Do Baby Kittens Sleep a Lot?

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Baby kittens mostly sleep and eat.
Baby kittens mostly sleep and eat. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Baby kittens love to sleep -- in fact, the younger they are, the more shuteye they need. It takes about eight weeks for a kitten to transition into her adult routine, and until that point, the sleep he needs depends mostly on how often he eats. Don't expect to see much of your kitten right after he's born, because he'll spend most of his time getting his beauty rest.

Sleepy Newborns

Kittens are born blind, so they get a lot of shuteye -- literally. A newborn kitten needs plenty of sleep as he transitions into life in the real world, so give the mother and her litter space. Until he's at least a week old, your kitten will sleep more than 21 hours a day, and he'll spend the rest of the time feeding. Every two or three hours he'll wake up from his sleep, feed and then fall back into a slumber.

Cuddling for Warmth

Baby kittens don't just sleep a lot -- they sleep as a family, and because they have to. Until they're 8 to 10 weeks old, kittens need a cozy, warm environment, so they tend to sleep in close proximity to one another. Cuddling with each other and their mother helps kittens stay as warm as they need to. Give the litter blankets and an enclosed space where they can stay warm -- according to the Napa Humane Society, kittens under 1 week of age should have a nesting area between 85 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Frequent Feeding

Despite the amount of sleep they get, baby kittens still work up an appetite. Their tiny bodies need plenty of nutrition before they're strong enough to be independent, so until they're about 2 weeks old, they typically only wake up to eat. Because their bodies have such tiny stomachs, though, they can't eat much at once, and have to space out their meals throughout the day. By the time they're 2 to 3 weeks old, they still eat as often as six times a day.

Transitioning to Adulthood

Once they pass the 3-week mark, kittens spend less time sleeping and more time socializing. By this point, their eyes are open and they're strong enough to stand, so in addition to sleeping and eating, they play and explore. This is a relatively gradual transition, though, and your kittens will continually sleep less and less until they plateau around week eight. At this point, they settle into an adult routine of about 15 hours of sleep per day.

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