Where Your Kitten Should Sleep at Night

A kitten needs a safe and comfortable bed in a quiet room right after you bring it home.

Your kitten should be in a relaxing place to sleep, where it can adjust to its new home:

  • With home bedding for the kitten.
  • Provide a quiet room and sleeping area before letting it roam freely.
  • Don’t let the kitten sleep in your bed.
  • In a place without hazards in its sleeping area, so the kitten does not get hurt when it wakes up at night.

Read on for ideas on how to set up a bed and sleeping area, where your kitten feels safe, relaxed, and comfortable and has time to adjust to its new home.


A Place With Home Bedding from Kitten’s Family

It’s a big change for a kitten to move away from its mother and siblings, and different kittens have different reactions.

Some kittens adjust quickly. Others become anxious and may even grow up a bit neurotic if they can’t relax and get a good night’s sleep in their new home.

One solution is to ask the owner of the mother cat for a bit of bedding to take home with the kitten.

Even a small piece of cloth that smells like mom and siblings can create a place that helps a kitten feel safer during its first few nights in your home.

If you are getting a kitten from an animal shelter, ask if they can provide bedding to help the kitten adjust to its new surroundings.


Give Your Kitten a Special Room to Adjust 

An excellent solution to letting a new kitten settle in and sleep well is choosing a quiet room for its first few days with you.

Set up the room and sleeping area before you bring the kitten home.

Use a room with minimal foot traffic and noise. Read below about eliminating hazards in the room before you move the kitten in.

Keep the kitten in this room for a couple of days before letting it into other areas of the house.

Visit the kitten often, but don’t wake it up when it’s sleeping. Let the kitten initiate playtime with you when it’s feeling energetic and friendly.

It’s best to limit or supervise small children around a new kitten until it has time to adjust to its new home and gets to know the family members one by one. 


A Location With Bedding, Beds, and Sleeping Area

A kitten needs to have a warm, cozy sleeping area where it feels safe. One option is using a cardboard box lined with soft, easy-to-wash bedding.

A sleeping area with high sides gives the kitten a safe and secure den to hang out in if it feels scared. High sides also prevent drafts and keep the kitten warm while it sleeps.

Cut open one side of the box, and put it on the floor where it’s easy for the kitten to get in and out. You can also set a box on its side, making a little sleeping den with a roof.

The kitten will enjoy seeing outside of the box while snuggling away in its safe area.

Put soft bedding inside the box, like an old blanket, old towels or clothing, or a small, soft rug. You can also buy pet bedding or cushions at a pet store.

If you brought home a piece of bedding from the previous owner, put this in the kitten’s new bed as well. The scent will help the kitten relax and sleep soundly.

Some kittens do fine sleeping in a basket filled with soft fabrics or a cushion.

If your kitten seems especially shy or scared, a more enclosed space might help it feel more comfortable.


Using a Cat Cage as a Kitten Sleeping Area

Another sleeping arrangement for new kittens is using an animal cage overnight. If you use a cage as a sleeping area, get one that’s big enough to hold the kitten, bedding, water bowl, and a litter box.

Cages or pens built for large dogs work well as an overnight shelter for a kitten.

Only use the cage as a sleeping area or a place to keep the kitten safe when you must leave it alone. Let it out to explore and play as much as possible.

One advantage of a pet cage is you can move it around the house and expose the kitten to family members, including boisterous children and other pets. Only do this after the kitten first has a few days of peace and quiet in a room by itself.

Many pet cages are collapsible, making them easy to transport around the house and store when not in use.


A Separate Place Allows for Their Sleeping Habits

Just like human babies, kittens like to sleep a lot. They often sleep 18 to 20 hours a day.

However, kittens are nocturnal, meaning they like to be active at night, dusk, and dawn. Expect your kitten to wake up early and during the night for some adventure and exploration.

By confining your new kitten to a room where it can wake up and sleep as it wants, you will help it feel safe and allow it time to adjust to its new home.

Also, your kitten won’t wake you up at night if it’s in a separate room.

When a kitten is sleeping, it’s best not to wake it up, no matter how tempting it is because it’s so darned cute and you want to play with it.

