Kittens have a well-deserved reputation of being curious, fluffy balls of energy, but after bringing home a new cuddly kitty, you may find yourself alarmed to learn how much a kitten actually sleeps. Cats of all ages are known to enjoy catching their ZZZs, but young felines log more catnaps than grown cats, snoozing up to 20 hours a day or more.
Just How Much Sleep?
If you have recently welcomed your home to a new kitten, a good rule of thumb to remember is the younger the kitten, the more sleep they need. A newborn kitten’s daily routine is made up of sleeping 90 percent of the time — that is almost 22 hours of shuteye! As kittens mature beyond the newborn stage, they will sleep less; but even at six months of age they still manage to spend about 16 to 20 hours a day dozing and dreaming away.
Why So Much Sleep?
Though it may not appear so, while your new kitten has peacefully nodded off, his body is hard at work. Development of his brain and central nervous system is dependent upon these frequent catnaps. Time spent snoozing in young kittens tones and strengthens the muscles and bones that give this species its athleticism and grace. Sleep even keeps your kitten’s immune system in tip-top shape. Without enough sleep, your kitten will become irritable and even at risk for infections and illness.
Seemingly continuous sleep in kittens also has evolutionary roots. Your cuddly kitten’s ancestors were predators on the African plains who slept most of the day and hunted for short periods to conserve energy. Your new kitten’s sleep patterns still reflect this. Sleeping much of the day away kept defenseless young wildcats safe in their nest, quiet and undetected by predators.
Problems In Dreamland
While the number of hours kittens sleep may seem excessive to new kitten owners, oversleeping in kittens is usually not cause to worry. If you notice your sleepy kitten seems to be low on energy when he is awake or if the amount he sleeps increases, this can indicate a medical problem, such as anemia. Anemia is a condition in which the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells; it can be very dangerous to a kitten. Kittens with fleas are particularly at risk. If you suspect your kitten has anemia, check his gums. If his gums are pale, it is a sign he may be anemic and you should seek veterinary care immediately.