Do Kittens Sleep Through the Night? - The Idea Trader
Molly Hitchens studied business for years before launching her career as a journalist and analyst specializing in original and innovative business planning. She shares her expertise through her work with The Idea Trader as well as through in-person speaking engagements at universities around the country.
If you’ve ever had a new kitten in the house, then you know very well that kittens have their own schedule.
Every kitten’s daily priorities are to eat, sleep, and play. But your kitten could switch from one to the other at just about any time, and it may not be a time that’s convenient for you.
That’s why it’s important to set some realistic boundaries for your kitten’s behavior and work towards getting your new pet on a schedule similar to yours.
Every Kitten is Different
If you’ve had your kitten for more than a few days, you’ve likely noticed that he or she has their own personality and individualistic quirks.
And while all kittens do have the same basic needs that we mentioned above, some may not need as much time dedicated to play or sleep as others.
So if you haven’t already done so, take another look at how your kitten spends their day. You don’t have to keep an exact log of their activities, but if you pay attention closely, you’ll start to notice certain habits emerging.
Especially when it comes to nighttime, maybe your kitten is a bit more of a night owl, still buzzing with energy long after you’ve settled down to sleep.
Allowing for Adjustment Time
Another factor as to whether your kitten will align with your sleep schedule is just the amount of time the cat has spent in your house.
For example, kittens can be intimidated by a major life change, and moving in with you certainly qualifies as such.
Depending on the cat, such a big change could lead to several weeks of adjustment time, during which the kitten will slowly start to think of your residence as home and not be so wowed by objects around the house or common household noises.
Setting a Schedule
If you’ve given your kitten plenty of time to adjust and they just won’t go to bed on time, then you should probably consider trying to set a schedule for the kitten’s day.
There are many different ways to accomplish this seemingly daunting task. Try several different methods ask see what works best with your cat.
One way to set a cat’s schedule is to push dinnertime closer to bedtime, if possible.
If you’re already feeding your cat twice a day, try adjusting the second feeding time to later and later in the afternoon or evening.
Your cat will adjust to the change fairly quickly if you stick to the habit and don’t give in to premature meal-time meowing.
The big bonus of feeding your cat later in the day is that cats are more likely to nap if they’ve just eaten a big meal.
If all goes as planned, feeding the cat in the evening could lead to a late-evening cat nap, which will hopefully roll right into your normal bedtime.
Another helpful way to get your cat to sleep through the night with you is to tire the cat out with play an hour or so before bedtime.
Set aside about 30-40 minutes each evening, maybe right before you start to get ready for bed yourself.
Spend this time playing with your kitten, as energetically as possible. Try to use cat toys as often as possible, as opposed to letting the kitten play with your hands and feet.
By the end of the play session, your kitty should start to feel tuckered out, and will likely look around for a spot to sleep.
If you’re trying to train your cat to sleep on the bed with you, when you notice your cat starting to get tired, place the cat on the bed or offer a comfy blanket on top of the covers.
After a few repeated instances of this relocation, your cat will start to look forward to settling down on your bed each night.
Change the Environment
Apart from food and play, give your cat other, environmental cues that communicate it’s nighttime now and you’ll soon be going to bed.
Cats pay attention to your habits as much as their own. Follow a similar process each night, for example, turning off some of the lights in the home about an hour before going to sleep.
You can also stop all media to give both you and your kitten some peace and quiet to help calm down before bedtime.
If none of the above suggestions work for your kitten, then you may want to invest in some more immediate solutions for a night owl kitten.
Calming treats can help cats destress with the help of natural supplements and ingredients.
Weighted jackets like the Thundershirt can also be a way to provide your cat with constant comfort, signaling that it’s a time of day for relaxing.
As a last resort, try confining your kitten to their travel carrier or crate. They may keep up their energy for a bit, but will eventually settle down and sleep.
For even more calming tips, check out this article on how to calm down your cat during times of surplus energy and stress.
As with many other problems that tend to come up with puppies and kittens, the problem of a nocturnal pet will likely improve over time.
Just like people, cats and dogs need plenty of time to grow up. They need to observe you and your own habits for a significant amount of time before taking on those habits themselves.
This rings especially true when it comes to cats. Cats are very difficult to train and most cat owners don’t even bother putting in the time.
But you’ll soon see that your cat just wants to be comfortable in your home.
Some adult cats never sleep through the whole night without interruptions for prowling and stretching.
But once your cat has left the kitten growth stage, you probably won’t even notice these midnight sleep breaks, that is, unless your cat decides to jump on your belly at 2 AM.
If you'd like even more tips on how to get your cat to calm down, check out our article.