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Why Do House Pets Sleep All Day?

Photo by Chris Leipelt on Unsplash
Photo by Chris Leipelt on Unsplash

When one suffers from depression they may just desire to sleep through the day. Or they may struggle to fall asleep. The relationship between sleep and depression is a complex one. At least in humans. What about our pets? 

While it’s a meme-like observation that pets are victims of Stockholm syndrome, the typical timeline of a pet’s life does fit the condition’s description:

Feelings of trust or affection felt in many cases of kidnapping or hostage-taking by a victim toward a captor.

Which made me wonder: do house pets sleep so much because they feel trapped and thus  depressed?

Let’s hope not. 

If your furry friend is sleeping during the day more than normal, then it might be cause for concern. However, there are some key differences we need to pin down first.   

On average both dogs and cats spend at least half — 12 hours  — of their days sleeping. Cats and dogs go through the same sleep cycle as humans. It’s this way for all mammals.
Image via European Bedding


But, because they’re much lighter sleepers than humans, they need more time to get through their sleep cycles since they wake up so easily. It seems a cat or dog can fall asleep as easily as she can wake up. Their ability to wake up so easily goes back to old survival instincts. By nature, canines and felines sleep in a state of readiness so they can wake up with ease to defend their packs if necessary. 

Fun Fact: dogs and cats actually have a third eyelid

Now, back to this Stockholm syndrome theory. Both dogs and cats are flexible sleepers. Yes, of course cats tend to be more active at night, but we’ve all seen a cat walking about in the daytime. Cats and dogs can easily adapt their sleeping schedules to fit around feeding and spending time with their favorite humans. That doesn’t sound like Stockholm syndrome to me. What do you think? 

  • Do you think house pets have Stockholm syndrome?

    • Yes
    • No


Written by Nina Slowinski

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