That's my girl but she has nightmares.
The answer is a resounding yes to the question, "do cats dream?" And it doesn't take a scientist to confirm a layperson's observations.
Cats are hard wired to sleep a lot because they are efficient hunters and don't have to work for endless hours getting the food in. Grazing animals are almost the opposite speeding it seems all their waking hours eating. Apparently owls are also efficient hunters and also spend a lot of time sleeping.
Domestic cats don't have to do any work whatsoever to get the food in except ask for it. Sure that can some persistence sometimes but relatively speaking it's easier than hunting. Domestic cats therefore can sleep even more than wild cats.
Cats sleep for 13-16 hours daily and are apparently 3rd in the sleeping championships coming after the opossum (a solitary nocturnal animal the size of a cat) and the bat.
A lot of the time it's cat naps. You can see that they are dozing but can become fully alert and awake at a moments notice. They can doze for great lengths of time. It's extraordinary how they can do this. Then they'll fall truly asleep into a deep sleep for what seems quite a short time. When theirs paws start paddling and their whiskers start twitching you know its dream time during the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of their sleep.
This is the phase of sleep when my cat (above) sometimes, but mercifully rarely these days, has nightmares. I know she has nightmares as she twitches a lot and then cries out and wakes with a start. Sometimes I gently wake her to avoid the discomfort of a nasty dream.
I must be the same nightmare each time and I firmly believe that it originates from the first few months or first year or so of her life before I found her as a stray. She is also sensitive about being touched on her rump and this may be linked to the bad experience as well which recurs in her sleep.
As I said it doesn't take much to see that the answer to the question, "do cats dream? " is a positive Yes.
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Do cats dream - Photo: if you want to use it go ahead but please credit me (Michael at Pictures of cats.org) and if you can, please provide a link to this site - thanks.