If you are a first-time pet parent who has just adopted or rescued your new kitten, you might be amazed and at the same time concerned by your little feline’s sleeping patterns.
Well, don’t be alarmed – adult cats sleep for 16 to 20 hours a day, and kittens sleep even longer. But, how much do kittens sleep?
How Much Do Kittens Sleep?
Kittens are cute, endearing, energetic little fur balls…and they are always sleeping. But again, this is something that you should not be worried about because it’s totally normal for them to spend almost the entire day sleeping.
Adult cats sleep at least 18 hours every day and kittens sleep even more. Sleep and diet are necessary for proper cell growth and development of their tiny, growing body.
The rhythms and quantities of a kitten's sleep depend upon age but it can also be due to personality and mode of life.
The more active a kitten is, the more sleep he needs. If you worry about how well your cat sleeps, take into account that he must be comfortable and well-protected in a safe, warm, and quiet place. Sleep, along with proper nutrition are essential for your kitten's optimal growth and development.
Related Article: 5 Reasons Why Your Cat Is Sleeping In The Litter Box
How Your Kitten Sleeps and How It Changes as He Grows?
Your newborn kitten will often seem to be easily awakened during the first two months after he was born. The initial phase of sleep known as rapid eye movement (or REM sleep), allows your kitten to remain alert as his vision develops.
As his senses become sharper your little tiger will begin developing the slower sleep stage and the relaxation phase during rest will be better.
Your kitten can begin making his transition into adult sleep at about 2 months of age. You should observe him being active and starting to sleep 18 hours per day. After a few weeks, your kitten should become more independent.
Why Does a Kitten Sleep So Much?
Kittens are born blind and deaf. So, they need all the sleep that they can get to develop these senses. Sleep will also keep your cat in great health.
What’s more, the development of his brain, central nervous system, bones, and muscles also depends on regular catnaps.
Sleep also has evolutionary roots in kittens who would usually spend their nights asleep during the day and hunt for shorter periods to conserve energy.
Sleep helped protect young wildcats from predators. Without a solid night's sleep, your kitten will become irritable and even more prone to infections.
Related Article: Do Cats Dream? Feline Sleep And Dreaming Explained
Why Is Your Kitten Awake and More Active at Night?
Cats are crepuscular mammals and they are especially active during the twilight hours or the period of time before sunrise and after sunset. In the wild, these lull hours are the best time to capture their most favorite birds or mice.
As a kitten matures into an adult cat, he will become more flexible with his sleep behavior. Until then, expect that your kitten will keep you up all night when you need it the most.
However, cats can also adapt to new routines and you can help your feline friend to adjust smoothly, especially if he is close to you.
If your little tiger wakes you up early and expects food, you can provide him with a puzzle feeder or a toy filled with food to keep him busy until you have your morning tea.
You can also provide more stimulating activities for him during the day, and play with him before bedtime. If your cat is busier during the day, you can expect that he will sleep longer and better at night.
Potential Problems in Dreamland
Seeing your kitten sleeping in his cat bed for around 22 hours a day may sound like he is oversleeping, but again, it’s just normal for his age.
As your kitten grows, he will start sleeping short periods throughout the day rounding his daily sleep cycle to around 18 hours a day similar to an adult cat.
However, if you notice your cat spending most of his day dozing accompanied by a remarkable decrease in his energy when he is awake, you should be concerned. This can indicate a medical problem, such as anemia.
Anemia is a disease by which the body does not have enough red blood cells. This condition can be especially dangerous for kittens as their organs are still growing. Hence, they need a constant flow of oxygenated blood running throughout their system.
Kittens with fleas are also more prone to having anemia. If you think that your kitten has this condition, look at his gums to find evidence he's anemic. If your kitten’s gums are pale, it is a sign that he may be anemic. You should consult your veterinarian immediately.
On the other hand, while it may not be common for pet parents to complain that their kittens are sleeping too little, it is still possible. Seizure and sleep disorders are just some of the atypical conditions that can disrupt your kitten’s sleeping pattern and keep him from getting a sound sleep.
Nonetheless, if your kitten doesn’t sleep that much, it also doesn’t automatically mean that he has a medical condition that warrants veterinary care.
Most of the time, we can also take into consideration the fact that cats are unique individuals, and sometimes don’t need to sleep as much as other cats.
Usually, kittens love to sleep anywhere: in the bathtub, on a shelf, cabinet, or even the litter box.
At this age, it is common for kittens to find their litter box as a cozy place to sleep, instead of a place to eliminate their body wastes. On the other hand, if your adult cat also loves to sleep in his litter box, it can indicate a medical problem. For kittens, this can be due to the following reasons:
- The litter box makes him feel secure.
- He may not like your choice of litter substrate – at least for peeing and pooping.
These issues are usually resolved with a little help and patience from you. It’s best to provide your kitten with his designated cat bed, preferably with high sides. Some kittens are also born finicky, so, you may want to change your litter substrate.
Additionally, you can also think of where your kitten was born. For instance, if he was born in a barn, then, you can purchase a cat litter that is made from pine shavings, or something similar.
You can also ditch the regular cat litter box to a low pan, so it looks less inviting for sleep and relaxation. Once your kitten starts using it, you can switch to a regular cat litter box.
How Can You Encourage Your Kitten to Sleep at Night?
There are several ways for your cat to sleep at night on a regular basis. You can play with him before turning the lights off – to utilize his excessive energy.
And you can also feed your kitten before bedtime, so he won't feel hungry at night. Eating can also make your little feline friend sleepy.
You can also leave some safe toys beside him to keep him busy just in case he wakes up at 3 AM while you are sleeping.
What’s more, as a loving pet parent, you should not tolerate your kitten’s nighttime or early morning hyperactivity. Unless your kitten is waking up due to illness, you should not wake up and tend to him.
Kittens learn fast, and before you knew it, he will know his appropriate sleeping hours, and he’ll understand that he should not bother you during wee hours.
Should I let my kitten sleep all day?
Time spent snoozing in young kittens tones and strengthens the muscles and bones that give this species its athleticism and grace. Sleep even keeps your kitten's immune system in tip-top shape. Without enough sleep, your kitten will become irritable and even at risk for infections and illness.
Do kittens sleep through the night?
Not always – it's common for kittens to wake up throughout the night. While it's true that kittens love snoozing and they can sleep up to 18-20 hours a day, it doesn't always happen when humans are asleep. Cats are generally active at dawn and dusk.
Do cats sleep with you to protect you?
Sleeping with you provides them with security and an extra defense if a predator should launch a nighttime attack. They sleep with you because they trust you, they know you're not a danger and you can also provide an extra layer of defense if needed.
Is it OK to leave a kitten alone at night?
If you don't want to let your cat onto your bed, putting him into a safe room at night is probably your only real option. A kitten will typically need comfort and reassurance to feel safe enough to sleep.
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