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Wellness

How Much Sleep Is Normal for Kittens?

When you first bring a new kitten home, you will likely have a slew of questions regarding how to take proper care of them. One of the things that you might be curious about is how much sleep is necessary and normal for a new kitten.

Learning more about the proper sleeping arrangements and schedule for your new addition is an excellent way to ensure that they are getting acclimated to their new life and their own space. 

There is a lot to know regarding how much sleep is normal for kittens to get. Therefore, gaining a robust comprehension of the topic will be helpful when you are navigating the first few weeks with your family’s new addition. 

Continue reading to learn more about when kittens will start to sleep through the night. Also, learn how much sleep is considered normal for young cats and what to do if your kitten is not sleeping enough. Lastly, find out if kittens should be permitted to sleep in bed with their owners and when to call a vet regarding sleep abnormalities

There is a lot to learn about your kitten’s sleep routine. If anything is urgent to either you or the cat, reach out to a veterinarian as soon as possible to get their professional opinion. Also, it’s wise to set a routine as soon as you can. This will help ease the transition into it for your kitten. 

Do kittens sleep through the night?

When it comes to your expectations about your new kitten sleeping through the night, it is best to be realistic. While sometimes kittens do sleep through the night, sometimes they also do not.

It is also common for a young kitten to wake up throughout the night, so do not panic if your kitten appears to be experiencing that. 

Kittens do enjoy sleeping, and they are known for doing a lot of it. In fact, you can expect your kitten to sleep upwards of half the day. However, the reality is that kittens do not always clock in those hours while their human owners are also asleep.

Generally speaking, cats tend to be at their most active during dawn and dusk hours. Your new cat also has to get acclimated to their new environment.

As a result, it’s not uncommon for your kitten to take a few nights to adjust to their new setting. For this reason, you might experience longer nights awake with your new kitten than you are used to.

Sleep is necessary for your kitten’s proper development. For that reason, it is critical that you ensure that your kitten is getting the correct amount. If you are concerned that your young cat has a sleep deficiency, it would be wise to reach out to a trusted veterinarian that could provide you with advice on how to proceed.

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How much sleep is normal for kittens?

Similar to human babies, kittens have a reputation for sleeping a tremendous amount. The amount of sleep that is “normal” for a kitten will depend on how old they are. When kittens are very young, they tend to sleep a bit more than they do when they are a few months older.

It’s common for a kitten to spend somewhere between 16 to 20 hours sleeping. Therefore, if you find your kitten is spending a lot of time snoozing, don’t be alarmed. If you feel it is abnormal or their behavior recently altered, it would be smart to reach out to your vet to get confirmation everything is okay. This will help provide you with peace of mind. 

From newborn to two weeks old, your kitten will sleep approximately 90% of the time, which is roughly 22 hours. Once they reach three weeks to two months old, your kitten will begin to develop their senses and become more active. As a result, they will sleep less. 

Once your kitten reaches three months and beyond, they will sleep about 18 hours per day. This is comparable to how much an adult cat would. In addition, it is essential that if you see your kitten sleeping, you let them continue to do so uninterruptedly. 

The key takeaway is that you can expect your cat to spend a lot of their time sleeping when they are in their kittenhood. And, if you are ever concerned about the amount that your cat is sleeping, whether you fear it is a surplus or an insufficient amount, it would be wise to get a vet’s opinion. 

What should I do if my kitten isn’t sleeping enough?

In the case that you feel your kitten is not sleeping enough, there are several steps that you can take to help bolster their sleep routine and support a healthier one. The first thing you should do is work with a vet to ensure that there is nothing physically wrong with their health. 

Once you have successfully completed that step, you can embark on the journey of creating a sleep schedule for your new addition, providing them with a place to sleep, tiring them out during the day, feeding them a later meal, and introducing sleep objects. 

Establish a sleeping schedule

While cats sleep a significant amount of hours per day, the unfortunate reality is that they might not always sleep when you want them to. Luckily, there are steps that you can take to alter their sleeping schedule. 

