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Friday, 7 January 2011

Do Cats Dream?

There she was, sleeping the day away on top of the washing machine. As usual. That's what Lucy does. Then, out of nowhere, she started her unconscious antics: whiskers were twitching, ears were fluttering, even her paws and tail were having little spasms. Next came the eerie noises that were unlike any meow I'd ever heard. It wasn't the first time I'd seen such a display, but it was definitely one of the more dramatic.

Seems Lucy was having one humdinger of a dream. Almost every cat owner I know swears they've caught their pets dreaming. And from what I've read, scientific findings may back it up. Makes sense, considering all the sleeping that cats do.

Various studies have measured the brain activity of sleeping cats with an electroencephalogram (EEG). The results suggest that felines, like humans, enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep -- a mentally active period during sleep in which dreaming occurs. Turns out the physiological changes that take place in cats during this stage are similar to the ones that happen in humans -- suggesting that cats (and dogs) may dream during REM just like we do.

But if that's the case, what do cats dream about?

We may never know. It could be that our catnapping felines are reliving adventures from earlier in the day, such as that madcap game of chase with the toy mouse or that knock-down, drag-out wrestling match with a litter mate. One friend even described a dream "episode" during which her deeply slumbering cat showed all the signs of being in a full-blown catfight, complete with bottle-brushed tail, raised fur, growls, hisses, and caterwauling.

Now, that's a "cat-mare" for sure!
Reposted from CatAge. Original published date 1/4/2011.

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