How do I stop my kitten from waking me up in the middle of the night?
Have you recently become the proud owner of a little kitten? Or, are you thinking of giving one a furever home?
Cats make excellent pets, hence why a quarter of adults in the UK own one. They’re independent, affectionate and compared to their barking buddies, far better at fending for themselves.
Raising a kitty
There’s something extremely rewarding about raising a cat from a kitten, knowing you’ve been there for (almost) their entire lives.
Remember that your furry feline friend will need to be protected with quality kitten insurance. You might think they don’t need cover at such a young age, especially if you’re keeping them inside. But in reality, it’s quite the opposite: your kitty will be highly inquisitive while sussing out their new surroundings, and they’re at a risk of having an accident. There’s also a chance that they could pick up bugs, especially if you’ve got other pets coming in and out of the house.
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Getting a good night’s kip
Your kitten will be full of fun and want to play non-stop. Unfortunately for you, that could mean they want to play in the middle of the night!
Some people who have raised a kitten will tell you that the first couple of weeks can almost feel like you’ve brought a new baby home, particularly when it comes to the restless nights. But don’t worry, it gets easier!
How long does a kitten sleep at night?
As Perfect Fit explains, a newborn kitty can sleep for up to 20 hours every day – that’s around 90% of their time! They need this sleep because their bodies are growing really quickly. In fact, a kitten can double in size during the first week of its life.
At eight weeks’ old, kittens sleep for around 18 hours per day, similar to an adult cat. But those hours could be at any time, meaning, they might sleep a lot during the day and then want to play during the night.
Paws writes that kittens and feline adolescents are the worst offenders when it comes to so-called nocturnal activity. Kittens are keen to keep playing whatever time of night it is, and they’re light sleepers, too – even a small twitch of your toe could be enough to wake them up!
Why are kittens so active at night?
Kittens often have lots of energy during the night because cats are crepuscular mammals, which means they tend to be most active at dawn and dusk. Out in the wild, cats will hunt during these times and then spend the main part of the day sleeping.
Luckily for owners, cats are adaptable and kittens can be trained to adjust their sleeping patterns so they’re more in-line with yours. Here are some tips for how you can get your kitty to settle down at night, courtesy of wikiHow:
Allow rest and play during the day
‘A bored kitten during the day is a hyper kitten at night,’ the article points out. Never stop your puss from napping in the day, but make sure they have a lot of things to keep them stimulated when they’re awake. Give them toys, a scratch post and things to climb to help them use up some of that energy!
Plan for evening playtime
Schedule 20 minutes or so each evening – an hour or so before bed – for some playtime with your kitten. Wear them out with a ball or use a toy on a string to mimic play fighting, alternating toys to keep things exciting. The more energy they use up now, the less they’ll have at night when you’re trying to sleep.
Give your kitten supper
In the same way we feel sleepy after a big meal, giving your kitten a good feed just before bedtime can help them to doze off. Make sure it’s packed with plenty of protein and completes their nutrition needs for the day.
A lot of kitten owners find that their cat wakes them up around the same time each morning – usually around 4am. If you get up (or have got up) before to feed them, this won’t help! They’ll associate meowing at 4am with being fed, so no wonder they’ll keep trying each morning. Ignoring the calls for food will help set a better routine and feeding them before bed will help stave off hunger until you’re ready to feed them.
Keep the kitten in a separate room
You may love the idea of night-time cuddles with your kitten, but it’s better to keep them in a separate room overnight until they’ve adjusted to your routine. If they’re still active, you can calm them down with cuddles and calming kitten music (yes, there is such a thing!).
When you go to bed, close your door so they can’t get in, and turn out the lights. It can be tough, but refrain from opening your door if you hear the kitten scratching or meowing – otherwise, you’ll be rewarding their bad behaviour.
You might want to warm up a blanket in the dryer for your kitten just before bed. This can help them to sleep better, as the warmth mimics what they’d get from their mother and siblings.
Ignore your kitten
When you’ve got a cute fluffball begging for attention, ignoring them can be really tough! But if you respond to them pawing at you because they want to play, again, it’ll reinforce bad behaviour and they’ll continue to do it. Ignoring your kitty is the best way to teach them you’re not available 24/7 – as they say, you’ve got to be cruel to be kind!
Know when to see a vet
If you’ve spent weeks training your kitten but they haven’t adjusted to the nightly routine, or they seem to have gone backwards in recent days, they could be trying to tell you something.
Just like humans, cats can suffer from a number of medical issues that can end up disturbing their sleep patterns. For instance, constant meowing may indicate that they’re in pain, while seemingly non-stop active behaviour could suggest your cat is suffering from insomnia. In any case, it’s always worth booking a trip to the vets.
Get covered with Go Get It
Go Get It compares pet insurance, so you don’t have to! Protect your little fluffy bundle of joy with quality cover for a price that won’t break the bank. Get a kitten insurance quote today!
* 10% of customers achieved this price for Accident Only insurance based on www.gogetit.insure between August - October 2018