If you’ve become a first-time fur baby parent, congratulations! You’re about to learn what special creatures’ cats are and how much love they have to share. You’re also going to discover your kitten likes to sleep. A lot! So much so, you’re going to wonder if there’s something wrong with your new cat and whether your kitten is sleeping so much and not eating or playing.
Why is my kitten sleeping so much and not eating or playing? Kittens sleep a lot, and it is normal behavior for them to sleep between 18 to 20 hours a day. Some kittens will also start sleeping more much more at certain points in their development and growth, so most of the time, sleeping too much isn’t an issue.
Kittens grow up so fast while developing both mentally and physically. They need to sleep a lot to cope with this development as well as build a strong body and healthy immune system.
It’s normal for your kitten to sleep more than you expected. Human babies like to sleep a lot so why shouldn’t our fur babies be the same? But what is a normal amount of sleeping and what is not so normal?
Okay, now that you’re hopefully a bit more relaxed you can read on and find out more about kittens sleeping so much and not eating.
I’m going to take you through the stages of a growing kitten's sleeping patterns and how to make sure your kitten is getting enough sleep. I’m also going to talk about what to look out for if your kitten is sleeping too much and when you need to get worried.
Why is my kitten sleeping so much and not eating or playing?
Kittens will often sleep much more and not eat or play as they enter a new stage in their development. You can see those stages a little lower down the page… but age has a factor in how much they will sleep, and whether it’s a lot compared to usual.
What are normal sleeping hours for my kitten?
Your kitten is going to be sleeping so much in the early weeks of life, between 18 to 20 hours a day. That includes both daytime and nighttime (in case you were wondering!). In between sleeping, your kitten will wake up for spurts of activity.
If it’s nighttime, he or she may want to go outside for a pee in the middle of the night.
Why newborn kittens sleep so much
If your kitten is a newborn and under four weeks old, then you can expect him to sleep up to 22 hours a day. It’s perfectly normal. All a newborn kitty has to worry about is nuzzling for his next feed. They may even do this while half dozing if mum is close by.
If you’re nursing a kitten at this age because his mother is not able to then expect lots of sleepless nights. Even if your newborn is sleeping most of the time, he still needs to be fed. You can expect to be bottle feeding a newborn kitty every two hours.
The older he gets, the more hours he can go without feeding.
Having your newborn kittens sleep for the first night in your home is really important. He needs to get all the sleep he can get in his first two weeks. Once he’s more active, from three to four weeks, his sleeping patterns will change.
Why kittens from one to three months sleep so much
From four weeks to about three months old, your kitten will be extremely active. He’ll be walking, will have started meowing, running and playing from seven to eight weeks old. But he still needs plenty of sleep to help him as he grows.
You can expect your kitten up to 3 months old to be sleeping up to 20 hours during this stage of his life.
Why kittens from three months to a year-old sleep so much
From three months old, you can expect your kitten to need less sleep. They should be sleeping about 15 hours a day up to one years old – so it’s still normal for them to sleep a lot.
Your kitten is still growing until they’re about 12 months old. Of course, this does depend on the cat breed as well.
Your cat's sleeping pattern may also change slightly whenever he has a growth spurt. Then you can expect them to sleep a bit more to compensate for all the energy used up during this period.
Why kittens of one year old and older cats sleep so much
Once your cat is out of kitten stage, you’ll notice they’ll be sleeping on average between 12 to 14 hours a day. But, if you have a large breed cat, expect them to still get in up to 18 hours a day of sleep.
If your cat is a hard-working cat such as on the farm, herding cattle or sheep, or doing his bit for law enforcement then he’s going to get less sleep in during the day.
The following factors then determine just how much sleeping your fur baby does every day:
- Cat breed: Working breeds are more active so they get to sleep less.
- Size of cat: Larger cats tend to sleep more than smaller cats.
- Daily activity: If your cat is left at home alone all day, he’s going to sleep more.
- Diet and overall wellbeing: Both of these can impact the amount of time your cat sleeps in a day.
Once your cat reaches seven years old, they start sleeping more hours a day. For the larger breed cats such as the Maine Coon or Siberian, you can expect them to sleep up to 18 hours a day.
Smaller breed cats are only considered “old” or “senior” when they reach 10 years old. They’ll also start napping anything between 16 and 18 hours a day.
How to make sure your kitten gets enough sleep during the day
Your kitten needs to get enough sleep to grow into a healthy cat. Sleep allows his central nervous system to develop properly as well as his muscles, brain and immune system. Kittens zap a lot of energy while awake and this needs to be replenished often.
Fortunately, most times, your kitten will fall asleep when his internal clock tells him to. However, if you notice your kitten is over excited, then you may need to help him to take regular naps. You can do this by:
- Leaving him to sleep when he is sleeping! This means teaching any children in the home to not disturb the kitten while he’s napping.
- Not encouraging your kitten to fall asleep on your lap: If your kitten will only go to sleep when you lap is available, you’ll have a problem on hand. Make sure your kitten has a place to go to when he needs to nap such as a cat bed or crate.
- Having a schedule: Make sure your kitten knows he can go to sleep after a mealtime or play time. Your kitten needs to sleep after being active so schedule the day to include active time, mealtimes and nap times.
Your kitten will sleep anything between 30 minutes and 2 hours in one stretch. Remember to factor this in when scheduling his day. Always encourage him to take his naps before he gets overstimulated. This means cutting down on the fun time no matter how much you or your kitten are enjoying it!
How to encourage your kitten to sleep at night
Your kitten will sleep up to eight hours during the night. He’s likely to wake you up once during the night to have a bathroom break. This is normal. To make sure he’s getting his proper quota of nighttime sleeping, you want to do the following:
- Create a regular bedtime routine.
- Make sure he’s burnt up all his energy by playing an activity with him before bedtime.
- Give him his own sleeping space such as a crate or cat bed (if he’s not sleeping with you in your bed).
- A soft toy or blanket will help your kitten feel secure during the night.
Your kitten needs to learn to sleep through the night, so you also get your beauty sleep and he gets what he needs for healthy development.
How do I know if my kitten is sleeping too much?
Now that you know it’s normal for your kitten to be sleeping anything between 18 to 20 hours, you can worry when they go beyond that time. Or, if they’re lethargic and listless on waking between naps.
Besides the fact that they may be ill, your kitten may not be getting an adequate diet or they’re not drinking enough water. It’s always a good idea to take your kitten to the vet for a check up if you think they’re sleeping more than normal.
Kitten sleep, a lot. In fact, cats sleep a lot.
Even as I write this, my 4-year-old British Shorthair is asleep in my office. She has been snoozing for 4 hours today– it might seem like too much, but it really isn’t!