Where Should a Kitten Sleep?

Orange kitten sleeping under a blanket

You've found the perfect kitten, you're ready to bring them home, and you're starting to wonder where kittens should sleep for the best rest. When considering where your new furry friend should sleep, consider that for their earliest weeks, they had the benefit of a snuggly momma cat who kept them warm and cozy. Once they’ve left the litter, your kitten will look to you to recreate that coziness and warmth in your home when it’s time to catch some shut-eye.

Where Should a Kitten Sleep on the First Night Home?

The best place for kittens to sleep, especially on their first nights with new owners, is a spot that reminds them of their mothers. Your job as a pet parent is to make your kitten feel at least reasonably as safe and secure as they did with their mom.

Setting Up Your Kitten’s Sleeping Space

The main thing that you need to consider when preparing your kitten’s sleeping space is security. Above all else, your cat should feel like they are completely safe from actual or perceived threats. Your chosen space should be warm and protected from drafts; if possible, it should also be off the floor, since heights make cats feel safer. A cozy spot next to your bed is an ideal place for your kitten to sleep, especially while you’re getting to know each other and they’re learning to trust you and depend on you.

How Long Will My Kitten Sleep Each Day?

New kittens tend to sleep for up to 16 hours a day, so the location in which your kitten lays their head is a huge part of their life. Some pet owners choose to designate a particular corner of the home as a “kitten corner.” This spot is typically quiet, warm, and located as far as possible from busy areas of the home. A kitten corner should include your kitten’s bed, some toys, and a post for your kitten to scratch when they stretch after waking. A scratching post will win you brownie points with your kitten since they’re innately programmed to scratch, scratch, and scratch — and then scratch some more.

How to Choose a Kitten Bed

When selecting a bed for your new kitten, look for a comfortable bed that has high sides. This helps to keep their toys nearby so that they feel more secure. Add a soft blanket to help them feel extra snug. Until your cat becomes more familiar with their surroundings, keep their litter box, food dish and water bowl within easy range for them.

Should Your Kitten Sleep with the Light On?

Your cat’s vision is extraordinarily accurate, even in very low-light conditions. It's likely that your cat can manoeuver around their new world regardless of the lighting conditions, at least over time.

However, since your new kitten is just getting to know their new digs, it helps to leave a night light burning so that it will be easier for them to see things at all hours. That light might also help you avoid stepping on or tripping over any new toys you've just added to your home, especially since your new friend probably likes to bat them around. 

Sharing a Sleeping Space With Your Kitten

There are a few reasons that co-sleeping with a new cat may be a bad idea, at least during kittenhood. First off, your kitten may still be struggling a bit with using a litter box, which can result in unpleasant accidents in your bed. If your kitten is especially young, they may have difficulty manoeuvring out of your bed without getting hurt; their process of figuring things out may even bring on the aforementioned toileting accidents.

On top of all that, your kitten may simply prefer having their very own spot where they can sprawl out and get comfortable unimpeded. Don’t just assume they want to sleep in your bed.

If you decide to allow co-sleeping, give your kitten their own space as a secondary option for when they decide they need to be on their own.

What to Do When Kittens Have Trouble Sleeping

Now that you know where kittens should sleep, what happens if your kitten seems to never get sleepy? Much like people, kittens tend to sleep more readily through the night if they’re tired. Play and exercise can help your kitten get sleepy, as can changing your kitten’s mealtime to later in the day; the digestive process tends to make kittens sleepy. Most shelters also send kittens home with new families with a familiar object, such as a blanket that the cat can rest in, to feel more at home in their new surroundings.

Be Patient

Kittens, and cats in general, each have their own quirks and personalities. Try not to read too much into it if you put a lot of effort into creating a comfortable sleeping space for your kitten only to find that they turn their nose up and refuse to sleep in the spot you’ve designated just for them. They may not take to the spot right off, so just be patient and take cues from them to determine where in their new home they’re most comfortable when they drift off to dreamland.

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