If you're lucky enough to have a kitten in your life, you'll likely have noticed how much they sleep. Here is everything you need to know about your new kitty’s sleeping habits.
As soon as a kitten arrives into the world, it alternates between periods of sleeping and feeding. Playtime becomes a more prominent part of their lives once they've found their feet and learnt the art of being nursed (usually a few weeks after birth).
But in the meantime, when it comes to napping, it's important to know how important it is for our growing fur babies. And believe us, you might need a little patience as these naps can sometimes be rather long!
A kitten’s sleep: vital to their development
A newborn kitten will usually sleep for around 20 hours per day. After the kitten has been weaned, he or she will likely sleep a little less, but still for around 16-18 hours per day.
Much like human babies, sleep is essential to a kitten’s development. They need to be left to sleep in peace otherwise they run the risk of developing behavioural issues as they grow up.
Cat naps - a kitten’s favourite!
You may have noticed that your kitten eats, then has a rest to help digestion. This might soon be followed by playtime, followed by yet another little sleep. This cycle of events means they can have several cat naps throughout the day, often lasting an hour or two.
If your kitten feels safe at home, they may tend to sleep for even longer periods. This is when they will experience dreams. You might notice their little paws move about, or they might meow and/or twist and turn.
The most important thing is not to wake him or her at this point. As you can imagine, they won’t be too happy about being woken. Regular interrupted sleep can lead to aggressive behaviour towards you and other animals in the long-term.
A cosy nest to sleep in
Your little kitten needs to be comfortable and warm to get the most out of their sleep. To do this, ensure they have a little bed nest to sleep in. Ideally, position this close to a heat source (but away from the fire), raised off the ground, and sheltered from drafts. Don't fret that you need to buy something expensive - a cardboard box can be the most cost-effective and well received nesting spot for any kitten or cat, coupled with a soft blanket.
If your kitten falls asleep on you, it is usually a great sign of trust. If this happens, and you're not racing out to meet friends or pick up the kids, try not to wake them or make sudden movements as this could mean they become less likely to sleep on you longer-term.
Will my kitten sleep at night?
We all know someone with a cat who recounts stories of being woken at regular intervals throughout the night. They'll either find their cat in their face, clawing their feet, or meowing incessantly. If you treasure your sleep, you may need to instil some early sleeping habits and arrangements. Because the truth is, your kitten will most certainly be active at some point during the night.
To help you both sleep more soundly, you can try playing with him or her before bedtime. You may also like to portion out their daily serving size by giving them a larger meal in the evening that requires longer to digest. Digestion will help to make them sleepy, but be careful not to overfeed them and ensure you follow dietary advice based on your kitten’s age and weight.
Why not read up on how to welcome your new kitten?
Did you know about the importance of sleep for kittens?