How Do You Perfect Your Catnaps – And What Does Catnip Do To Help? - Cat Crack Catnip

How Do You Perfect Your Catnaps – And What Does Catnip Do To Help?

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Whisker City, CAT – Are you a cat sitting comfortably? Probably. And are you ready for a nap? The chances are the answer is 'yes' - but according to a purr-plexing new study from the Feline University of Research (FUR), you may not find it as easy to drift off - and stay drifted- as you'd like.

Five Habits for Highly Effective Catnaps delves into our mew-niversal obsession with sleep. The study aims to unravel the mysteries behind how, why, and where we cats doze the best and how to improve our slumbers through the judicious use of catnip.

Devastatingly attractive - yet exceedingly vain – sleep researcher Slinky McSnooze unveiled the project today to a curious nation of could-do-better cat-nappers:

"We have long known that sleep is the cat's whiskers. We all love it, incredibly; we even dream of it. Yet more and more of us struggle to do it properly – or to understand it. I wanted to change that. Plus, I wanted to give more cats from around the world the chance to see my beautiful face."

What is Catnip – And Why Does it Matter?

Catnip, known scientifically as Nepeta Cataria, is a perennial herb in the mint family. It has been safely enjoyed by cats for thousands of years, and today – thanks to proper research –  we are finally starting to appreciate the full extent of its medicinal properties and benefits.

A Hiss-story of Sleep

There's no doubt - when it comes to what matters most to us – that purr-fectly proportioned, yet strangely big-headed catnap connoisseur Dr McSnooze is right: it's sleep. 

Sure, food is important. Being better than dogs is key too, although for most cats, that comes easy. But is there anything we love or talk about more than sleep? (Editor: catnip?). 

Take, for example, how many of our favorite films are about sleep, such as Sleepless And See-Cat-Ill, The Big Feline Sleep, and Broadcast Snooze. There are more. Probably. And how many classic reads are about sleep? A Tale Of Two Sleeping Kitties; Warm and Peaceful; and One Hundred Years of Snoozitude. There are more. (Editor: Like my fave short story: Do Androids Dream of Cats Asleep?). And how many of our most treasured songs have been dedicated to this, our No.1 hobby? Remember Stairway To Heavenly Bedding; Imagine (Sleeping); and Crazy In Love With Catnaps. There are so many more, I expect. 

Benefits of Catnip 

Meanwhile, we all know the benefits of cat nip - and its magic, natural plant ingredient nepetalactone - for improving our work, rest, and play. But how much do we really think of the 'rest' in that sentence? Dr. McSnooze – in between positioning herself so we can appreciate her best side – thinks the answer is: 'not enough.' Have a free hit and read on to find out why…

The Science of Snoozing

Existing research shows that adult cats like to spend 12 to 20 hours a day on the good stuff, and kittens can sleep up to 20 - much to the envy of those tasked with protecting their territory from dogs, strays, and rogue dust bunnies. 

Cats are, though, naturally crepuscular - meaning we are most active during dawn and dusk - hence, the bulk of our day is dedicated to perfecting the art of catnapping, reserving energy for our awesome twilight shenanigans. The problem – and therefore momentum for the study – is that daytime sleeping is getting harder and harder than ever. FUR polls reveal that, in fact, 92% of cats say they sleep worse than they used to. McSnooze explains why:

"It used to be easy – we all lived similar lives, and there wasn't as much stimulation or as many chemicals in our diet. Now, every home is filled with screens, low-level electrical humming, and vacuum cleaners – it's very stressful. Our cheap kibble and junk food diets are full of artificial ingredients, many of them keeping us up when we want to be down. And in addition, since Covid and lockdowns, we're simply no longer in sync with one another. We live in a different world, and that calls for a different approach to sleep. I still look gorgeous, though – check out my bumhole."

Does Catnip Calm Cats?

How does catnip work?  Put simply, catnip mimics feel-good pheromones whether we need to be festive, or restive. It calms cats, but also aids sleep in other ways too.

"Think of your sleeping and waking hours as a cycle," continues Dr McSnooze, "between exercise and rest. The one is not possible without the other. Catnip energizes cats, which tires them out, but it also calms them, which aids in better quality sleep, and as we all know, a well-rested cat is a happy cat. It has no effect on beauty, though – some cats are just hotter than others."

The study begins by pointing out the best-known benefits of good catnapping - improved mood, heightened hunting abilities, and a glossy coat. But that – says Dr McSnooze – is just the tip of the iceberg: "Sleep - just like the membership size of my fan club –  is huge. When it comes to memory consolidation and learning, it's crucial. Those intricate sequences of parkour that dogs just can't do? Mastered during REM sleep," she explains, miming an impressive slow-motion leap and then admiring herself in a reflection.

So, how do we improve our catnaps?

Five Habits For Highly Effective Catnaps

Change is all about paws-itive steps, and Dr McSnooze's study recommends five simple changes she believes can help all cool cats get a better kip. 

"In the end, the secret to a happy, healthy cat lies in the quality of our catnaps. It's my dream that every cat has sweet dreams, and by nurturing these five habits, you can achieve improved mood, better health, and a happier, more active lifestyle – you may even start looking as great as me, although probably not."

1. Find the Purr-fect Spot

Location, location, location. A warm, secure, comforting location is key for cat-sleep, and the study highlights the top three spots to choose from: 

  1. Sun-drenched: A patch of sunlight on the floor is basically a cat magnet. The warmth not only soothes our muscles, but also aids in vitamin D synthesis.
  2. High vantage: Cats feel safest when we can oversee our kingdom, perhaps from the top of a fridge, or up high on a bookshelf.
  3. Laps (human): The study confirms that in many ways, there is little point in humans, but it remains an ironic truth that when it comes to sleep, very little beats the combination of warmth, softness and rhythmic breathing that a human provides. It's like purring in stereo.

2. Stick to a Regular Schedule

Us cats thrive on routine, something which other creatures, such as dogs (who are simply stupid) and humans (who are slow learners and unbelievably chaotic), often fail to appreciate. So ignore those around you and attempt regular nap times to regulate your internal clock, reinforce natural sleep-wake cycles, and ensure you get adequate rest.

3. Engage in Pre-Nap Play

Get tired. A session of interactive play before nap time can help you expend energy and prepare you for a restful sleep. From feather wands to laser pointers to good old-fashioned ping pong balls, whatever floats your boat and busies your body and mind makes it more likely you'll settle down straight sway for a nice deep nap.

4. Create a Calming Atmosphere

Good, peaceful vibes matter – that means no sudden noises, flicking lights, or artificial smells. Yuk! Our senses remain active when we are asleep – albeit on pause - so don't stimulate them!

5. Incorporate Catnip 

Catnip makes for sweeter dreams and more restorative sleep – so why not try sprinkling a free hit of the highest-potency catnip (Cat Crack) on your favorite blanket. 30 minutes later, it's night-night time!

"We experimented with a controlled group of felines, administering a small dose of catnip before their designated nap times," Dr McSnooze explains, showing a cute video of herself dozing. "Cats exposed to catnip experienced 20% longer REM cycles, leading to more vivid dreams, usually involving laser pointers, endless fields of kibble, and me being fantastic".

So, as the old adage goes, a catnap a day keeps the vet man away – but perhaps now we know also, that some Cat Crack a day (have a free hit) keeps insomnia at bay. Feline sleepy? 

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