Skip to main content

How much do kittens sleep? What you need to know

Kittens are lively, playful, and full of energy — for about an hour. Then, they sleep, and they can seem to sleep all day long. If you think your kitten is sleeping more than he’s awake, you’d be right — kittens need lots of sleep when they’re quite young. But just how much sleep is enough, and how do you make sure your kitten is getting in enough naps? When you understand how sleep needs change as kittens age, you can keep an eye on your kitten’s sleep habits and even create an environment that helps him catch some z’s when needed so he’s well-rested and ready to play again.

Young orange kitten sleeping on a floor
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How much do kittens sleep?

An all-day snooze is quite common for kittens, but the amount of sleep that your kitten needs varies. When kittens are newborns, they sleep for about 22 hours per day. They need that extra sleep to support their growing bodies.

As your kitten ages, his sleep needs will decrease, but kittens still tend to sleep a lot. Kittens who are about 6 months old will still sleep most of the time, averaging about 16 to 20 hours of sleep per day.

Sleep is important for all cats, but it’s particularly important that kittens get the sleep they need. Sleep supports multiple essential health functions for kittens. It boosts the immune system’s strength and helps your kitten conserve his energy for those crazy bursts of playfulness that you see.

How to help your kitten get the sleep he needs

When you adopt or buy a kitten, he’ll be in a strange environment and that can be unsettling. Your new kitten might not feel ready to settle in and take a nap, even when he needs it, but there are multiple ways you can help your kitten get enough sleep.

  • Start by providing him with a safe place to snooze. A cat bed or even a cardboard box lined with a soft blanket is ideal. Many kittens enjoy beds with edges that they can snuggle against since it can create a sense of security. Make sure that the bed’s edges are low enough so that your kitten can easily get in and out, and put the bed in a warm, quiet spot.
  • Keeping your kitten’s essentials nearby can help him feel safe in his new space. Position his litter box close by and keep some toys and food and water dishes near his bed. Kittens tend to play, eat, and then quickly settle in for a nap, so a conveniently located bed will encourage your kitten to doze.
  • When your kitten does sleep, make sure that your family — kids and other pets, too — leaves him alone. Teach your kids that your kitten is off-limits while he’s asleep, and consider installing a pet gate or other barrier to keep other pets away from the kitten during nap time.
Young black kitten sleeping in a basket
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to help your kitten sleep through the night

While your kitten might sleep for hours during the day, it’s also possible that he’ll wake up at night. You’ll need to help him get on your family’s sleep schedule, teaching him that nights are for sleeping, too.

To get your kitten to sleep through the night, try to keep him entertained and awake during the day a bit more. Make play sessions longer during the day, and give your kitten one long play session right before it’s time for bed at night. That playtime can help tire him out, encouraging him to sleep longer. You might also try feeding your kitten his last meal a little bit later since he’ll be inclined to sleep as he digests it.

Kittens need lots of sleep, and their sleep schedules can vary for a while. As your kitten ages, it will be easier and easier to get him on track with the whole family’s nighttime schedule. Establishing a routine can encourage him to go to sleep at night, and it also helps him get the sleep he needs to support his growth and his health. If you have questions about how much your kitten is sleeping — particularly if his sleep habits suddenly change, or he’s suddenly sleeping all the time — then talk to your vet. Lethargy can be a sign of health issues in kittens, and it’s important to get your kitten seen by your vet right away, just in case there’s something wrong.

Editors' Recommendations

Paige Cerulli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Paige's work has appeared in American Veterinarian, Business Insider, Healthline, and more. When she's not writing, Paige…
When do kittens open their eyes? This is what happens if they do it too early
Find out all you should know about kittens opening their eyes
Two people holding a tiny gray and white kitten whose eyes haven't opened yet

Is there anything more adorable than a kitten whose eyes haven't opened yet? That's debatable. Although scientists have found that puppies are marginally cuter than kittens, cat people strongly disagree. Whether you're a dog person or a lifelong cat aficionado, there's something about tiny kittens that tugs at the heartstrings.

Have you ever wondered, "When do kittens open their eyes? What happens if they open their eyes too early?" You're not alone. We're here with the scoop on what veterinarians have to say about when kittens first look at the world, why you should never force a kitten to open their eyes too early, and what happens if your newborn kitten's eyes open ahead of schedule.

Read more
Do you have a loaf cat? Why cats curl up into adorable little buns
The different kinds of cat loafing and what they mean
A black cat loafs on a blue blanket

Just when you think your cat can't get any cuter, you find them sitting in an adorable position that you've never seen before. Whether it's a fluffy Maine Coon mix curled up into a ball of fur or a domestic shorthair sitting on the couch the same way their owner sits, there's no shortage of ways a feline's posture can be a reflection of their personality. But have you ever seen a loaf cat?

The term "loafing" is a slang term that recently originated on the internet to describe a particular way a cat sits, and let's just say -- it's adorable! As widely appreciated as loafing is, few cat owners know what's behind the unique posture. So, let's get into it!

Read more
What you need to know about your cat’s swollen lip – what causes it and how to help it heal
These are the most likely causes and best treatment options for your cat's swollen lip
Woman petting cat

Your sweet furry friend is a wealth of enjoyment and entertainment — from funny sleeping positions to those precious purrs. Cat behavior can be somewhat of a mystery for even the most dedicated kitty lovers, though, and those feline feelings can lead to physical manifestations that puzzle us.

If you've ever looked at your cat and noticed a swelling on the upper or lower lip, here's what you need to know: This common occurrence isn't something to worry about, but it isn't something to ignore, either. While your vet checks your cat's health, you can read up on this confusing condition. Here's what causes a cat's swollen lip.

Read more