Do Cats Dream?


Quick Answer

Like most other mammals, cats do dream. The precise nature and extent of the contents of a cat's dream are unknown, as of 2014. Research indicates that cats likely dream as a way of processing the memories acquired while awake.

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Do Cats Dream?
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Full Answer

Just like humans, cats fluctuate between slow-wave sleep and rapid-eye-movement sleep, also called REM sleep. Dreams, particularly vivid dreams, are more likely to occur during REM sleep, which triggers the pons and hippocampus in the brainstem. The pons initiates a state of paralysis, called atonia, which prevents the dreamer from acting out dreams to ensure safety, while the hippocampus activates stored memories. Sleep disorders inhibiting atonia may cause a cat to act out dream scenarios, making noises, trying to run while lying down or pouncing on nonexistent prey. This indicates that cats dream about stored memories, but there is no proof that cats dream imaginary scenarios.

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