Do Cats Dream?

Even though cats are in more than a third of households in the U.S., there is a great deal that many people don’t know about them. One of the most interesting is how cats helped usher in the Golden Age of sleep research.

Cats of all sizes are obligate carnivores, so they must hunt to survive in the wild. Like most predators, they save their energy for their peak hunting times, which are around dusk and dawn. The fact that domestic cats are still so closely related to their wild cousins, and therefore retain those behaviors even when humans supply the food, makes them good subjects to study if we want to learn more about sleep.

Cats, just like humans, dream in stages. We can study animals’ dreaming states just like we do with people in the sleep lab: attach a bunch of electrodes and monitor the brain activity through EEG, visual monitoring, as well as pulse and bp. We can also switch off the paralysis during REM sleep to see what they do when acting out dreams.

Further reading:

Do dogs and cats really dream?

What do animals dream about?

REM Sleep in Cats

Behavioural and EEG Effects of Paradoxical Sleep Deprivation in the Cat

Mechanisms underlying oneiric behaviour released in REM sleep by pontine lesions in cats

A Brief History of Sleep Research

Welcome to the World of Cats

The internet is full of cats: videos, pictures, memes, entire constellations of web sites dedicated to our adorable fluffy companions. So why start a blog dedicated to cats? There is a lot of misinformation out there, along with a lot of poorly constructed studies and completely wrong-headed theories about cats that need to be addressed.

I’ve spent most of my life studying and pondering all things cat, and I hope to delve into all the aspects of these amazing creatures who have chosen to share their lives with us.

Introductions

Since I’m going to be talking about cats, I’m definitely going to be talking about my own cats. We currently have 4. I’ll be posting more details about them soon, so these are just brief introductions. From oldest to youngest:

Kagome is 18 years old. She’s a Norwegian Forest Cat, and she is definitely top cat in my house. She showed up on our porch one day, demanding to be let in, and she followed my daughter around for weeks until I finally caved and allowed her inside.

Kagome_6-7-2015

 

Kikiyo is 11 years old. My little sister’s cat had kittens, and my older sister and I each took one. Half Abyssinian, with a dash of Ragdoll and a heaping tablespoon of Burmese, she’s a cuddly beauty with firm opinions on many things. She’s happy being the princess.

Kiki_2-11-2016

 

Up next is Kagetora, who is 8 years old. He’s a retired superhero (more on that later).

Kagetora_9-29-2015

And finally, we have Stiles. He’s 16 months old now. He’s astonishingly smart, incredibly empathetic, and has given me back that sense of wonder that I had when I was a kid learning about cats for the first time. His story is a great one, which you’ll hear all about soon. He also has a fabulously long tail.

Stiles_6-8-2016

That does it for the intros. I’ll be back with all sorts of information and discussions about cats soon. In the meantime, feel free to ask me any of your cat related questions, and I’ll be doing a Q&A soon!

The world of cats at your fingertips.