If animals twitch their paws or make noises while sleeping, they appear to be dreaming. Of what, so far is left to the imagination of the people. There is currently no scientific evidence.
These two cuties must be dreaming of their amazing friendship – Shutterstock / Vasek Rak
Also, why people dream and what their dreams mean is still largely a mystery to scientists. What happens when animals sleep is even more difficult to study – after all, dogs, cats and mice can’t tell what they dreamed about once they wake up.
Evidence that animals dream while sleeping
Various experiments indicate that animals dream. It is based on what people experience when they are asleep. In the case of us bipeds, it has been found that we can remember dreams particularly well if we are awakened during the so-called REM phase. The abbreviation stands for “Rapid Eye Movement” and describes a certain sleep phase in which we move our eyes back and forth behind closed lids.
Such sleep phases have been observed in dogs and cats, for example, and birds also seem to experience a short REM phase while sleeping. This leads scientists to believe that some animals dream too.
Dream content remains speculation
When it comes to what animals dream of, researchers depend on outside observations. Previous findings are condensed into the assumption that animals process their daily experiences again when they sleep. For example, an experiment was made with rats in a maze, which had to look for treats there. Their brain waves were measured. The measurement continued while the rats slept. Afterwards the data were compared and showed amazing parallels. Apparently the rats reviewed the way through the labyrinth in their sleep.
Otherwise, it can often be observed that dogs, cats and the like whimper or meow softly, make running movements with their paws or show other gestures that also manifest themselves regularly when awake. This also seems to indicate that they are dreaming and reliving their experiences in their sleep.
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