Why Do Cats Twitch In Their Sleep?

Cats are creatures filled with quirks and funny habits which, let’s admit it, keep their humans entertained.

If you have ever watched your cat sleep, their main activity, you will have noticed that they often twitch in their sleep or even make noises and moan. 


That begs the question, why do cats twitch in their sleep? Is it because they are dreaming about something or someone? Or maybe it’s just a reflex action?

Cats are known to dream about food, play, and even sex.  It has long been believed that cats dream about hunting prey, but recent research suggests that they may also dream about playing, fighting, and mating. 

Because cats spend most of their hours asleep every day, this article covers their sleeping habits, what they dream about and possible reasons why they twitch in their sleep. 

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

Cats are often found curled up somewhere, be it inside on a cozy couch or in a sunny spot outside asleep. 

They are known for sleeping a lot and the reason they do this is to conserve energy, in preparation for their hunting activities that will occur in the twilight or evening hours of the day. 

Why Do Cats Twitch In Their Sleep?

The most common reason for cats to twitch is when they are dreaming. This happens as they move through the stages of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. It can be quite noticeable if you watch your cat closely while he sleeps.

When cats are awake, they often have twitches in their muscles. These muscle spasms happen when they are excited or anxious.

When your cat is asleep, these twitches become more frequent. If your cat is having a nightmare, his body will tense up. He might also start moving around.

If you notice your cat twitching while he is sleeping, don’t worry. It’s normal behavior. Your cat isn’t trying to hurt himself. Instead, he is probably dreaming about something exciting.

Similar to sleep in humans, cats will generally experience two different sleep cycles, namely REM and deep sleep. It is during the REM cycle where physical behaviors like twitching and squeaking may occur.

The second phase, deep sleep, is what happens for the bulk of your cat’s cat nap. This cycle serves to rebuild and repair the body. 

As mentioned, the twitching in their sleep occurs in their REM stage of their sleep cycle, and during this time they are shown to have electrical activity in their brains.

These electrical impulses or signals that are being sent in the brain is what causes the twitching. 

Over their lifespan, the amount of REM sleep experienced decreases, and so younger cats are more likely to dream and to twitch while asleep than more mature cats. 

What Are Other Reasons For Cats To Twitch?


There are several other possible causes for your cat to twitch. Here are some of the most likely ones:


Your cat could be experiencing pain from an injury. If this is the case, she may not want to wake you up. She might try to hide her discomfort by twitching.


If your cat seems nervous, she may twitch before going outside. Her anxiety level could be high because she doesn’t know what awaits her out there.


If your cat hasn’t eaten in a while, she may feel restless. To keep herself calm, she may twitch.


If your cat feels stressed, she may twitch to release tension. Some cats like to rub against things to help them relax.


If your cat falls asleep on the couch after spending hours running around, she may twitch. She needs to rest her tired muscles.


If your cat suddenly starts twitching, it could mean that she is afraid. She may be reacting to a loud noise or feeling threatened.


If your cat is ill, she may twitch. Restless legs syndrome is one example. This condition makes your cat constantly jump up and down.

Over Stimulation

Cats who live in noisy environments may twitch. Their nerves get over-excited.


If your cat is injured, she may twitch. If so, she may need medical attention.

Separation Anxiety

If your cat is lonely, she may twitch. It could be a sign that she wants to come home.


If your cat becomes agitated, she may twitch. This is especially true if she has been locked inside all day.


If your cat urinates or defecates during the night, she may twitch. In this situation, she may be trying to tell you that she needs to go out.

Weather Changes

If your cat is cold, she may twitch. A warm bed can make your cat sleepy.


If your cat is worried about something, she may twitch. Sometimes, cats will shake their heads to express their concern.

Can I Stop My Cat From Twitching?

Yes! There are ways to stop your cat from twitching. The best way to prevent your cat from twitching is to provide her with a safe place to sleep. Make sure that her bedding is soft and comfortable.

Also, give her plenty of toys to play with. These activities will keep her mind busy and prevent her from having negative thoughts.

You should also make sure that your cat gets enough exercise. Exercise helps your cat stay healthy and happy. Some cats may twitch when they are anxious.

If you notice this behavior, try distracting your cat with an activity such as playing with a toy. You should also consider giving your cat calming medication.

Your veterinarian can recommend a product that will help your cat feel more relaxed.

What Do Cats Dream About?

Most cats dream about food. They often dream about eating treats. When they eat these treats, they usually have a good time doing it. However, some cats dream about other things.

For instance, they may dream about sleeping. Other times, they may dream about being chased by a predator.

Alternatively, and maybe something a cat parent does not want to think about, they actually have a lot of sexual fantasies. Many male cats enjoy watching female felines.

Some females enjoy being watched by males, and both sexes enjoy the company of other cats-and then they dream about it!

In fact, this may be the reason some cats prefer to sleep with another animal rather than alone. They may curl up together while they sleep.

Summary: The End Of The Tail

There you have it-now you know why a cat twitches in its sleep. So next time you see your cat twitching, you will know why.

Courtney Trent
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