As a pet owner, it’s really nice to know that your pet is happy with the way you’re treating him. This is why there are pet owners who like to watch their furry friends as they sleep. If you have a cat at home, you’ve probably done the same thing. You’ve crept up on your sleeping cat to see him twitching his whiskers and toes. You may have also wondered whether or not your cat has a dream about what he had for dinner or how his day went about. But the big question is, do cats dream?
According to animal behaviorist Dr. Nicholas Dodman, sleep is the time when our brains flushes out and organizes the images obtained throughout the day. All the information obtained goes through the brain and some of it gets suspended temporarily on the neurons. The same is true with cats.
There has been enough scientific evidence that proves that the brain of a cat tends to formulate dreams when they sleep. Humans typically have 5 sleep stages, wherein the dreams occur on the 5th stage; which is the rapid eye movement (REM). Meanwhile, cats only have a couple of sleep types–REM and non-REM (deep sleep). Based on the study of experts, cats typically stay within the REM sleep type about 30 percent of the time they are asleep. Adult humans, on the other hand, spend only 20 percent of sleep time in REM stage. However, babies spend 80 percent of their sleep in REM.
What Do Cats Dream About?
As your cat enters into REM stage, he will start exhibiting some body movements that will let you know he is already in a dream. You can notice your cat twitching his tail and whiskers, raising his lip, extending and retracting his claws, or even murmur or chatter. Usually, cats dream of things they previously experienced. But while they may act out their day’s scenarios, there is a substance in the brain that refrains them from vividly doing these completely. But it doesn’t stop them from exhibiting signs that they are enacting an imaginary story or reliving a scenario.
Some of the signs that you can look out for when your cat is dreaming include the following:
- Breathing gets faster
- Ears quiver
- Nose and whiskers twitch
- Teeth chatter
- Eyes roll
- Claws extend and flex
- His licks his lips
- Paws look like they’re running
These signs don’t usually happen all at the same time, but there are a few that could go hand in hand together. These signs could also be caused by something else entirely such as indigestions, itchy skin, or nerve twitches. But usually, you can always see if your cat is dreaming and whether or not he is having a good dream.
Do Cats Have Nightmares Too?
It’s interesting to know that your pet cat could be dreaming about how much fun he had while you played with him earlier in the day. It’s even more satisfying to know that your cat is dreaming about you and has some pretty good memories in his mind. But it’s also possible that your pet cat could be having a nightmare. Since cats dream about how their day went, it’s easy to understand that they could also be having a bad dream if they had a horrible day. The same can be said about cats who have been traumatized by something they encountered during the day.
As a cat owner, the best way you can help your cat get over his nightmare is to verbally reassure your pet by calling out to him in a soothing manner. You can also let him sniff your hand as your scent can connect to deep emotional centers in his brain, letting him know where he actually is. In doing so, you can help give your pet cat the love he needs during a nightmare.