The cat stretch…it’s so common there’s even a yoga pose named after it. Why exactly do cats stretch so much? The answer lies in another common cat behavior…sleeping! According to a recent article on the website Live Science, an anatomist at London’s Royal Veterinary College explains that lots of kitty sleeping equals lots of kitty stretching.
Cats can sleep up to 16 hours a day. As with humans, when cats sleep their brains paralyze their muscles so they don’t go around acting out their dreams of mice-chasing and bird-catching. Cats stretch to get their muscles moving after a period of inactivity. But stretching does more than just activate muscles.
Our blood pressure drops during sleep, and stretching helps increase blood pressure and blood flow throughout the body. Toxins also build up in our muscles during sleep, and stretching improves circulation which flushes these toxins away.
We sleep less than cats, so we stretch less. When cats take multiple naps throughout the day, they also have multiple wake-up stretching sessions. Stretching is especially important to cats because they are hunters and they need to activate their muscles so that they are ready to pounce on any passing prey when they wake up.
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