how they act during the day, cats can display actions such as purring, snoring or pretending to chase something. A few cats even show behavior such as sleepwalking, but this may indicate brain injuries in cats.

What Do Cats Dream About?

Similar to humans, a cat’s dream may consist of both realistic and imaginary events. They dream about what they have experienced. What they do during the day will be processed while they sleep, and recreated in the brain. The brain will then project the scenarios and images for cats to relive in during dreamtime.
For kittens, it could be their mother, siblings or feeding time (they can sleep nursing – this might happen even for older cats). Adult cats with a wider variety of experience also dreams about more things: their feline friends, escaping from an enemy, a squirrel they saw in the garden, …
what do cats dream about
Cats will dream about what happened during their day

You’re wondering if they ever dream about you, right? Of course, you – as an owner – is one of their most memorable encounters. They may have dreams about playing with you, being petted by you and such. Dreams are inconsistent for sure, but they will dream about you at least a few times in their life.

Do Cats Have Nightmares?

Then, do cats have nightmares as well? They certainly do. We humans don’t always have pleasant sleeping experience, and our imagination still works even in our sleep. The same goes for cats, as they can make up unrealistic images in their dream.

his can be caused by undesirable emotions they might be having. Their brain reflects those feelings during dreamtime much alike to how it reflects the daily activities. If your cat is stressed, sick or have aggression issues, they are more likely to have nightmares. They might even dream of you mistreating them, and them running away from you even when it’s just imaginary.

Like humans, cats can indeed have nightmare as well
“Should I wake my cat up from a nightmare?” Not to worry, cats tend to forget any negative dream right the moment they wake up. Nightmares don’t happen too often as well.

How To Help Your Cat Have A Good Sleep

Even if dreams don’t usually affect how a cat acts during the day, as owners we still wish for them to have a healthy mental state all the time. Like how we may have better sleep using different methods.

Provide a cozy and safe place for your cat to sleep in. There are a few igloo style beds for cats that can make themselves feel well-hidden. Or you can let them sleep on your lap so they can feel the warmth and protection.

Play with them during the day to tire them out, thus easier to sleep well. They will bring these positive, fun events into their dreams as well.

cat sleeping in bed
Create a safe environment for cat to sleep in

As long as you create a calming and secure environment for your cat, they will only dream of a nice memory.

Chris Hawkins.

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