Cats can spend up to 23 hours a day snoozing, catnapping, catching forty winks or otherwise dead to the world. They have 2 main mottos - "If in doubt, wash" and "If bored, sleep". They are masters of the art of sleeping draped over branches or chairbacks, curled into impossibly tight balls or sprawled out, snoring, on freshly fluffed duvets. As they slumber, paws flex and relax, claws extend and retract, legs and whiskers twitch and mouths make quiet chattering or mumbling noises. Do our purry furry friends dream and, if so, of what?

Human dreams are based on things we've experienced, seen or read, sprinkled with a liberal dose of imagination. Cats also recall previous experiences; vanishing when the flea-spray appears. They also remember things they've seen - like how to open catflaps after watching other cats doing it. Scenes from wildlife programmes or 'video catnip' tapes, where the prey is tantalisingly out of reach, may well feature in feline dreams.

Copyright 1993, Sarah Hartwell

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