Why Does My Cat Twitch in Her Sleep?

Why does my cat twitch in her sleep? Like humans, cats also get dreams in their sleep, which can be the reason behind the twitching. Most of the time, the twitching isn’t a cause of concern if it happens during your cat’s sleep. Below, I discussed why cat twitches and if when you should be worried about it.

What it means when your cat twitches during sleep

Cats spend most of the day sleeping. In fact, an adult cat will snooze for up to 16 hours each day, with kittens sleeping more.

Most of the time, your kitty sleeps lightly so a minor sound can easily awaken it. You will also see your cat with its eyes closed and taking small naps from time to time.

However, felines can also fall into a deep sleep as humans do. During deep sleep, a cat experiences rapid eye movement or REM. This phase is where dreams occur, which will make your cat twitch its body, whiskers, and paws as if chasing after a non-existent prey.

Twitching during sleep occurs in cats more often than what pet owners know. Cats fall into REM sleep every 25 to 30 minutes, whereas humans experience the same phase every 90 minutes. That means a cat dreams and twitches a lot. Some would even be awakened by their own twitches.

But aren’t a cat’s body semi-paralyzed during sleep? Like humans, cats experience muscle atonia or temporary paralysis to keep their bodies from enacting what we are dreaming.

However, just like humans, cats may lose a certain level of muscle atonia, which may lead to twitching. Your cat’s reenactment of its dreams can be anywhere from minor twitches to full-on phantom running.

Overall, REM sleep isn’t something to be worried about. Actually, it’s a healthy part of your cat’s sleep since it helps rebuild the body and promote growth. The next time you see your cat twitching in its sleep, just let it be. Just make sure that it won’t fall off wherever it is sleeping.

Can cats have seizures in their sleep?

While most cases of twitching in their sleep are harmless, you should know that cats can have seizures in their sleep, too. A small seizure can occur during your kitty’s slumber, which is followed by other symptoms.

During REM sleep, your cat is more likely to reenact normal movements like running, pawing, and minor twitches. However, if your kitty becomes stiff and wriggly, you should be worried. This is a sign of a seizure, which can be followed by vomiting, poor appetite, and lethargy upon waking up.

If you noticed these signs on your cat, it’s best to bring the kitty to the vet’s clinic. You should also time how long the seizures occur since this will help the vet assess the potential damage.

 When twitching isn’t due to REM or seizure

Sometimes, cats will twitch their ears and skin during sleep and get woken by it. If it’s followed by licking and chewing on the twitchy part, you should check for the presence of ticks or fleas. Ear mites can also be the culprit.

However, if the kitty twitches, awakens, and attacks its skin aggressively, you should consider the possibility of feline hyperesthesia syndrome. This condition is also known as ‘rolling skin disease’ since it causes the cat’s skin to ripple.

Cats suffering from this condition will often attack their tail or even their skin. This will result in self-inflicted hotspots and wounds. Sometimes, the kitty will vent its aggression toward the person located near them during an attack.

Take note that this is a neurological problem. It’s best to bring your cat to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. This condition often requires life-long treatment, but there are some cases where the cat recovers given early intervention.

Does a dying cat twitch?

A dying cat will often exhibit spasms or twitching as it takes its last breath. This can also occur after the cat died. It’s often mistaken as a sign of life, but it’s merely ‘leftover’ reflexes the body expels. This might be accompanied by a sound coming from the cat’s mouth as gas exits the body.

However, twitching isn’t always a sign of death or exhibited by every dying feline. But if your kitty can’t stop twitching, you should seek immediate veterinary care because it’s not normal.

Is it normal for cats to twitch while awake?

It’s normal to see your cat twitch its skin whenever a fly lands on it. It’s a very minor twitch that your kitty does on purpose.

However, if your cat keeps on twitching while awake, you should be worried. Involuntary muscle trembling may appear as twitching. This is due to irritants or emotional distress, but a genetic health problem can also be the trigger.

Sometimes, twitching while awake can be a symptom of a bigger and more serious health issue. It can range from nervous system disorders, low calcium levels, poisoning, kidney problem, electrolyte imbalances, and even rabies.

The veterinarian is the best person to consult in this situation. Your cat’s vet will conduct tests and examinations to identify the real cause of involuntary twitching.

Why do cats twitch their tails?

A cat with a twitchy tail is often in alert mode. However, if the kitty starts twitching its tail side to side, it indicates excitement, irritability, or even anger. It’s important to calm your pet to prevent any aggression or attack later on.

Take note that your cat uses its tail to communicate. By knowing its movements, you’ll have an idea about what your cat is feeling or going through. You should take this body language as a cue about what your kitty might do next.

Why is my cat shivering in his sleep?

If the shivers occur randomly and in very short periods, we can say that this is just part of REM sleep. But if your cat won’t stop shivering, it might be experiencing a seizure.

You should also consider the possibility of hypoglycemia, especially on kittens and adult cats that haven’t eaten yet.

Also, it’s important to keep cats warm since they are very sensitive to very low temperatures. This is especially true for kitties with diabetes. It’s always best to consult with a vet if you’re worried. This will let you identify what’s causing your cat’s shivering during sleep.

Conclusion

Why does my cat twitch in her sleep? Most of the time, this is part of REM sleep where a cat reenacts its dreams. However, you should also consider the possibility of seizures or hyperesthesia. If the twitching is continuous, you should bring the cat to the vet immediately.