“This kitten is in the state of sleep some people call “the sleep of the body,” because the body is totally relaxed except for these tips of things twitching, while the brain is active and dreaming,” he says. “The opposite is “sleep of the mind,” when the brainwaves go very big and slow, almost flattening out, but the muscles are not completely relaxed—with a cat, that would be a catnap.”
In other words: Dreaming, yes. Nightmare, who knows.
As for that maternal cuddle, he says, it’s probably fair to call it a hug. Mother cats and human parents bond with their children via similar hormones, like oxytocin, so “human analogies are not entirely inaccurate,” he says. “To me it’s a perfectly natural example of maternal care and affection to a kitten who’s dreaming. They’re mutually bonded and I think they enjoy the presence of each other.”
Thank science for validating this. Otherwise, we’d just go on anthropomorphizing things unjustifiably. This time, our anthropomorphic instincts are correct, meaning we are correct to squee.