- Twitching during sleep is a normal behavior for both kittens and adult cats, as it occurs when they’re dreaming during REM sleep
- Rarely, twitching can be a sign of seizures or chronic pain ⚠️
- If your cat is having seizures, she’ll exhibit other symptoms in addition to twitching, such as loss of consciousness and drooling ⚠️
Is My Cat Dreaming? Why Does My Cat Twitch in Her Sleep?
“Why does my cat twitch in her sleep?” you ask. It’s a normal behavior in both kittens and adult cats, and it has to do with sleep phases. During the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, cats (and humans) experience a rise in brain activity and blood flow.This is when your cat dreams, which sometimes results in muscle spasms or twitching during REM sleep. Additionally, your cat may:
- move her paws;
- simulate eating or drinking;
- stretch her body.
The cat sleep cycle alternates between REM sleep and deep sleep. The latter isn’t characterized by twitching and moving because your cat is paralyzed during deep sleep. Her brain induces paralysis to prevent sleepwalking. Twitching in sleep indicates that your cat is in a light sleep stage, when her brain activity is closer to waking.
Can Twitching in Sleep Be a Seizure?
There is a slight possibility that your cat is experiencing seizures. They can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- genetic predisposition;
- head trauma;
- kidney disease.
If your cat is having seizures, she’ll exhibit other symptoms in addition to twitching, such as loss of consciousness, jerky movements, drooling, and muscle rigidity. Contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect she’s having a medical episode or if you’re unable to wake her up.
“Why does my cat twitch in her sleep?” Some cats and kittens may also twitch or shake while they sleep due to pain or discomfort. This is most likely to happen if your cat is suffering from arthritis or another type of chronic pain.
When a Cat Is Twitching, Is It a Medical Condition?
In most cases, no, twitching during sleep is not a medical condition. If your cat is twitching often and behaving strangely, contact your veterinarian. They’ll be able to determine if there is an underlying disorder causing the twitching and help you develop a treatment plan.
If It’s Not Regular Cat Sleep, What Is the Treatment?
If your vet does find that your cat has a medical condition causing her to twitch, treatment will depend on the cause. For example, if she has seizures, they may prescribe medication to help control them. If she has arthritis, they may recommend a pain reliever or other type of treatment to help manage her pain.
In most cases, however, there’s nothing to be concerned about when you find yourself asking “Why does my cat twitch in her sleep?”. It’s part of the sleep cycle and doesn’t require treatment.
How to Help My Kitten When She’s Twitching in Her Sleep?
If you’re concerned about your cat twitching in her sleep, help her feel more comfortable. First, make sure she has a soft bed to sleep in. This will help minimize any pain or discomfort she may be feeling. Finally, if your cat is overweight, helping her lose weight can also reduce pain and discomfort.
What Other Things Should I Worry About When My Cat Is Sleeping?
Now that you know the answer to the question “Why does my cat twitch in her sleep?”, what else could be a cause for concern? For example, moaning or yowling during sleep can be a sign of pain. Additionally, if she’s having trouble breathing or her breathing is erratic, this might be a sign of a respiratory infection or another medical condition. If you notice any of these things, take your pet to the vet.
How to Help My Kitty Get More Restful Sleep?
Here are some tips to help your kitty get the most restful sleep possible.
- Create a comfortable sleeping space for your kitty. Allow your cat to choose her own area or provide her with an elevated bed with warm, cozy blankets or pillows.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule and follow it daily. This will help to create consistency and make it easier for your cat’s body to adjust to the routine.
- Ensure your kitty has adequate exercise throughout the day. This will help her to be more relaxed and tired in time for bedtime.
- Make sure your cat’s sleeping area is free from distractions such as noise, lights and other pets roaming around at night.
Editor’s NoteSome cats may not want to sleep in a bed. Instead, they’ll nap on tables, couches, floors, or even in the bathtub. Let your kitty find a sleeping space that suits her preferences. As long as it’s safe and comfortable, there’s no need to worry. Enjoy the purrs!
What Are Some Other Weird Things My Cat Can Do?
You may notice your cat doing other weird things while she sleeps. For example, she may startle awake or make small vocalizations. This is nothing to be concerned about. Additionally, your cat may sleep more deeply at certain times of the day or night. This is also absolutely normal.
“Why does my cat twitch in her sleep?” In conclusion, it’s normal for cats to twitch their tail or body while they sleep. This typically occurs when the cat is dreaming and can be a sign that she’s having dreams about hunting or running. Talk to your vet if you notice any unusual behaviors in your cat, even while sleeping. Otherwise, enjoy her peaceful slumber!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Wake My Cat Up If He’s Twitching?
No, there’s no need to wake your cat up if he’s twitching in his sleep. Cats are actually quite sensitive to being disturbed, so it’s best to let them continue resting. If you’re concerned that the twitching might be a sign of something more serious, you can consult with your vet.
Why Does My Cat Twitch and Jerk in His Sleep?
If your cat’s gentle twitching is sometimes accompanied by jerking movements, it may just be a sign of vivid dreams. He may be dreaming about jumping after a toy or chasing a bird. Since cats spend up to 16 hours of the day sleeping, it’s normal for them to have these kinds of dreams. However, if you notice any other strange behaviors like excessive drooling or spasms, talk to your vet.
Do Cats Dream About Their Owners?
It’s impossible to know what exactly cats dream about, but it’s likely that they dream about familiar people and things. If your cat has a strong bond with you, there’s a good chance he dreams of you during his sleep. Whether cats have the same kind of complex dreaming that humans do is still largely unknown, so there isn’t any definitive answer to this question.
What Do Indoor Cats Dream About?
They probably dream about whatever they do or experience in their day-to-day life. That can include playtime, cuddles, and even simple moments like eating their food or lounging in the sun.
Sarah Jameson is a journalist, reporter and a pet nutritionist. She is married to Peter, and they have two beautiful children, Zoey and Quinn. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys cooking for her family and playing snooker. She also loves spending time with her Scottish Terrier, Bobby.