Welcoming a new kitten to your family is surely exciting and you cannot get over their cuteness and playfulness. Trying to get your kitten to sleep through the nighttime can be nerve wrecking and difficult especially after a couple of nights of interrupted sleep. So how do you get your little fur ball to sleep through the night?
Cats are mainly nocturnal just like their wild larger cousins. They mimic their behaviors by snoozing during the day and hunting or being more active at night. They typically sleep between 18-20 hours mostly during the day. So with a new kitten, their nocturnal habits, adding to the fact that they are in a new environment they may not be familiar to might make it hard for your kitten to sleep through the night.
Another factor that can affect your kitten’s nighttime habits is boredom. Cats are social animals and need physical interaction to ward off boredom. Usually we leave them home alone to themselves while we go off to work, leaving the cat with nothing much to do but nap all day. When we come back exhausted and ready for bed, their active time is just beginning. Hence constantly interrupting your sleep.
Our feline friends also wake up at night to feed. This goes back to their natural instincts of hunting during the night. While you sleep, they may feel hungry and they will make sure they wake you up to feed them. They will chew on your toes, ears, walk across you or even cry and yowl to get you awake.
Thankfully you can slowly train and encourage your kitten to sleep at night by adjusting some of their activity during the day. Do not reward night time habits with attention, but slowly schedule more activities for your fur baby.
Get your kitten an interactive toy that will occupy them while you are not around. You can get them a food dispensing toy, that will keep them occupied for long and will stimulate their wild instincts of hunting, catching and eating.
Cats will sleep all day if you let them. A few minutes of interactive play with your kitten before bedtime will ensure your feline friend will be exhausted at the end of the day and will be ready to sleep throughout the night. Get your kitten stimulating toys like teaser wands, toys they can fetch or even just a laser pointer. Let them release the extra energy, then sleep throughout the night.
Just like humans, cats will often fall asleep after eating. Changing their eating schedule and feeding them closer to bed time may help your kitten fall asleep and not wake you up during the night crying for food. However one must be mindful of calories and not give their kitten too much food. They may stay awake because of the uncomfortableness brought by over eating.
Cat owners unknowingly reinforce their cat’s night time habits. When your cat interrupts your sleep, do not reward the behavior by feeding them, playing with them or even waking up to chase them out of the room. Your cat learns that their behavior gets you to pay attention to them and they will keep doing it. You must learn to stop rewarding their behavior with your attention.
If your cat keeps interrupting your sleep continuously, you may have to change your bedroom environment. Lock the door and let the kitten sleep in another room. Buy them a bed, get a warm cozy corner near their litter box and make it comfortable for your fur baby to sleep there. You can also put a towel under your door to prevent your kitten scratching for attention.
No matter how annoying their nighttime behavior is, do not punish your cat as they are just following their instincts. This habits are not done to spite you. Continue to train your kitten and slowly, they will sleep throughout the night and both of you will have a rewarding happy relationship.
Cats love to sleep with us because we are warm, they have marked us as their territory, they need to feel secure or need companionship. But before they learn to sleep throughout the night, you too will have restless nights. You are better off getting them a cozy warm nest where they will feel comfortable and fall asleep. Get a bed with high sides which gives the security of a den, get them a furry blanket to simulate “Mom”. You can add some of your fur baby’s quiet toys, which can occupy them if they wake up during the night. Keep training your kitten and in no time they will be sleeping through the night.