Cat Twitching in Sleep: Is This Normal?

Cat Twitching in Sleep: Is This Normal?

Photo by Jack Brind on Unsplash

Pretty sure you have watched that viral video on a kitten twitching his little paws when sleeping. I think I squeaked when I first watched that video. I can’t find that video now but below is another clear video of a cat twitching in sleep. As it brings a smile to your face, have you ever wondered if a cat twitching in sleep is a good thing or not?

Is my cat twitching or having a seizure?

First, the most crucial question is, is my cat having a seizure? A cat twitching in sleep is actually quite normal. Cat twitching during sleep is most likely not a seizure as seizure seldom happens during sleep.

Cat seizures are usually caused due to some neurological problem, while cat twitches in her sleeping time because she’s having dreams and signals are being sent to the brain.

Generally, seizures seldom happen during sleep. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms in your cat, it’s essential to take them straight away for treatment:

  • Lethargy

  • Loss of appetite

  • Stiffening body

  • Jerky movements

  • Wobbly feet

  • Appear confused

  • Vomiting

But to put your fears at rest, let’s understand why a cat twitches in their sleep and what you should do about it?

Why do cats twitch in their sleep

As a cat owner, you may have witnessed your feline friend twitch in their sleep. It’s not always easy to tell what they are dreaming about, but there are many theories about why cats twitch in their sleep. Here are some of the reasons from my research.

1. REM Sleep

Cats twitch in their sleep due to signals sent to the brain during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of sleep. Cats also dream while they sleep. This REM sleep stage only lasts for five or ten minutes at a time, and that may be when cats twitch in their dreams before finally falling into an even lighter slumber known as light sleep.

2. Signals from Dreams

As mentioned earlier, cats dream just like us humans do! Sometimes these signals get sent via nerves that control motor functions leading them to twitch during sleep. So cat dreams are much like the ones we have, but they could be about hunting dream prey or even chasing after toys! Cat also makes sounds like snoring and squeaking because air is passed through the throat when they dream.

3. Less developed nervous system

Cat twitching in sleep

Younger cats are likely to twitch more than older cats. The reason is that young cats have a less developed nervous system, and they might find it harder to control their movement during sleep. That’s why they twitch more than older animals.

Should I be worried if by cat is twitching during sleep

Not all of the twitching during sleep is the same, according to Dr. Matthew McCarthy, veterinarian and founder of JVA Hospital. If your cat is displaying unfamiliar twitchings or performing a jerky motion, it might be an indication of a health issue.

For example, if your cat is twitching near her ear, it’s probably a sign of ear mites; if she starts jerking in her rear, it’s most likely fleas.

Dr. McCarthy also says that “If the skin twitching starts while sleeping and seems to rouse your kitty, who then proceeds to attack their skin, or possibly you, aggressively, your cat may be experiencing feline hyperesthesia syndrome,”

Although seizures in cats do not usually occur with twitches while they are sleeping, they can still be a cause for concern. Take a video of your cat twitching during sleep and bring it up to the vet if you are concerned.

Should I wake my cats up when they are twitching in sleep

It is not necessary to wake your cats up when they are twitching. This simply means that they are in the REM sleep stage, followed by the deep sleep stage. Dr. Jessica Herman, a veterinarian at Fuzzy Pet Health, advised that “The following sleep stage is deep sleep which is important for growth, development, repair, and rebuilding of the body,”


Cats often start twitching when they are in a REM state during their sleep. So, let your cat twitch while sleeping! But not all of the feline’s frenzies are created equal – if you notice some concerning signs accompanied with twitching, take a video and consult your vet. To learn more about cats, leave your email below and subscribe to our newsletter.


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