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How Much Do Kittens Sleep? (Short Answer: LOADS!)

Posted in: Cat Care - Last Updated: November 2, 2022 - Author: Nicole McCray
Posted in Cat Care 
Last Updated: October 24, 2022  
Author:  Nicole McCray

When you get your furry bundle of joy, you’ll be curious to learn how to take better care of your baby feline friend.

You’ll notice that your kitten tends to sleep a lot and for first-time cat owners this may be alarming.

how much do kittens sleep

Your first thoughts may be that something is wrong with your new pet kitten. However, there’s no cause for alarm if they have a large amount of sleep regularly. 

They are growing and developing whilst they snooze.

Kittens sleep a lot, they are not super alert and that is normal for them especially when they are well-fed and comfortable in their own space and surroundings.

The first few weeks help you lay a great foundation for your kitten’s growth which is why it’s important to ensure that you understand its specific needs.

A lot of factors contribute to how much sleep your kitten needs.

You can optimize your kitten's sleep experience by learning more about sleep arrangements and tailoring a schedule to ensure it gets quality sleep.

In this article, we’ll answer all your questions regarding your kitten’s sleep to ensure you prepare adequately.

How Long Do Kittens Sleep?

An adult cat will sleep between 12 - 18 hours daily with some newborn kittens going past 18 hours. These long periods of sleep are completely normal for kittens.

As they mature, you’ll find that most cats will sleep for even longer periods.

However, the sleep cycle of kittens is different from humans. 

They do not sleep for 18 hours straight as we would. Instead, they sleep for an average of 50 to 113 minutes in each sleep cycle.

So, if your biggest concern was how much cat sleep is normal, you have a good average to work with. 

You can rest easy knowing that your fur friend is perfectly healthy even though they sleep for most of the day. 

A research article on the polycyclic sleep-wake cycle in cats revealed that it is a definable rhythm. 

This means that you can determine how changes in sleep and wake times affect the sleep-wake cycle. 

You can study the amount of time your kitten is awake and how much time they sleep in each cycle and take note of any changes. 

This is especially a good idea if you want to optimize your cat’s sleep time by setting up a routine for it. 

how to get kittens to sleep at night

Why do Kittens Sleep so Much?

We all know the incredible benefits of sleep in humans. It helps our bodies to recharge, fight infection, helps boost our immune system, assist the central nervous system, and improves our memory function. 

Researchers suggest that these benefits are transferrable to cats as well. 

Sleep plays a big role in the health, well-being, and development of kittens. Studies suggest that REM sleep helps your kitten’s body to recharge and also helps conserve energy. 

REM sleep on the other hand has been linked with emotional regulation and other recovery processes.

So, allowing your cat to sleep for as long as they need is essential. 

When you find your cat sleeping, let them continue uninterrupted to avoid disrupting their sleep-wake cycle.

If you have concerns about how long your cat is sleeping, consult your vet for a check-up.

Should Your Kitten Sleep Through the Night?

When you get your kitten, you’ll notice they have bizarre sleeping habits and random sleeping arrangements. They will wake up during the night and might start playing and running around. 

Don’t be alarmed since it is quite common for a lot of kittens since they are most active in the dusk and dawn hours.

In addition, as mentioned earlier, cats don’t seep as humans do. 

They’ll not go for long hours sleeping. Instead, they’ll sleep and wake up several times the night and during the day.

So, expect some disruptions during the night especially when your kitten is playing.

The change in your kitten’s environment also plays a role in them not sleeping through the night. Your kitten will need to get comfortable with its new home and start adjusting to the new routine.

Remember that kittens do not run on human hours which means what you expect may not be what you get. 

You may expect your kitten to sleep when you go to sleep but find that it is more playful and not willing to sleep.

So, keep in mind that for the most part, your kitten's sleep habits will be on s different schedule from yours. 

It will most likely wake up a few times in the night and that is absolutely normal so don’t worry.

how much sleep do kittens need

Should You Let Your Kitten Sleep in Your Bed?

