Why do cats have nightmares?

I have nightmares. Is this normal for a cat? I never remember them but I do remember being startled, sometimes to the point where I bounce off the sofa or accidentally kick my human in the face.
It’s interesting though, it only happens when I’m sleeping on or next to my human. If I’m in medium sleep I can get startled if my human moves, even if it’s a minor movement. Sometimes she doesn’t move at all and I still get startled. My legs usually start to twitch right before the fit but sometimes the fit just happens and it is terrifying!

One early morning I accidentally kicked my human in the face. I have large claws on my back paws and even though they undergo pedicure every so often they still do damage. They drew blood!

Maybe these nightmares are the product of a stressful summer. I moved house, got a new human and a home all to myself. No other cat to share with – yet. We had a visitor, a panther, during the summer. Maybe he’s the reason for my nightmares. I’ll share that story some other time.