|Cats can spend up to 23 hours a day snoozing, catnapping,
catching forty winks or otherwise dead to the world.
They have two main mottos . . . "If in doubt, wash" and "If bored, sleep".
They are masters of the art of sleeping, draped over branches or chair backs, curled into impossibly tight balls or sprawled out, snoring, on freshly fluffed pillows. As they slumber, paws flex and relax, claws extend and retract,
legs and whiskers twitch and mouths make quiet chattering or mumbling noises. Does our purry furry friends dream and, if so, of what?
Human dreams are based on things we've experienced, seen or read, sprinkled with a liberal dose of imagination. Cats also recall previous experiences; vanishing when the flea spray appears. They also remember things they've seen, like how to open cat flaps after watching other cats doing it.
Scenes from wildlife programs or 'video catnip' tapes, where the prey is tantalizingly out of reach, may well feature in feline dreams.
What do all those fast asleep paw movements and chattering noises mean? Maybe the slumberer is remembering a hunting trip. Though not all cats have hunted real prey, they have inherited all the right instincts. Many of those fast asleep paw movements resemble small pouncing or swatting motions.
Cats often chatter in frustration when prey eludes them. By the amount of chattering my cats do when asleep, dream hunts, like real life hunts,
are often unsuccessful.
If you watch closely, you might be able to work out what scenario is being enacted or reenacted in your cat's dream. Those little movements are all clues to what is going on inside that cute furry head.
That twitching tail could mean 'stalking prey', 'poised to pounce' or 'seen something interesting'. When followed by a paw twitch, a whisker twitch and a raised lip (maybe even exposing the canine) the dream prey has been dispatched. Sometimes cats even lick their lips afterwards. Other times they seem to be playing with their catch. Teeth chattering and tail lashing probably means the dream prey got away.
Other pleasurable experiences such as dinner time, kittenhood, being gently groomed, rambling in the garden, rolling belly up in sunbeams or tormenting the family dog, probably feature in feline dreams. How often do you accidentally wake your cat and get rewarded by that expression which says
'I was having such a lovely dream'? Like people, some cats must dream
more vividly or imaginatively than others.
Take a peek at your slumbering cat. Are those paws patting your knitting or pouncing on prey? Is that a murmur of contentment or a curse of frustration? That belly up, blissful snoring pose, a dream of nursing kittens, of sun bathing or of being lovingly stroked?
Next time you find your cat dreaming, watch closely and see if you can work out what it is dreaming about.
|Do Cats Dream?|