Snuggles with your cat are such a great way to bond and provide a comfortable environment. This is why most people allow their cats to sleep with them in bed and it’s not a bad idea.

However, when dealing with a kitten, it is best to have a cozy cat bed where they can sleep and a nearby scratching post to exercise on.

Doing this helps train your kitten that it has its own cat bed where it should be sleeping when it needs to.

In addition, it helps avoid accidents during the night. Kittens are quite small and you can turn during the night and accidentally sleep on your fur baby. 

Such an occurrence could lead to injuries and worse suffocation. 

So, while you would love to snuggle in bed with your kitten, give it time to grow a bit then you can introduce it to sleeping in your bed. 

However, keep in mind that once your cat starts sleeping in your bed it will be hard to train it otherwise.

If you plan to let it sleep in bed with you in the long term then you have nothing to worry about. 

But, if you plan to stop allowing it to your bed avoid fostering the habit of your cat sleeping in your bed.

How to Get Your Kitten to Sleep Through The Night?

If you notice that your kitten’s sleep-wake cycle has changed and they are not sleeping enough, it is important to talk to your vet. 

You’ll often notice less sleep if your cat has a cough, is in pain, or is suffering from a more serious condition like heart disease.

Your vet will help diagnose the problem and ensure that your kitten gets the necessary treatment. 

However, if there’s nothing wrong with your kitten, then you can try to help it get more sleep.

Here are some steps you can take to encourage your kitten to sleep more. 

Create a Comfortable Kitty Environment

Kittens sleep where they feel comfortable and they tend to do that in a lot of places. Taking the time to set up a warm and cozy cat bed that they can sleep in will encourage them to sleep more. 

Including toys or soft blankets with its mother’s scent can help your kitten become more comfortable and willing to sleep. 

So, invest in creating a special place for your kitten to get them to improve their sleep duration and quality.

Tire Your Kitten Out

Establish a playtime routine where you go all out and enjoy playing with your kitten. When your kitten is tired, they’ll be more inclined to sleep more since they are exhausted. 

However, don’t overdo it to avoid causing harm.

Playing with your kitten is also a good way to reduce the periods they wake up during the night to play.

So invest in interactive cat toys

Your kitten will be too tired to wake up till the next morning and they can pick up on their playtime.

Adjust Your Kitten’s Meal Time

Kittens tend to get sleepy after a big meal. 

So, adjusting meal time to later in the night may help them sleep longer and avoid constant waking in the night. 

In addition, sometimes kittens wake up to feed. So, ensuring that their kitten food bowl is full and their bellies are full will certainly them sleep for longer periods.

How Much Do Kittens Sleep? Summary

It is safe to say that kittens sleep for more than half a day and that is totally normal and should not cause any alarm. 

So, when you get a kitten and notice it only plays for a short time and sleeps for long periods, remember it is normal. 

Encourage your kitten’s downtime by avoiding interruptions when they are sleeping, setting up a comfortable cat bed, and playing more with them. 

With these, your kitten will sleep for longer periods and reap the benefits of quality sleep.

If you notice something wrong with your kitten’s sleeping pattern, ensure that you consult with your vet. Don’t assume any changes especially if your cat suddenly starts sleeping less or is having problems sleeping. 

Exercise caution to ensure that your kitten is in good health and that all their needs are being met. 

Again, if you spot any signs of illness such as lethargy, weakness, or appetite pop them to the veterinarian. 

Take your time to create a safe and comfortable environment that encourages playtime by investing in kitty toys and creating a specific sleeping area that meets your kitten's needs.

About the author

Nicole is a die-hard animal lover who has worked in pet care for years. She is a former vet technician, a dog mom to her two rescue pups, and she grew up living and working at her family’s pet boarding facility. She loves using her writing talents to share the insight she’s learned throughout her career in the hopes that her knowledge can help other pet parents out there!