Is my cat really dreaming?
Is she dreaming?
Sometimes, when my cat is asleep she seems to be chasing something- she wiggles and winces whilst she is trying to catch something. Is it my imagination or is she dreaming?
Can you tell if your cat is dreaming?
There can be no definitive answer to this question as our cat cannot tell us- however let's look at the evidence. My evidence is far from scientific but is gleaned from hours of watching my cats sleep . I have two cats and they sleep an awful lot usually in places that you would not think of, like the top of the stairs or on a pile of laundry.
When we fall asleep
What happens when I go to sleep? After a little while I go into a period of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) which sleep scientists say is a period of dreaming. Some of my dreams are really vivid; sometimes they are based on real events and real people, but with scripts reminiscent of a television drama! Have you ever had a dream that is so real that you cannot distinguish truth from dream? I know I have and I wake up hot and sweaty after winning the 100m hurdles and the Olympic medal!
Observation is required
Watch your cat when she falls asleep- try and position her somewhere warm where you can get a good view- in front of the fire on a comfortable rug is a good place. Watch her and see what happens. After a little while she will go into a deep sleep, her eyes will start twitching and she will start to make small sudden movements with her paws or even make noises, sometimes a very guttural meow. Is she dreaming, is she hunting for the mouse that got away? Or is she remembering what happened when she was out today? The problem is that we don't know.
There have been studies on brain activity which indicates that the cat is dreaming, just as studies on humans indicate that we dream. The problem is that your cat cannot tell you what they are dreaming about .
The best thing to do is to watch your cat, watch her dream and see what happens, does she catch that mouse or miss it? You can learn to interpret your cats dream just like you interpret their different calls- My eldest, Tiggy has a certain call that gets me out of the chair with alacrity- it usually means that something is wrong and needs sorting – usually an argument with his brother . So it is a good idea to watch your cat carefully and see her dreaming an try and imagine what she is doing- there is no right or wrong in your analysis as she can’t tell you off.
What was this kitty dreaming about? Who knows, my personal guess is that it was something nice, a warm bed and anticipation of her dinner
Help! she is having a nightmare!
Have you ever had a nightmare? I guess the answer is "yes". The sort of dream which frightens you and takes an unreal hold over you. Sometimes you just have to wake up and tell yourself not to worry as it is only a nightmare. It is my belief that cats experience nightmares. As they sleep so much they will have more than us, maybe that is why they tend to want to come into our beds for comfort, warmth and security. Perhaps when they are asleep with us the bad dreams go away? Sometimes when they dream a cat will growl or mew or seem less relaxed, it is at this time that I think they are having nightmare. If you caress your cat and talk quietly in a soothing tone you will help them to deal with their nightmare.
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