First-time kitten owners are likely to be an anxious a lot, mostly if you haven’t grown up around cats. While keeping a newborn alive seems to be the immediate task, understanding your kitten will lighten the burden. One of the top questions new ‘parents’ ask is how much do kittens sleep. The short answer is a lot. For the long response as to why they sleep so much, read on.
It’s In The Genes
Quite literally, your kitten can’t help it but sleep. This is a result of evolution, nutrition, and physiology. Domesticated cats have a much easier time than their wild cousins. They no longer have to spend time hunting, chasing after and killing prey which means using up and burning a lot of energy.
Their ancestors also slept during the day and hunted at night. Sleeping during the day kept young ones undetected by predators, given that most of them hunt at night. Nowadays, sleeping is a way of conserving energy between meals and playtime.
Cats can sleep for more than 15 hours but they spread it throughout the day. You should therefore not be overly concerned when your kitten sleeps what feels like most of the day. They won’t always be in a deep sleep; sometimes they are just dozing. These nap sessions are usually 15 to 30 minutes long. You’ll notice that unusually loud noises, petting or other things will have them open their eyes for a few seconds before drifting back to dreamland. For about 5 minutes of this time, they’ll be in a deep sleep.
After these periods of dozing, the cats are usually ready to jump and get back to their regular activities. They don’t appear groggy; on the contrary, you’d not believe that the same feline was asleep a few minutes prior. That could be where the name ‘catnap’ came from in the English dictionary.
Every cat has its sleeping pattern, and it is your job to observe and note them. This way, when it changes, you’re able to pick up on it and take the necessary steps to find out what the problem might be (if any). Kittens do however sleep more than the average adult cat. If you have a newborn, you might wonder how much do kittens sleep because they snooze almost the entire day and night. It could be as much as 20 hours. That should however not be a cause for concern- it’s quite reasonable. They only wake up to feed or nurse for a short period and go back to sleep. Even at six months, they’ll probably sleep at the very least four hours less.
The reason for this almost 24-hour sleep is that it is during this time that growth hormones are released. In essence, the rest helps them grow. It is at this time that the body develops the central nervous system and the brain. The bones and muscles get strengthened during this time as well. Sleep is also essential to the strengthening of the immune system. Not enough rest could potentially lead to infection. If you notice that your kitten is irritable, it could be because they aren’t getting enough shut-eye. If you have young children, try and sensitize them. They might be eager to play with their feline buddy and not understand that they are hindering its development.
Do not, however, be concerned when they fall asleep in the strangest of places. Kittens seem to be particularly fond of snuggling on people’s chests almost immediately after you pick them up. You should be concerned though if you have a hard time waking up your kitten to feed or when you’re moving them from one place to another. Just to be sure that nothing is amiss, take them to the vet if that is the case.
As your kitten gets older, it’ll snooze more than it sleeps. That way, it rests but is still aware of what’s happening around them. You’ll notice that their ears will move towards a particular sound or twitch. You may also note that their eyes aren’t entirely closed. They don’t have to be in the sleeping position to doze off as well. Your cat is completely normal when it catches a snooze when it’s sitting upright.
When it comes to deep sleep, cats dream just like humans do. That’s about a quarter of the time. As your kitten transitions into an adult and later a senior, it will spend more time in deep sleep. One can tell a cat that’s in a deep sleep by their eyes being tightly closed and their body curled up. Their furry tail or a paw will be over their face and eyes. In this state, just like humans, the body regenerates itself; a critical aspect of your cat’s health.
How do you tell if a cat is dreaming? When it’s in its deep sleep position, it will sometimes twitch its whiskers or paw. Short-nosed breeds are more likely to snore than other cats. If you cat snores, it could be that there’s obstruction in the airway. It won’t be loud, but you’ll most certainly notice it. It will happen when they’re completely relaxed.
Change In Sleep Patterns
As mentioned before, if you notice a shift in how and when your kitten sleeps, it is likely to be a symptom of an underlying problem. A change that you should look out for is if your cat is getting more or less shuteye than usual. A cat will sleep more if it’s in pain or ill, while wakefulness could point to problems like hyperthyroidism. A cat that’s low in energy even after sleeping may indicate that it’s anemic. You can tell this by looking at you little kitten’s gum. Should you find that they are pale, rush them to the vet immediately.
Armed with the information in this article, you can be rest assure that 16-20 hour snoozes and naps are normal for a kitten. As the kitten grows, it is also likely to adopt to your sleeping patterns, relaxing more at night and remaining active for most of the day. If you ever wondered how much do kittens sleep, then this article answered that for you.