How to Get a Kitten to Sleep at Night

How to Get a Kitten to Sleep at Night

You have a new kitten in your household – congratulations! Whether this kitten has been adopted from a shelter, given to you by a friend or family member, or is the offspring of one of your cats, your life is about to change! Kittens are energetic, needy infants who can seem really cute when they mew at you throughout the day. At night, however, when you’re trying to sleep, that incessant mewing can become almost intolerable. Here are some ways you can get a kitten to sleep through the night.

How Long Do Kittens Sleep Each Day?

Kittens, like cats, sleep an average of 18 to 20 hours per day. During its first few weeks of life, kittens are still growing and can sleep up to 22 hours per day. If your kitten is sleeping this much during the day, it can seem impossible to get them to sleep at night. It is possible to manage your kitten’s sleep cycle so that at least eight hours of it coincides with yours. Kittens need a routine to encourage them to sleep at night. They will thrive on a schedule. Here are some suggestions:

  • Stick to a schedule, every day, no matter what. This means that you can’t have one schedule Monday through Friday and a separate schedule on weekends, because kittens don’t recognize any differences among the days. Make sure that you feed your kitten at the same time every day, scoop the litter box at the same time every day, and schedule playtime at the same time every day. Oh, and, of course, bedtime should be the same time every day. This way, your kitten will learn what to expect and when to expect it.
  • Play before bedtime. If you tire your kitten out right before bedtime, this can encourage it to sleep through the night. Kittens love vigorous play, and this will usually wear them out enough so that they can sleep at night.
  • Serve your kitten’s dinner close to bedtime. Not right before bedtime, but maybe right before playtime (don’t let your kitten get full then immediately play on a full stomach and get sick). A kitten with a full belly is more likely to sleep through the night.

Where Should My Kitten Sleep?

Your kitten should have its own comfortable place to sleep at night. While it might seem cute to have your kitten sleep with you, it will create a better sleep schedule for your kitten if they have their own sleeping quarters. Buy a comfortable bed with high sides for your kitten, to make them feel secure. If you have a blanket from the shelter or rescue, put that in the bed so that your kitten has a familiar scent. Fuzzier pillows, blankets and cushions are perfect as they will simulate the feeling of Mom being there for them. You can even include a few quiet toys that your kitten can play with by themselves if they wake up during the night.

Your kitten’s bed should be close to its litter box, but not too close – you don’t want the smell keeping them awake at night. Also place a scratching post near the bed so that your kitten can stretch upon awakening. This might keep them from immediately waking you up once they are awake.

Make sure your kitten’s bed is also close to food and water bowls, just in case they get hungry or thirsty during the night.

Some kittens like to have a soft night light near their bed too, to encourage sleep. Owners often play cat-friendly, soft music to encourage their kittens to sleep.

Realize that you might have to keep your kitten’s bed in another room, and close the door to your bedroom, while you are trying to train your cat to sleep through the night. Don’t open it when your kitten meows, no matter how heart-wrenching that meow sounds. You need to train your kitten to learn to sleep, without you, through the night. You might even need to place a towel rolled up at the bottom of your bedroom door so that your kitten doesn’t try to scratch the door open and hurt itself. Stay strong and don’t cave in to the mewing and cuteness when your kitten tries to get you to open that door!



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