What Do Cats Dream About?

cat dreams

You have probably noticed your cat dozing peacefully on the floor, and perhaps even wished you could sleep so soundly.

It seems likely that cats do in fact dream, but what exactly is running through their head?

We can only speculate, but the possibilities are fascinating.

Sleep Habits of Cats

Cats are known for sleeping a lot, which is perhaps why they are so energized while they are aware. In fact, some cats sleep nearly 18 hours each day. These animals go into what is called Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep, just like us. This is when dreaming occurs, and it is when animals are most asleep.

Researchers have found that it is likely that cats are even capable of sleeping/dreaming while they are sitting up. This also means that they can dream outside of REM sleep, which is something that not even humans are capable of.

How do Cats Dream?

The research that exists so far indicates that cats dream in a way that is very similar to us. Just like with people, it is also likely that these animals’ dreams often don’t make much sense. Think about the last dream you had. Was it really all that logical?

While there hasn’t been a ton of research into kitty dreams, there is no real reason to think that their dreams aren’t similar to our own.

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kitten sleeping

Signs that Your Cat is Dreaming

There are some signs that your cat is dreaming that you can look out for. You have probably noticed your cat’s legs twitch while they are fast asleep. This is just one indication that they are in the middle of a dream or even a nightmare. There is no reason to think that cats don’t have bad dreams, assuming they dream at all.

If a cat’s dream is particularly intense, they might even vocalize. This can come out in the form of purring or quiet yowling. It is amusing to say the least, but it is also a sign that they have entered REM sleep.

Another sign that a cat is dreaming is when their eyes start to twitch. This is the “rapid eye movement” part of sleep. Their eyes will quickly move up and down during this stage in the sleep cycle.

Cats are actually a lot like dogs in this sense. Both of these animals exhibit a lot of the same physical signs of dreaming. Even humans often move around while they are having a very intense dream. Some of us even talk in our sleep during dreams. And while cats obviously cannot speak, they can purr, meow or yowl.

Natural Born Hunters

Cats are natural hunters with instincts that cannot be denied, despite many years of domestication. It is very likely that these animals dream about chasing down mice and other small animals. You might notice your cat’s legs moving as if it is running. This could be because they are chasing after something in their dream.

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Being Chased

It’s also possible that your cat is dreaming about being chased. While these animals are skillful hunters, there are also plenty of animals that they can fall victim to. 

This is more likely in outdoor cats that have actually come face to face with predators before. If your cat has lived indoors all of its life, it probably doesn’t even know that there are things out there that would hunt it.

cat sleeping


A cat may also dream about their offspring or litter mates. It would only make sense that some of their dreams would be about family members. They might even have dreams about other pets in the house that they live with. After all, aren’t our dreams often filled with family, friends and lovers?

Everyday Things

It is very likely that if cats do indeed dream (which it seems they do), that they do so about everyday things. There is even a chance that your cat even dreams about you sometimes! It only makes sense that they would dream about the things they see on a daily basis.

This could also be things that they see while looking out the window. The only exposure that most indoor cats have to the outside world is through a piece of glass. They could therefore be dreaming about anything from birds to the mailman.

Sleepwalking in Cats

The only cases of sleepwalking that have been observed in cats have been with ones that have a damaged brain. Lesions on a certain part of the brain can cause this behavior when the cat starts dreaming. It has been absolutely fascinating for researchers to observe, as it gives them more insight into what they dream about.

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Sleepwalking cats have been shown to act as if they are hunting, so it is likely that they are dreaming about stalking prey. These cats act pretty normal while they are awake during the day, but while they are sleeping is a whole different story. 

If you notice what seems like sleepwalking in your cat, it is important that you take them to the vet right away. There is a chance that they could have a serious problem with their brain.


  • Cats go into REM or Rapid Eye Movement sleep just like humans, which is usually when dreaming occurs.
  • These animals can often be seen twitching, meowing or yowling while they are having a particularly intense dream.
  • It is very likely that cats dream about hunting prey, as is their natural instincts.
  • Another possibility is that cats dream about being chased by a predator. This is more likely with outdoor cats than indoor ones.
  • If cats do dream, some of their dreams are probably about litter mates or offspring.
  • Just like with humans, cats most likely dream about things that they see and experience on a daily basis.
  • Sleepwalking has been observed in cats, but only ones that have lesions on their brain.
  • It is important to get your cat looked at by a vet if you notice any sleepwalking behavior at all.
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