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How Many Hours Do Kittens Sleep? Early Habits & Behaviors Explained

Cats love to sleep, and no cat loves sleep more than newborn kittens! New kittens sleep most of the day away, awake only for brief intervals to nurse before going back to sleep. That totals up to an average of roughly 22 hours a day for the youngest kittens, though that dips down as they grow and become more active. In contrast, an adult cat sleeps about 16 hours per day.

Kittens sleep 22 hours or so for their first 2 weeks, and around the third week that starts to change. Not by much, but as their senses develop, a kitten will want to engage with the world more often and even gain the ability to sleep more deeply during their brief “cat naps.”

If you’re as fascinated by cats and their sleep habits as we are, you’re in the right place! We have all the info you might want to know about kittens, sleep, and how to help your kitten get a better night’s rest, so check it out down below!

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Why Do Kittens Need So Much Sleep?

Like baby humans, kittens are new to the world and need sleep to grow. More specifically, they feed during their fleeting awake time and promptly go back to sleep. That’s when their bodies do the magic of converting mother’s milk into muscles, bones, brain tissue, and all the stuff that makes a cat a cat. During this time, a kitten is cozied up to their mother and littermates, which keeps them warm while their body learns how to regulate its temperature.

During their time asleep, their brain is busy not only growing neurons but reinforcing everything they learn during their time awake. They know that their mother takes care of them by feeding and grooming them, which provides the foundation for socialization. They don’t know much during these early days, but the comforting presence of the mother and littermates helps the kitten develop healthy attachments. When it all comes down to it, sleep is vital for both the kitten’s physical and emotional well-being.

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Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Why Isn’t My Kitten Getting Enough Sleep?

Kittens that don’t get enough sleep can suffer a range of negative consequences, from a compromised immune system to excessive weight gain to noticeable anxiety or aggression. There are a lot of different reasons a young kitten isn’t getting enough sleep, so let’s check some off so you can deduce the cause of your kitten’s lack of sleep.

Reasons for Lack of Sleep in Kittens:
  • Boredom: Kittens need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation during their waking hours to ensure they’re tired out enough to sleep well.
  • Anxiety: New kittens are especially prone to anxiety and problems sleeping, but many cats suffer disturbed sleep following drastic life changes as well.
  • Pain or discomfort: Kittens suffering from painful injuries or diseases may be in too much pain to sleep, causing them to not sleep as much or as often.

How to Help Your Kitten Get Enough Sleep

Helping your sleepless kitten sleep better at night is essential for their continuing growth and well-being, plus it helps you sleep more soundly when they’re not climbing on the walls at all hours of the night. To improve your kitten’s sleep habits, try some of our handy kitten sleep tips below.

Tips for Helping Your Kitten Sleep:
  • Ensure your kitten gets ample playtime during their time awake to minimize boredom-related insomnia.
  • Provide your kitty with a warm, safe, comfortable, and private sleeping space to help them sleep more deeply.
  • Avoid feeding your kitten close to bedtime to minimize bowel or urinary-related sleep disturbances.
  • Failing all else, consult a trusted vet to get to the bottom of your kitten’s insomnia and rule out any related health issues.
kittens sleeping
Image Credit: luxstorm, Pixabay

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Kittens are a bundle of furry, cuddly joy, but they sleep more than 90% of the time early on in their lives. They need every wink they can get to continue growing up happy and healthy, which makes sleep an important consideration early and later in life.

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Featured Image Credit: super-mapio, Pixabay