Newborn kittens may sleep as many as 22 hours a day—only slightly reducing their time spent snoozing to 16-20 hours daily once they’re six months old. But as new kitten owners, we spend so much time worrying about the feeding, playtime, and litter box that we forget another very essential thing: Where our kitties lay their heads down to catch some Zs. So where should your kitten sleep at night?
Your kitten should sleep in a warm, soft, and quiet place at night. This could mean a cozy cat bed with high sides, a laundry basket with some of your favorite worn shirts, or a fluffy blanket she can curl up in. Your kitten can sleep with you at night, but don’t expect her to share the bed well.
Does your new kitten need a special bed, blanket, cove, or basket when it’s time to sleep at night? Or is it okay for your kitten to cuddle up alongside you in your bed as you rest? To learn about where your kitten should sleep at night, read on!
What Makes the “Perfect” Sleep Location For Kittens
Regardless of the specific sleeping arrangements you set-up for your new kitten, there are a few things you need to know about your kitty’s “perfect” sleep haven.
For the first 6-8 weeks of her life, your kitten had relied on her mother for just about everything—food, warmth, bathroom needs, and security. Your kitty affectionately snuggled up with her mom and her littermates to keep warm on cool nights, sometimes even taking shelter in a laundry basket or box to stay safe from “potential predators.” These close quarters helped your kitten to feel warm, comfortable, and protected.
Your kitten didn’t develop the ability to keep herself warm (also called “thermoregulation“) until she was about four weeks old and only recently left her mother’s care. With that in mind, your kitten is still newly independent and undoubtedly longing for the comfort her mom provided her!
Therefore, your kitten’s sleeping arrangements need to be warm, cozy, and safe.
Should I Sleep With My Kitten?
You don’t have to let your kitten sleep in your bed with you (though 50% of cat owners reportedly let Fluffy share the bed), but it can be an option if you have a larger-sized bed! On top of of the peaceful sounds of your kitten’s purrs and the sweet sight of her with eyes shut, the other benefits of these nightly cuddle sessions include:
- Lower stress and anxiety (for both of you!)
- A stronger bond (kittens feel vulnerable while sleeping, making this a sign of trust)
- A sense of security and safety (just like mom provided)
- Warmth (whether she’s snuggled between your legs or on your chest)
While both you and your kitten may wake up feeling refreshed after sleeping together, there’s a stronger chance that you’ll find each other’s sleeping habits to be bothersome.
Your kitten is nocturnal—meaning she might feel the urge to get up and dart around mid-cuddle—and she may take up more room on the bed than you previously anticipated. On the other hand, your constant rolling around to get comfortable during the night could easily awaken your kitten during light sleep stages, making 20 hours of sleep a true feat.
If you allow this behavior now, don’t expect an easy rule change sometime down the line. The territorial instinct of cats will leave your kitten wondering why you’re keeping her from sleeping in her bed if you decide to evict your sleeping buddy.
The Best Places For Your Kitten to Sleep at Night
Your bed may not be the best place to allow your kitten to sleep at night, but there are dozens of ways to give your kitten a cozy, warm, and safe location to rest her head. So where should your kitten be sleeping at night? Let’s discuss!
A Heated Blanket/Bed
Your kitten wants nothing more than to feel warm and cozy, which explains why your kitty likes to stretch out in direct sunlight. If you tend to keep your thermostat low, your kitten may appreciate a heated blanket or bed to lounge on at night.
A Cat Bed With High Sides
There are countless cat beds on the market, and your kitten is sure to love at least one of them! Try to get your cat a bed that’s cushiony, round (so she can curl up snugly), and with higher sides (for a sense of safety and protection).
A Box, Laundry Basket, or Wicker Basket
Some kittens prioritize safety and protection while napping at night, making a box or a basket an incredible sleeping arrangement for your kitty. Choose a basket or box that’s easy for your kitten to jump into and is lined with blankets or worn shirts—your scent will comfort kitty at night.
A High Cat Tree (Tower)
Cats love being up high for a few reasons: Privacy, having a clear scope of their environment, and even to claim dominance within the household. A cat tree (or tower) next to an uncovered window is the perfect spot for a restless kitten to catch some light sleep at night. Your kitten can “keep watch” for raccoons or opossums scurrying in the backyard without waking you up.
Making the Perfect Sleeping Arrangements
Before you invest in a fancy kitten bed to give your feline a place to sleep, you want to make sure that you’re preparing the perfect sleeping arrangements all-around. With that in mind, here are a few tips to make your kittens first few nights stress-free for both of you:
Give Her Access to Other Things
A comfortable bed is important for a good night’s sleep, but your nocturnal kitten probably won’t snooze for eight straight hours like you. Make sure she has access to a litter box, food bowl, water bowl, toys, and a scratching post in case she has other urges during the night.
Put Her Bed In Your Bedroom
You may not want your kitten snuggling up in bed with you, but that doesn’t mean you have to confine her to another room altogether. Putting your kitten’s bedding in the corner of your bedroom could help her to feel more comfortable and less likely to meow at night.
Entice Her To Use Her Bed
Your home is already a brand new environment for your kitty, and she may not know where she’s supposed to sleep just yet. Tuck a warm water bottle into the blanket or lie one of your unwashed shirts in the bottom of the basket. Treats to lure her into the bed can work too!
Give Her More Options
In your mind, you want your kitty to sleep in a comfy circular bed in the living room. But there’s no guarantee your kitten will like the location or the bed itself. Give your kitten some options to see what she likes: Leave out a basket filled with blankets, a cat bed, or even a pile of clothes.
Here’s a video explaining some ways that you can make your kitten’s first few weeks in her new home comfortable and restful!
Bringing a new kitten home is exciting for you, but understandably nerve-wracking to your four-legged friend. It may take your kitten days or even weeks to get on a steady sleeping schedule and to understand where she’s meant to sleep each night!
Try to make your kitten as comfortable as possible and provide her with a bed that makes her feel warm, safe, and comfortable. Allow her to sleep in your bedroom (if possible), encourage her to use her new bed with a worn shirt or a warm water bottle, and let her decide which type of bedding (and location) makes her feel most comfortable.
- ScienceDirect: Development of thermoregulation in the kitten
- Healthline: Should You Let Your Cat Sleep in Bed with You?
- PetPlace: Where Should Your Cat Sleep?
- PetMD: Why Do Cats Like Heights?
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.