By letting your kitten sleep as much as it wants, you help it adjust to your home and grow up to be a relaxed and pleasant cat.


Have Toys and Scratching Posts Nearby

Putting some kitten toys and a scratching post in the room or animal pen gives the kitten something to play with and a way to work off bursts of energy safely.

Be sure the toys do not have strings that the kitten could get tangled up in and don’t allow it access to toys with small parts it could accidentally swallow.

Your new kitten will probably enjoy a small scratching post for exercise and stretching its tiny legs and claws.


Food, Water, and Litter Box Must Be Accessible

Your kitten might not be interested in food right away.

Don’t worry if it does not eat much the first day or so. It has many new sights, sounds, and smells to get used to when it’s not sleeping.

Nonetheless, put food, water, and a litter box in the room with your kitten as soon as you bring it home.

Kittens need to eat small amounts of food four to six times a day. You can feed it on a schedule or leave food out for it to eat when hungry.

Keep the food and water bowls clean, and throw out any stale food.

Feed the kitten food made especially for kittens, and never give a kitten cow’s milk because it easily leads to stomach upsets and diarrhea.  

Always have a bowl of fresh water available for the kitten. Make sure the bowl is low enough so it can easily reach inside for a drink. Frequently check the water level.

To train the kitten to use the litter box, watch closely for when it shows signs of needing to relieve itself.

When a kitten needs to go to the bathroom, it will:

  • Scratch
  • Squat
  • Sniff

As soon as you see these signs, gently pick them up and put it into the litter box. Cats are very tidy animals, and they quickly learn to use a litter box.

Your kitten may already be trained by its mother or at the animal shelter to use a litter box. Then you’ll only need to show it where the box is located.

Keep the litter box at the opposite side of the room from the kitten’s bed, food, and water bowls.


Remove Hazards from the Kitten’s Room

Kittens are naturally curious, and if they can find mischief to get into, they will.

Protect the kitten by thinking like a cat as you examine the room for any potential hazards, and then remove anything dangerous.

For example:

  • Tie up or take down curtains so the kitten can’t climb them.
  • Remove potted plants, especially ones toxic to felines.
  • Put away small objects the kitten could ingest or get tangled up in, such as jewelry, sewing supplies, string, and extension cords.
  • Remove fragile objects from the room or put them where the kitten can’t reach them.
  • Securely close cabinets, closets, doors, and windows.
  • Block off tight spaces where the kitten could get trapped, like fireplaces, behind appliances, and under furniture.


Leaving a Light on at Night for the Kitten

It is not necessary to leave a light on at night for the kitten. Kittens have excellent night vision and can see in low light levels.

The light coming in through windows, even at night, is enough for the kitten to see when it’s dark out.

However, if the room is especially dark, you can plug in a small night light to give the kitten a bit of illumination overnight.


Don’t Let the Kitten Sleep in Bed with You

It’s not a good idea to let a kitten sleep in your bed. Here’s why.

For one thing, until it’s fully litter box trained, there’s a possibility of smelly accidents.

Also, it’s not easy for a tiny kitten to get out of a bed to use a litter box, eat, drink, or play.

Kittens like to play at night. If it’s in bed with you, it may attack your toes, scratch your face, or get its claws tangled in your hair.

It’s also possible you could roll over and hurt the kitten while sleeping.

When your kitten becomes fully grown, you might want to let it sleep in bed with you, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But while it’s small, a separate bed and sleeping area is best for the kitten and you.


Helping a Kitten Get to Sleep

If your kitten cries at night when you put it in its room or pen, try these ideas to help it fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.

  • Play with the kitten before bedtime to tire it out and get it ready for sleep.
  • Feed the kitten shortly before bedtime because a good meal can make a kitten sleepy.
  • Keep the kitten’s favorite toys and a piece of bedding from its former home in the bed to help it feel safer and more comfortable.
  • Hold the kitten before bedtime and gently pet it to calm it down and help it fall asleep.

If you give your new kitten a cozy, safe sleeping area and comfy bedding, it will soon be at ease, find favorite places to sleep on its own, and become a well-adjusted member of your family.


Writer: Mary Innes

Read about me