The first thing kitten owners should do is create a sleep schedule for their kitten. Young animals thrive on routine, and curating a sleep schedule will provide your cat with this. Completing the following steps will help you successfully achieve this. In addition, keeping a routine can prove helpful. 

Give them a wonderful place to sleep

You will probably notice that your kitten naps wherever they want to, whenever they want to. If your cat is having difficulty sleeping at night, putting some effort into creating a bed that they’ll want to sink into and sleep could help. 

A cozy, warm cat bed is an excellent idea. There is a range of different cat bed styles on the market, so it might take some experimentation to find one that your cat gravitates towards. A cat bed is worth the investment if it leads your cat to sleep through the night successfully. 

Tire them out during the day

A tired cat is a happy, sleepy cat. If you want your cat to sleep through the night, you can tire them out during the daytime. One of the reasons that your cat might wake up through the night is because they are ready for playtime.

Playing with your kitten is an excellent way to tire them out, which will make them more willing to sleep later on when the rest of your house is sleeping. 

It is important to be sure that you are not overdoing it; if your young kitten appears to be exhausted anytime when you are playing, it is an excellent idea to give them time to relax. However, playtime in moderation can be a successful way to help get your cat on a better sleep schedule. 

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Feed them a later meal

Adjusting your cat’s mealtime can also help your kitty get more sleep. It is possible that a reason your cat is not staying asleep throughout the night is that they are hungry. In addition, feeding your cat at a later time can be helpful because kittens, like a lot of animals, get sleepy after they eat a big meal. 

Introduce sleep objects

Lastly, you can introduce an object that reminds your kitty of their former home. This could be a toy with the scent of their mother cat or a blanket. These can help them provide comfort in case they are having difficulty sleeping because they are taking a while to get acclimated to their new home. 

Should I let my kitten sleep in my bed?

While snuggling with your kitten can be plenty of fun, it is not a wise idea to permit a small kitten to sleep on your bed. Unfortunately, it is possible that you could unintentionally injure your kitten if you allow them to sleep on your bed with you. You could accidentally roll over in the middle of the night and harm them, or even worse.

In addition to this, it will be difficult to get your cat to sleep somewhere that isn’t your bed once you set this precedent by permitting them to do this once. Therefore, if you do not have intentions of letting your cat sleep on your bed in the long term, it’s not the best idea. Cats sleep where they feel safe, so if they choose your bed, it’s a compliment. 

When should I call my vet?

If you have tried all of the above recommendations to get your cat to sleep more and found it unsuccessful, it might be time to get a vet’s professional opinion on how to proceed. In addition, if you find that your cat is sleeping in excess or that their sleeping habits have recently changed dramatically, a call to the vet might prove revealing.

Dr. Sylvaln Hammond, Pawp veterinarian, says a cause for concern could include “signs of illness such as lethargy, weakness, and/or loss of appetite.” In those cases, the owner should then contact their veterinarian.

With young cats, it’s best to err on the side of caution. If something feels abnormal to you regarding your kitten’s sleep schedule, it’s best for the safety of your new pet and your peace of mind to speak to a vet. 

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Pawp can help answer all your questions about your kitten’s sleep schedule

Kittens are sleepy little creatures, so if you find that yours is clocking in a significant amount of time sleeping, it is best not to panic yet. 

Adding a kitten to your life is a wonderful and exciting time. If you are looking for additional assistance during this transition or throughout your cat’s life, look to Pawp for affordable veterinary telehealth options. 

On the contrary, if you find that yours is having difficulty getting the amount of sleep they need for healthy development, there are steps that you can take that will help. 

KITTEN SLEEP SOURCES: 

Resting Areas | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine

Every Cat Needs Some Entertainment |Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Development of sleep state patterns in the kitten | Experimental Neurology  

Sleeping Habits | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine  

Cat Nappers | Tufts - Cummings Veterinary Medicine 

Chemical communication and mother-infant recognition | US National Library of Medicine

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