Kittens may sleep a lot during the day, but they have a habit of suddenly coming to life when it gets dark. Felines are nocturnal animals that can unwittingly disturb your sleep and, as you know, this leaves you feeling exhausted the next day. So, coming up with techniques to promote sleep in kittens can make a world of difference for everyone in your household.
Before introducing a new sleep schedule, you should get your kitten a full health check-up from a vet if they are crying and meowing in the night. Discomfort may be the reason why your kitten keeps waking you up. If they are healthy, it will just take patience and understanding while for your kitten makes the necessary adjustments.
How to Get Your Cat to Sleep at Night
The best way to get your kitten to sleep at night is to develop a structured routine. Because cats are creatures of habit, your kitten will eventually learn the routine, and it will become commonplace.
Although it may take time to accomplish, establishing a nightly (and daily) practice is the key. The goal is to have your kitten wanting to sleep through the night due to fatigue.
1) Night Meal
How do you get a kitten to sleep at night? Feed it a large meal just before you go to bed. It works!
Rather than feeding your cat a large meal in the morning, consider changing the routine to an evening meal. Cats, like many people, love a good nap after dinner. Giving your kitten a substantial main course meal at night will naturally prepare them for sleep.
- Avoid snacks and treats during a nighttime meal. Ideally, the night meal should be your cat’s most substantial meal of the day. Not only will this meal promote a sound night’s sleep, but it will also reduce your cat’s desire to roam the house a few hours later looking or food.
2) Evening Play Session
If you can wear your kitten out before bedtime, they are more likely to sleep.
Dedicate time to play with your kitten for 60-90 minutes before bed. This allows your cat time to relax, get comfortable, and then fall asleep.
Here are some simple solutions:
- Do you work long hours? Provide your cat with a toy it can play with on its own. Any form of prolonged stimulation can be enough to keep your kitten sound asleep during the night.
- Petting sessions can also be a form of play. If your kitten does not receive stimulation during the day, an evening session can be helpful. Cats are curious creatures, but kittens are even more so. Even something as simple as hand waving can be interesting for cats. Petting your cat in various ways can provide stimulation, as well as comfort, affection, and relaxation.
- Your kitten is experiencing a whole new world. Compared to older cats who are often set in their ways, everything is new and exciting to a kitten. This can play to your advantage as your cat will be less likely to turn their nose up at your games and other forms of play. Just chasing after a piece of string is fun when your cat is less than a year old.
3) Increase Daytime Activity and Stimulation
Expanding your cat’s environment during the daylight hours can lead to sleep at night. What does your cat do during the day? Does it relax? Nap? This is likely the core reason why your kitty has so much energy at night. While you were busy during the day your kitten was taking it easy.
Increasing your cat’s activity level and providing fun activities during the day is vital. It is a bit like a child going to a school: mental stimulation is as crucial as physical activity.
Here are some quick tips…
- Provide your kitten a window perch to observe the outdoors
- Feeding puzzles
- Cat videos
- The sound of the television
While you never want to punish your cat and prevent them from sleeping, stimulation during the day is a form of training. After a week or two of daytime activity, your kitten will develop a healthy pattern that is both good for everyone concerned.
Chewy.com suggests some interactive toys and games that your cat can enjoy during the day. It is about changing your cat’s daily schedule so sleep will be a priority at night rather than mischief.
- Do you have other cats or does your neighbor have a new kitten? Allowing structured and supervised fun time during the day is another form of positive stimulation.
4) Establish a Sleeping Space
Where should kittens sleep at night? What if your cat does not know? It is possible that your kitten is staying up at night because it lacks a designated sleep area that is both comfortable and safe. If your cat roams around your home at night, this could, to some degree, be the reason why.
Creating a sleeping space for your kitten outside your bedroom is crucial. A warm bed with comfortable blankets in a quiet part of the house can do wonders for your cat’s overnight behavior.
Pet your cat until it is relaxed and naturally settles into its new bed. Your kitty will likely get out of the bed within moments on the first several attempts. But, once a routine has been established, everything will change. When the day is over, and you go to bed, your cat will retreat to its comfortable location.
- Using a cage or pen during early life stages is also an option. Complete with food, water, litter box, and comfortable blankets, a cage allows your cat to relax and roam while not feeling trapped. If you are concerned about your kitten becoming destructive during the night, you may wish to establish a safe sleeping area in a sizeable cage.
5) Sleep Machine
Sleeping machines, also known as white noise machines, can help to settle your kitten. Generating a soothing and steady sound of relaxation, options such as rainfall, the chirping of birds, and general sounds of peace and tranquility can send your kitten fast asleep.
Sleep machines are also useful for filtering out other sounds within your home that may keep your cat awake. If you are unsure how to get a kitten to sleep with you and develop the same sleep patterns, the addition of a sleep machine can be beneficial.
6) Close Your Bedroom Door
Once you turn in for the night, it is paramount that your bedroom becomes a cat-free zone. Close your bedroom door and keep it closed. While your cat will likely cry and scratch at the door for the first few nights, this is all part of developing new habits.
As long as your kitten has proper bedding, food, water, and a clean litter box they will make it without you. Avoid breaking and giving in. Allowing your kitten to join you on your bed can be a problem.
Once you allow it a few times, your cat will come to expect it. It is always best to give your kitten tough love. Learning to say no is very important. VetStreet.com provides reasons why you should never allow your kitten to share the bed with you. Forcing your kitten to gain its independence is crucial.
How Much Sleep is Normal for a Kitten?
Younger cats require more sleep than older cats. Most kittens spend 85-90% of their time in dreamland. This accounts for roughly 16-20 hours per day once they reach 6 months to 1 year old.
How long do kittens sleep at night? Not much. True to their nature, cats are creatures of the night. In the wild, cats use the night hours to stalk prey and hide from predators.
Cats learn to stay awake in the darkness as a means of self-protection. This is why, even for kittens, that it can be challenging to get them to sleep through the night.