Cats can sometimes twitch during sleep, just like humans. This is normal in most cases and should not be a cause for concern. It could be a sign that something is not right with your four-legged friend.

Your cat will appreciate getting good sleep. Why do cats twitch during sleep? Let’s look at the most common causes of this behavior in cats and answer some commonly asked questions.

This list of FAQs and reasons for twitching will help you understand why your cat is waking up in the middle of the night and what you can do to stop it.

8 Top Reasons


Before we go into the top reasons cats twitch in their sleep, it is important to remember that your vet can help you if your cat has ever been sick. Your vet can help you understand why your cat is twitching, and also provide additional information to make your mind more at ease.

1. Imagine you are dreaming

cats dream just like humans. This is why they often twitch during sleep. Cats go through three stages of sleep: cat naps (also known as light sleep), cat REM (also known as deep sleep), and cat naps (also known as deep sleep).

Twiddling occurs during REM when the brain is still active. This can lead to spontaneous twitching. Their nose, whiskers, or ears are the most obvious, but they may also move their paws and mouth. You might even see them meow.

If the movement doesn’t occur with any other symptoms, it is likely that they are simply reacting to a dream.

2. Nervous System Development

Cats go through three stages of sleep, while kittens experience activated sleep. This is the time when their nervous system develops. This is something all kittens experience and can cause twitching.

Their bodies are constantly developing new neuron connections and can cause quick, jerky movements. They might cry, squirm or make other sounds in their sleep.

It’s not a problem as long as your kitten doesn’t show unusual behavior or is healthy.

Once their nervous system has fully developed, they should be able to outgrow this stage. Enjoy this adorable phase of their cat phase.

3. Fleas

Fleas can cause your cat’s skin to itch, causing them to twitch in their sleep. Fleas can cause your cat to itch, which can be caused by irritation to its skin. These pesky insects can be killed with a spot treatment to stop your cat’s twitching.

Fleas are more common outside cats than indoor pets, but they can be picked up by indoor pets as well. Fleas can be passed to your cat by another pet.

4. Other skin conditions

Itchy skin can be caused by allergies, matted fur, or skin infections. All of these can cause cats to twitch during sleep. This could be an indication that your cat is having trouble sleeping.

If they twitch their ears, it could be an ear infestation or mites. You should check for any buildup of wax or discoloration. Talk to your veterinarian if you find something amiss.

5. Uncontrollable Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasms can occur in cats at any stage of sleep, as well as when they are awake. Their muscles relax and contract back, causing a spasm. This action may be triggered by certain health conditions but in most cases, it is a normal part of their sleep cycle.

If they experience muscle spasms frequently, it could indicate a medical condition like kidney disease, liver problems, electrolyte imbalance, or muscular dystrophy.

6. Pregnancy

Pregnant cats experience many changes. It is working hard to support and grow new life. This can cause increased muscle activity and twitch during sleep.

This is usually harmless. However, it could indicate low calcium in pregnancy (eclampsia). Keep your pet safe by keeping an eye on it and making sure that they don’t experience any other unusual symptoms like nervousness or agitation.

7. Seizures

Seizures can occur in cats while they sleep. They can be similar to twitching. Seizures tend to be more severe and jerkier. They might also experience stiffness in their muscles and limbs.

The average duration of seizures is between 30 and 90 seconds. During that time, it will be difficult to wake your pet. Apart from seizures, your cat will likely show other neurological signs when awake. This could include changes in energy, appetite, and other behaviors.

Talk to your vet if your cat is exhibiting any of these symptoms. You might consider installing a pet cam to keep an eye on your cat while you are away.

8. Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome

Feline hyperesthesia Syndrome is also known as twitchy cat syndrome, rolling skin syndrome, and a few others. This syndrome is not well understood. It could be caused by epilepsy, tail trauma or muscle problems, or even spinal disease.

This condition is most likely to be caused by ‘triggers’. These triggers can be knocking on doors, doorbells or other sounds, changes in food, touch to sensitive parts of your cat’s skin, and many more.

This condition is often characterized by twitching, compulsive grooming and licking or biting their feet, drooling, and chasing their tail. You should consult your veterinarian if you see any of these symptoms in your cat.

A Few Questions to Ask About Cats Twitching While Sleeping

Let’s now get a better understanding of why cats twitch during sleep. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers.

What should I do if my cat is suffering from Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome

Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome is currently incurable. There are however ways that you can help your pet manage its symptoms. You should immediately visit your vet if you suspect that your cat may have FHS.
You can give your cat medications to improve its quality of life. Your cat’s stress and anxiety can lead to worsening symptoms.
This disease can affect any cat breed, but it seems to be more prevalent in Siamese and Siamese breeds.

Do I need to wake my cat if they’re twitching?

If your cat is twitching, it’s not necessary to wake them. There are some situations where this might be a good idea.
If your cat falls asleep on the edge of the bed, or any other high surface, it is best to get them up and move them to a safe place. Your cat might be having an active dream in which it is running around. This could cause its twitching to become more energetic and make it unconsciously move.
You can try to wake your cat if they are having a seizure. It’s possible they are only twitching or waking up easily. If they don’t respond to your commands, it could be a sign that they are experiencing a seizure. If this happens, contact your veterinarian.

What should I do to wake my cat up if I have to?

If your cat is twitching and you feel the need to get them up, gently wake them up. Do not poke or prod your cat. Instead, stroke their fur gently and encourage them to get up with soft words.
It is important to remember that no one likes being woken from a deep sleep, even pets.

What length of time do cats sleep each night?

How long do cats sleep? Your feline friend will sleep anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a night. Depending on their age, kittens can sleep 16 to 20 hours per night.
Senior cats tend to sleep longer hours. Senior cats can sleep up to 20 hours a day due to reduced mobility and old age.
They won’t sleep straight, but they will have periods of waking up and going to bed throughout the day. This is a lot of potential for twitching if you think about it.

Why do cats sleep so much?

Two-thirds of cats sleep during their lives. Humans only sleep about one-third. Our fluffy companions are Crepuscular Animals and have evolved to be so restful. Wild cats had to conserve energy in order to hunt, chase, kill, and capture their prey.
Domesticated cats do not have to hunt for food to survive. However, they still need to rest to prepare for strenuous activity.

Are Cats prone to Nightmares?

Yes, cats can experience nightmares while sleeping. If your cat starts to growl in their sleep, yowl, or pant excessively, you can tell if it is having a bad nightmare. This could indicate a seizure or twitching.
It’s unlikely to be a serious problem if it is a rare occurrence or only occasionally.

What should I do if my cat is shaking?

Your cat might be shaking instead of twitching. This could be a sign that your cat is having trouble. This movement can be caused by an abnormal body temperature, anxiety, hypoglycemia, or pain. To determine the cause of this behavior, it is best to consult your veterinarian.

What time should I see a vet if my cat is twitching?

It’s best to be safe than sorry if your cat is twitching. Keep track of how often your cat twitches and the movements they make.
It’s a good idea if you have the opportunity to capture a video of your cat in sleep twitching. This will help your vet determine if they need to do any further medical work. This will help your vet decide if additional medical treatment is needed.

What Environment is Best for Cats?

You can help your cat get great sleep by providing a variety of ways to support their health. Cats love warmth. You can turn on the heater if it gets cold. If that is not possible, you could get a self-warming cat pad to make them feel warm.
You should ensure that they sleep in a quiet area away from noisy appliances or busy areas. They prefer to sleep in a quiet area of the living room or bedroom. Many cats love to sleep in cat trees, especially when they are surrounded by children or other pets who can easily reach them.

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