Sunday 16 March 2008

Cat Naps

cat nap cat sleeping on steps

I'm partial to cat naps these days What's the difference between a human, cat nap and a cat, cat nap? Or for that matter a power nap?

Cat naps and power naps are the same, only the former is not hip and unrelated to work. The high power, highly ambitious executive is desperate for a kip (UK speak for a short sleep). He can't have a cat nap so he calls it a power nap to make himself more efficient. You can see that I am very unambitious.

For people like me it's all about cat naps. I'm not old old just a bit old and I don't sleep as well as I used to so I feel sleepy after breakfast !! I can feel that nap coming along again.... When we have the time to have a nap we sometimes take it and this is the case with cats.

Cats are so efficient at killing they can spend a massive amount of time doing nothing in between. And doing nothing translates into sleeping.

Cats therefore have a completely different sleep pattern to us humans unless you're an oldy. Cats sleep about 16 hours daily. This is twice our usual 8 hours (I need about 5 these days).

This is 2/3 of her life, or 10 years out of 15 years. Sounds like a waste of a life to some humans, but sleeping is pleasant enough. It's only humans that feel the need to achieve something with their lives; cats just live and don't try and put some meaning into it that frankly isn't there.

Cats have developed this ability or habit of sleeping for such long periods because they need very little time to catch the food (in the wild of course). Even more so now as it's given to them. Thy are far more efficient than a dog for instance in chasing and killing their food.

Other animals have similar habits. The owl comes to mind, an extremely efficient killer. You can see them sleeping for long periods before catching a rodent.

The phrase "cat nap" doesn't imply anything more than light sleep. My cat spends most of the time just resting; you could barely call it sleeping as she is 3/4 awake. You can tell she is in deep sleep as she twitches and gurgles etc. She also has a recurring nightmare when she wakes up with a little scream and a grumble. Her deep sleep lasts for quite a short time, about 10 minutes. When this period of sleep has ended she enters a phase of light sleep of about 30 minutes.

In between bouts of light to deep sleep she has her cat naps. During her naps she is essentially alert (strange to be partially asleep and alert at the same time) and her ears will swivel towards sounds that are of interest, usually the sound of the microwave warming up some fish or prawns. That gets her up sharp.

Photograph copyright calico courtney brooke

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