Posted on March 29 2022
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The Pros and Cons of Letting Cats Sleep In Your Bed
Your cat is more than just the little ball of fluff that clearly considers itself in charge of your home. It is also a core member of your family and one of the most important relationships in your life. It’s no wonder you want to make sure you both can benefit from a sense of closeness.
One of the main ways people approach this is by inviting their cats to sleep in their beds each night. This is particularly prevalent in the U.S., where research shows 62% of cats sleep with their adult owners. However, it’s important to recognize there are benefits and drawbacks to this aspect of your relationship with your cat.
So, should you let your cat sleep with you? Let’s take a look at some of the pros, cons, and key considerations for this situation.
The reasons in favor of inviting your cat into your bed go beyond the obvious cuteness factor. Some of the key advantages here include:
• Better Bonding
Your relationship with your cat is important for both of you. This isn’t just because it is easier to cohabitate if your connection is positive. You each stand to gain mentally if you adopt habits to strengthen your bonds. This can be especially important if you spend a significant amount of the day out of the house at work. The extra time at night you and your cat share the same physical space even when asleep can bring you closer together.
• Stress Relief
Being close to your cat can actually improve your health and wellness. Not the least of these is the tendency for the frequency of purring to reduce stress and anxiety. There may be some significant pressures in your life, and sleeping with your cat can act as a great natural coping mechanism in both the short and long term. This can also be a great stress-reliever for your cat, as being close to you at night can help them to feel safer.
• Improved Sleep
Good quality sleep is essential to maintaining your mental and physical health. Whether your cat can improve your sleep can be a subjective issue. Usually, this is a matter of how comforted and calm you feel by the presence of your cat in your bed. The soft and rhythmic sounds of their breathing as they snooze beside you could be a contributing factor in your getting a good night’s rest.
For all the positives that can come from your cat sleeping in your bed, it’s important to recognize there can be some challenges. These include:
• Sleep Disruptions
Cats are nocturnal animals. As such, while your cat may start the night in bed with you, there’s no guarantee they’ll stay there or remain still. They may move around, clean themselves, or get a case of the zoomies. If you’re a light sleeper, your cat’s behavior can be a recipe for disrupted sleep. This could also exacerbate other sleep conditions. Recently, many people have reported experiencing forms of insomnia or disturbed sleep as a result of COVID-related stress. The anxiety caused by the sense of danger alongside increased media consumption is also a contributing factor here. While your cat’s purring may work to reduce this stress, their nocturnal movements could interrupt your sleep schedule.
• Health Risks
Having a cat sleeping in your bed can be a route to experiencing some health issues. If you live with allergies or asthma, the presence of fur close to your face or on your pillow could have a triggering effect. It’s also important to remember that cats can be host to various forms of harmful parasites, bacteria, ticks, and fleas. Your beloved feline sleeping on your bed could expose your bedding and you to gastrointestinal issues, toxoplasmosis, and Lyme disease, among others.
• Poor Hygiene
Everyone likes to have a clean bed. It helps to ensure you get a good night’s sleep and helps you to feel fresh as you wake up each morning. However, if you have a cat sleeping in your bed, they could track kitty litter into your bedding. If they spend time outside, you could also find your bed home to other forms of dirt and animal carcasses brought in as “gifts” for you. This can make your bed less than the comfortable and clean space you need it to be.
Other Aspects to Consider
The balance of pros and cons isn’t always the deciding factor in whether to allow your cat to sleep with you. There are certainly mitigating factors you should consider and ways to reduce some negative impacts.
• Outdoor Cat Vigilance
If your cat is a strictly indoor animal, they’re unlikely to bring in many parasites or pests. But if they spend time outdoors, it can be worth keeping the bedroom door shut until you’ve had a chance to examine them for obvious signs of poor hygiene or ticks that need to be removed. Regular flea and ringworm treatments can also help minimize the potential spread to your bed. This involves extra effort but makes it safer to sleep with your cat.
Making the most of the pros and mitigating the cons takes some focus. It’s worth remembering that giving your cat full and free access to your bed may not be the right approach. Keep mindful of your quality of sleep as a result of your cat's activities. Look out for any health issues in your cat. This may mean sleeping with you isn’t the best thing for either of you for a while. Taking a flexible approach allows you to make the most mutually beneficial decisions.
Living with a cat is a rewarding experience. However, it’s not always clear whether allowing them to sleep with you is a good idea. Their presence can be stress-relieving and improve your mutual bond. But there are also hygiene and health issues involved. You may find there are additional steps you can take to mitigate the more problematic elements. Bear in mind your relationship with your cat is unique to you both, as such you need to find a sleeping arrangement that considers your joint needs.