The day you bring your kitten home is such an exciting time. You found your new family member, fell in love and now are welcoming him into your home. You promise this tiny being that you will do everything you can to help him live his best life.
When we adopted Annie and Eddie from the Grayson County Humane Society in Leitchfield, Kentucky, we were overjoyed to welcome them into our family. The kittens were already bonded from sharing a cage together, so they had each other to rely on as they adjusted to their new home.
Your kitten will need time to become comfortable in his new surroundings, so be patient. One thing kittens do is sleep a lot. But where will your kitten sleep?
A kitten desires to feel warm, cozy and safe while sleeping. Our house cats’ instincts are hard-wired from their wild ancestors. They have a primal need to feel safe from predators, even while sleeping safely in your home.
You can help your kitten feel safe while snuggled up by providing a small cat bed with a center cushion surrounded with higher sides so he feels protected. If the cat bed you choose is a bit big for your kitten, but will be perfect when he is older, you can add a rolled up soft blanket to line the interior, making the bed a bit cozier.
If you adopted two kittens, they will have each other to snuggle with, helping them to feel secure. You don’t necessarily need to purchase a cat bed, as there are many things you might already have around your house that will work just fine. A laundry basket or cardboard box with folded blankets or towels can do the trick. A carefully placed blanket by a window where the sun shines provides a perfect lounging spot, too.
Sleeping When You’re Home
During the day and evening, your kitten might prefer to snooze beside you on the sofa while you are reading or watching television. We fold up a soft blanket so when one of the kittens curls up, they sink in a little, allowing them to feel snug and secure.
Kittens seek warmth and sometimes you are the best heat source. Your kitten might prefer to sleep on your lap, on your chest or even on your shoulder nestled into the crook of your neck. We found that Eddie preferred to sleep on a folded blanket on the ottoman in front of the sofa, while Annie preferred to sleep as close as she could get to us. When we were busy working around the house we would often find them on the sofa snuggled up together in deep sleep.
While You’re Away, What’s A Kitten To Do?
When you are home it’s easier to keep an eye on your kitten. But we can’t always be home. So what do you do then? If you plan to be away from home for a few hours, you might consider placing your kitten into a kitten-safe room. Remember: When your kitten isn’t sleeping, his curiosity can get him into trouble. You will want to provide your kitten with a comfy sleeping area, cat food, water, a few favorite toys and a litter pan in the safe room
We opted to place the kittens in a crate to keep them safe when we were planning to be away from home. We placed two crates together held by plastic ties. One crate housed a litter pan on one side and a folded towel on the other. In the adjoining crate, we placed a couple soft folded blankets and a couple cat toys on one side to create a warm and cozy nest. On the other side, we placed their food and water – make sure this is further away from the car litter so that litter training your kitten is not interrupted.This setup worked well for us, and we were able to go out knowing the kittens were safe.
Kittens In Bed At Night, Or Not?
At night, you need your beauty rest, too, so where should your kitten sleep? If you choose to allow your kitten to sleep in bed with you, that is perfectly fine. Just keep in mind that once permitted to sleep in your bed, if you change your mind, it will be more challenging to get your little one to adjust to his own sleeping quarters. Cats are territorial creatures, and they will not like being denied access to where they were once permitted to sleep.
A warm purring kitten can be relaxing and help you nod off to sleep. If you fall asleep easily and sleep through the night this sleeping arrangement will work just fine, but if you toss and turn and have difficulty sleeping, you might consider placing your kitten in his or her own space to sleep.
Cats are notorious bed hogs and you might be surprised how much room your kitten will require when they feel relaxed and stretch out longer than you thought possible. Worse yet, we cat lovers are tender hearted and often reluctant to move a sleeping kitten to make ourselves more comfortable. You might find yourself clinging to the edge while your 4-pound kitten enjoys the warmth and comfort of your bed. As long as you are able to peacefully co-exist in the bed through the night, this sleeping option could be perfect for you.
If you don’t want your kitten to sleep in bed with you, it’s best to start out by showing your kitten where he will be sleeping and gently urge him to make a habit of sleeping in this same spot at night. Remember, your kitten’s needs are simple. He wants to feel warm and safe in a protected place. You might entice your kitten to settle down in his own space if you place a hot water bottle underneath a blanket or towel inside his cat bed or box.
Before we brought Annie and Eddie home, it had been a long time since we had a kitten in our home. When kittens aren’t sleeping they could be getting into mischief. We needed a plan so we could get some much-needed shut-eye. We utilized our crate setup for Annie and Eddie to keep them safe through the night for a few weeks while we all adjusted. The kittens were happy together, and we were able to sleep through the night.
Your kitten grows up so quickly. These early days are so special and will form the bond that you’ll cherish for years to come. Enjoy every moment. There is nothing like the sound of little paws scampering about your house, and the tiny mews and the gentle purr of your warm, happy, sleeping kitten.
Featured Image: Andy Roberts/Gallery Stock
By: Joanne McGonagle