This trainer explains why you should never touch a sleeping cat

An old tabby cat soaks up the heat in front of a wood burning stove
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Did you know that you should never pet a sleeping cat? It's true! 

Why do cats sleep so much? is a question many cat parents have asked over the years, as they find their feline friends curled up in one of the best cat beds for an average of about 15 hours each day. 

It’s partly genetic. Cats are crepuscular animals, meaning that they’re most active at dusk. However, they can break up their sleep in the daytime in order to spend some time with their humans. 

When your cat’s asleep, it can be tempting to wake them up for cuddles or play. However, it’s not a good idea to touch a sleeping cat, as Maria Kozlova, a certified cat trainer and behaviorist, and founder of Cats Explained, shared in an Instagram post. 

“Cats have two types of sleep,” Kozlova explains, “Deep and light. During deep sleep, they truly relax and recharge their batteries. Interrupting this phase can cause stress and affect their health, and it simply can scare your cat.”

Deep sleep helps keep your cat stay strong, both physically and mentally. And they might be so sleepy that they won’t even wake if you’re being a bit noisy around them – so there’s no need to tiptoe! 

While it’s best not to touch your cat when they’re asleep, you’d be forgiven for being tempted. As Kozlova continues, “When your cat is in deep sleep, it might curl up into a cute little ball. His paws, whiskers, or tail might wiggle a bit, and you might see its eyes moving under its eyelids.”

Sure, your kitty might look too cute for words when they’re snoozing, but it’s a good idea to let them keep sleeping. Then, when they wake up, they’ll be ready to play! 

However, if you notice any changes in your cat’s sleeping habits – perhaps they’ve always enjoyed sleeping but they’ve been sleeping a lot more recently – it’s a good idea to consult your vet. When cats are unwell, they may be less active. And particularly if your feline’s eating or drinking habits change, too, you should get things checked out at the vet. 

It may not be anything serious. Cats can begin to sleep more as they get older, for example. But it’s better to be safe than sorry, so any changes should be checked out – if nothing else, it’ll put your mind at rest. 

If you’re having the opposite problem, and you find yourself asking questions like ‘Why won’t my cat sleep?’ you might find this article helpful. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering pets, lifestyle, health and culture, and he has six years' experience in journalism. He was senior editor at, and has written for The Independent, GoodToKnow and Healthline

He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' golden retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.