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How Much Sleep Does My Kitten Need? What You Need To Know!

Two kittens sleeping on a quilt

Bringing home a new kitten is nothing short of exciting. You’re excited to play with your kitten and see what all he can get into. However, it can be worrisome to bring that kitten home and find out that he is sleeping a lot. It may even lead you to wonder if something is wrong with your kitten.

But if your kitten seems to be sleeping more than anything else, don’t worry. It’s totally normal for a kitten to sleep up to 90% of the day. That’s equivalent to about 22 hours of sleep. But sleeping the day away is only temporary. As your kitten gets older, he’ll sleep less. But even an adult cat can sleep up to 18 hours per day. In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about your kitten’s sleeping habits.

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Why Do Kittens Sleep So Much?

a kitten sleeping with one eye open
Image Credit: Mammiya, Pixabay

Part of the reason that cats sleep so much is due to their natural instincts. Cats in the wild sleep a lot in order to conserve their energy. By conserving their energy, they are better able to hunt for their food and chase it down. Even though you provide all the food for your cat so he doesn’t need to hunt, he still has those natural instincts.

Kittens sleep even more than adult cats do. In the wild, while their parents are out hunting, the kittens stay behind and sleep. This helps to keep them safe by allowing them to remain quiet and undetected by predators.

Another reason that kittens sleep so much is that their bodies use a lot of energy. Just like human babies grow and develop, kittens do too. Their body works hard to help them develop a strong immune system as well as strong bones and muscles. Sleeping is the way to recover from all of that energy use. As they get older and don’t use as much energy, they start to sleep less.

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Why Are Kittens More Active at Night?

a tabby kitten sitting under the table
Image Credit: iqbalnuril, Pixabay

Your kitten sleeps for most of the day, but then when you’re settling in at night, it seems like that’s when they’re up making noise, eating, and playing. You may have heard that cats are nocturnal, but this is not entirely true. Cats are actually crepuscular, which means they are most active twice a day- at dawn and dusk.

Kittens are most active in the evenings and early morning (nighttime hours to you and me) because that’s how they adapted in the wild. Dawn and dusk are the best time for hunting. It makes sense that this is when your cat is most likely to be up eating and playing, especially after sleeping most of the day away.

If your kitten’s activity at night is interrupting your sleep, don’t worry. It’s important to remember that since kittens are still developing, you can change their behaviors by helping them adapt to living in your home.

Playing with your kitten more during the day when he is awake can help tire him out at night. This is especially true if you play with your cat right before bedtime. Getting him worn out can help him sleep throughout the night, which can also prevent him from waking you up as well.

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What If My Kitten Doesn’t Sleep Enough/Too Much?

Kittens can sleep anywhere from 18 to 22 hours per day depending on their age. And remember that a kitten’s sleeping habits will change as he gets older. But if your kitten is sleeping a lot less or more than he should, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

Just like humans, animals can suffer from sleep disorders also. Sleep disorders in animals can be primary, meaning there is a specific sleep disorder that is affecting their sleep, or secondary, meaning that your pet’s sleep problems are the result of another medical condition.

The two main primary sleep disorders that can affect a cat’s sleep are narcolepsy and sleep apnea. Narcolepsy in cats is rare, but it can still happen. It is characterized by excessive sleepiness, sudden and brief loss of consciousness, and an overall lack of energy.

Sleep apnea is more common among Persian cats and kittens, but all cats can be affected. With sleep apnea, your kitten’s breathing can be interrupted during sleep. Sometimes, this causes no problems. But other times, it can result in your kitten having trouble staying asleep or being more drowsy than usual during the daytime.

Secondary sleep disorders that can cause your kitten to sleep more or less can be triggered by other medical conditions, including heart problems, anemia, and certain medications that your cat may be taking. If your kitten seems to be having trouble sleeping or sleeping more than normal, especially if it has happened suddenly, it’s a good idea to see your veterinarian in order to find out what’s going on.

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How Can I Improve My Kitten’s Sleeping Habits?

If your kitten is keeping you up at night and the problem isn’t the result of a medical condition, it’s usually the result of him either being hungry or wanting to play. But don’t worry, there are several things you can do to adjust your kitten’s sleeping schedule so that it lines up with yours.

Comfort

The first thing you can do is to make sure that he has a comfy place to sleep. This may sound obvious, but just providing a bed for a kitten often isn’t enough if your kitten doesn’t feel safe. Find a quiet location to put your kitten’s bed, either in your room or another room, where he feels safe and protected. Once your kitten is in his safe place at night and sleeping, don’t disturb him.

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Play

Once your kitten is old enough to play, play with him more periodically throughout the day. Just don’t play with him too much at once because this could tire him out too early. It’s okay for him to nap during the day, but you don’t want him to nap for too long because he may not be tired when it is your bedtime. Instead, wait until right before bedtime to do the most extensive playing. That way, he’ll be tired and more likely to sleep all night.

Feeding

Feeding your kitten right before bedtime can also prevent him from waking up in the middle of the night due to being hungry. If he has a full belly, he’s more likely to sleep for longer. You can also leave a little bit of food near his bed at night. That way he can easily access it if he does wake up hungry.

Attention

Finally, don’t give your kitten attention unless you feel like something is really wrong. If he just wants to play or be petted, just ignore him. He will keep doing it if he knows that he can get you to pay attention to him that way.

Even if you do all of these things, it can still take a while for your kitten to adjust to a new sleeping schedule. Stick with a routine and don’t give up on it. As your kitten grows and learns new things, he will eventually adjust.

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Should You Wake a Sleeping Kitten?

If your kitten is very young, less than 8 weeks old, it’s not a good idea to wake him from a nap. He needs all of the rest he can get to help his body recover as well as grow and develop properly. It can be tempting to want to wake him up and play with him but letting him get the right amount of sleep is the best thing for his health and development.

Once your kitten is a bit older and you’re trying to train him to sleep through the night, it’s okay for you to wake him occasionally throughout the day. However, you shouldn’t wake him every time you see him sleeping. Remember that even adult cats still need around 16 hours of sleep per day. You don’t want to affect his sleep schedule too much by waking him up too often.

Related Read: How Old Are Kittens When They Open Their Eyes?

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Final Thoughts

Kittens need to sleep up to 90% of the day, especially when they are younger and their bodies are trying to grow and develop. As your kitten gets older, he will start to sleep less. However, due to natural instincts, sleeping still makes up the majority of a cat’s day. Unless you notice any sudden changes in your cat’s sleeping habits, don’t worry too much about the amount of time he sleeps.


Featured Image Credit: beton studio, Shutterstock

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