How to Get Your Kitten to Sleep Through the Night
6 min read
Last Modified 21 December 2022 First Added 18 May 2021
Whether you’re welcoming a new kitten into your home on the first night, or you’re just trying to get your kitten to sleep through the night, it can be nerve-wracking. With a new kitten who is just getting settled in their new home, sleeping at night can prove to be challenging. While your kitten may want to keep you up to play, humans need their sleep – and so do kittens. Luckily, there are plenty of things cat owners can do to teach their little ball of fur to settle in and sleep right through the night.
Not always – it’s common for kittens to wake up throughout the night. While it’s true that kittens love snoozing and they can sleep up to 18-20 hours a day, it doesn’t always happen when humans are asleep. Cats are generally active at dawn and dusk. Add to this the unfamiliar environment a kitten must adjust to in the first few nights and you’re in for a few longer nights than usual.
However, sleep is essential for your kitten’s development which why it’s important to let them have this peaceful time off during kittenhood to make sure they grow up healthy and happy.
You can train or encourage your cat to sleep at night with a few adjustments during the day. The most important part is not to reward night-time behaviour with attention and instead schedule daytime play and feeding with your cat.
A feeding toy with food or treats will give your kitten both mental and physical activity. Buying new toys or rotating your cat’s toys may also help to keep your cat busy during the day.
An exhausted kitten is more likely to sleep through the night. Schedule a play session close to their last nap of the day so they can exhaust all the extra energy before going to bed.
Cats often fall asleep after eating. Changing the amount of food and feeding your cat more often during the day can keep your kitten active while you’re busy. Changing the type of food and moving evening meals to later at night might help your kitten become sleepy before bed. But be mindful of calorie count before introducing an extra or larger meal as you don’t want your kitten being kept awake from eating too much food.
Having something that smells familiar can be a huge step towards getting a kitten to sleep at night. Shelters are often happy to let you have their favourite blanket when you adopt a kitten so they can keep a piece of their old home close as they’re getting adjusted to their new life.
If daytime changes don’t work, shut your bedroom door, and keep your cat out of your room. Set up a cosy sleep area with a litter box as far away from your room as possible. Put a towel at the bottom of the door to stop any door scratching or rattling.
If your cat doesn’t respond to any other adjustments, your vet may prescribe medication or natural sleep remedies like melatonin or valerian. However, your cat can develop a tolerance to sleeping medications and they may not work after a few nights.
A major part of getting a kitten to sleep has to do with how well the sleeping arrangements match their needs. Kittens will look for warmth and cosiness when they want to sleep. This means that the best place for a kitten to sleep is a warm and secure spot, sheltered from draughts. It’s not a bad idea to have the kitten close to you for just the first few nights. Find a cosy place next to your bed and you can even choose a spot up off the floor if possible. Kittens will love the height to help make them feel safer.
The more comfortable your cat’s bed, the more likely they are to sleep through the night. Finding a kitten bed that’s comfy with high sides stimulates a secure environment. If you have your kitten’s ‘baby blanket’, tuck it inside for a familiar scent. Otherwise, adding some soft blankets or cushions will stimulate the warm environment of ‘mum’ for your little feline.
Adding a couple of quiet toys on the off chance your kitten’s sleep schedule includes a midnight play session means they’ll be less likely to wake you up. Next, adding accessories that every cat needs like their litter tray, water, and food bowl not too far away from their bed makes it easier for them to use in the night.
A scratching post nearby will win you extra points with the new feline friend. Your kitten will be able to stretch and scratch to their heart’s content as soon as they’re ready to start the new day.
Cats can see in very low light, so it’s likely that even with the lights off they’ll be able to move around with little effort. However, it can take a bit of time before they get accustomed to their new environment so having a low night light on to make things easier at the beginning is a good idea.
Cats sleep with humans because we’re warm and they love the security and companionship. And even though we love it when our kittens sleep with us, you may want to wait a while before sharing your bed with your kitten. It takes time for kittens to be litter trained so if you want to keep your sheets clean it’s best to invest in a separate kitten bed. Plus, getting your kitten used to sleeping on their own will discourage the temptation to wake you up for a play session.