Posted on November 23, 2016: The short answer according to Reader’s Digest Online is because “the ancestors of cats were originally desert-living animals”. But that’s not the only reason why cats like to stretch out to their full-flexed flexible self and catch a long, luxurious nap in the sun. How many of us have seen the cat literally chase the sunlight across the floor as the sun moves through the day, adjusting their position continuously to keep in the full glare of the big light in the sky.
Genetics or Metabolics?
Cats are descendants of short-haired, lean and long-bodied desert cats that are believed to have originated in the Middle East. Their normal body temperature is around 37 – 39 degree Celsius and yet they like to keep themselves toasty warm in the sun. Genetics could be a possible explanation. But this theory would then only be true of short-haired cats? How do we explain the Persian or other long-haired cats enjoying a snooze in the sun?
Pamela Merritt from wayofcats.com offers another ‘metabolic’ explanation. Cats use up energy to keep their body warm, to outwit their prey and break down glucose from their protein intake. Phew! All this puts considerable pressure on their digestive systems. “With the heat of the sun helping them stay warm, they are actually conserving energy. They like to seek out sunlight for naps because this offsets the drop in basal metabolism that comes with sleep’s shutdown of certain body processes,” says Pamela in Why do cats lie in the sun?
Lapping it up
Dogs and cats synthesise Vitamin D through their skin much like human beings do. This is why dogs like to nap in the sun much like their feline counterparts! But the animals lack the dermal absorption ability to absorb the Vitamin D through their skin like human beings. This is why they need to lick themselves to ingest the Vitamin D on their skin, informs puppyleaks.com.
So now you know! When the cat is enjoying a scorching nap in the sun on a hot day, he is actually making like a photovoltaic cell and recharging his battery and stocking up the Vitamin D for the next grooming session.