Photograph reproduced under creative commons (Flickr) - copyright and credit: Eirik Newth
I know my cat dreams heavily and has nightmares. And it is always the same nightmare. A lot of the time cats are snoozing. Their ears, like radar, twitch and rotate to the right direction to pick up new sounds while they are supposedly asleep.
But like all animals they eventually get off to sleep (but even then they wake up very easily on the slightest of noises or disturbances). Cats definitely dream because you can see them doing all kinds of things in their dreams through the action of their whiskers, legs, paws and the sounds they make.
The most obvious signs that my cat makes when she is dreaming are ones which indicate that she is dealing with a problem of some sort. This could be another cat approaching which might reflect the fact that I have two strays coming in during the day and night to feed. She accepts this gracefully and placidly but it may upset her. The upset coming out in her dreams.
The most obvious and recurring dream for my cat is, in fact, a nightmare. Of course I can't see the nightmare; only guess what it might be. She cries out during deep sleep, quite a noticeable noise and then wakes up. She looks and sounds upset. She might make a little grunt immediately on waking up as if to say "bl**dy hell* not that dream again.
She'll take about 5 seconds to get over it and settle down again. What is the nightmare? This is my thinking about it.
She is not a lap cat and is not sure about the lower part of her back and the back of her body being stroked. She is an abandoned cat (I found her under a car in London on a cold Nov. day some 14 yrs ago). My theory is that she was a lap cat but the owner smacked her when she kneaded the person (as cats do).
She was abused somewhat I believe too. I think it is these experiences that are played out and which have made her what she is, a loving gentle lady but nervous of strangers and service engineers particularly.
This nervousness translates to inactivity and that results in being a little rotund.