Does Sleeping With Your Cat Create A Bond?

The bond between cats and their owners is a fascinating topic for cat lovers. While cats are often seen as aloof and independent, many cat owners feel a deep connection and attachment to their feline companions. Understanding the dynamics behind the cat-human bond can help enrich relationships and lead to happier cats and owners.

In this article, we’ll explore whether sleeping with cats can strengthen the bond between pets and their humans. We’ll look at the pros and cons of bed sharing, how to create positive routines, potential risks to consider, and alternatives to sleeping together. Expert tips for building a close relationship through other means besides bed sharing will also be provided. By the end, cat owners will have a deeper understanding of the cat-human bond, and how sleeping arrangements play into it.

Pros of Sleeping with Cats

Many cat owners enjoy the benefits of sleeping with their feline companions. Some of the main pros of inviting cats into bed include increased security, companionship, bonding, and potential health benefits.

Cats can provide a sense of protection and security for their owners at night. With their excellent night vision and keen senses, cats may detect or react to strange noises that owners sleep through. Having a cat nearby while sleeping can provide comfort and reassurance.

Sleeping together also facilitates bonding and companionship between cats and their owners. Cats display affection and connection through proximity and touch. Letting a cat sleep on the bed allows opportunities for bonding through nighttime snuggles and petting. This shared sleeping space brings cat and human closer together.

Studies have also shown potential health benefits of cat ownership and sleeping near cats. Having a cat nearby while sleeping may help lower stress and blood pressure and reduce anxiety. The companionship of a cat while sleeping can create feelings of calmness which have positive physical effects. Your Cat Could Be Making You Healthier

Cons of Sleeping with Cats

While there are many benefits to sleeping with your cat, there are also some potential downsides to consider. One of the most common complaints is disrupted sleep. Cats tend to be quite active at night and early in the morning. They may walk around on you, knead your stomach, or getZoomies across the bed during your sleep cycles. This can lead to restless sleep and frequent waking 1.

Allergies can also be an issue if you allow your cat to sleep in your bed. Cat dander and hair left on the bedding can trigger allergic reactions, congestion, sneezing, and watery eyes in people sensitive to cats 2. Finding cat hair in your sheets and blankets can be annoying as well.

There is also a small risk of minor scratches or injuries from cat claws while sleeping. Some cats knead blankets vigorously or get startled awake, which could lead to an accidental scratch. Setting boundaries with claw trimming and deterring rough play in bed can help avoid this.

Creating Positive Routines

Establishing a calming night time routine with your cat can help encourage bed sharing behaviors and bonding between human and cat. Some tips for creating positive bedtime habits include:

Set up a cozy sleeping area for your cat near where you sleep, using soft bedding and making sure they have easy access to their litter box, food and water. A clean litter box is especially important for a good night’s sleep according to this source.

Gently brushing or petting your cat before bed can help relax them and promote bonding through positive touch. Brushing helps keep their coat healthy and free of knots too.

Have designated play time in the evenings to help tire your cat out before bed. Interactive toys and play sessions give them an outlet for energy and enrich their environment.

Stick to a consistent bed time routine so your cat learns to associate certain cues like turning off lights or getting into bed themselves as signals that it’s time to sleep. This will encourage them to join you in bed for rest.

Potential Risks

While the closeness of sleeping with a cat can seem appealing, there are some potential risks to consider.

One risk is suffocation. Cats like to burrow under blankets, but if the blankets are too heavy or your cat gets stuck, they may have trouble breathing. According to this source, at least twenty cats suffocate each year by getting trapped under heavy blankets or pillows.

Another hazard is getting crushed if the owner rolls over. Cats are small and can easily get smushed. One survey found that around 2% of cat owners have rolled onto their cat while sleeping. To avoid this, make sure your cat has an easy escape route, such as a cat ramp or steps near the bed.

Falls are another concern. Cats can fall off beds and injure themselves, especially older cats or kittens. Place cushions or cat beds on the floor around your bed to reduce impact if they do fall.

Finally, cats can get tangled in sheets and bedding. Cats’ claws and limbs can get caught, causing distress. Making the bed tightly and securing loose sheets can reduce this risk.

Establishing Boundaries

Setting reasonable boundaries is an important part of building a healthy relationship with your cat. This involves training them to understand that certain areas and behaviors are off limits in order to create balance in the home. One common area owners struggle with is keeping cats off kitchen counters and tables.

According to How To Set Healthy Boundaries For Your Cat [A Complete …], deterrents like tin foil, double-sided tape, and citrus scents can be used to train cats to avoid surfaces. You can also try providing designated scratching posts and cat trees to redirect scratching off furniture. Use treats and praise to positively reinforce when they use the appropriate scratching surfaces.

Decide ahead of time if your cat will be allowed on some furniture. Choose a few designated cat-friendly spots and use treats to encourage using those while blocking off unwanted areas. Be patient and consistent during training. Boundaries require an adjustment period but are worthwhile for a peaceful home.

Alternatives to Bed Sharing

While some cats enjoy snuggling up to their owners in bed, there are many good reasons not to allow your cat to sleep in your bed every night. Providing alternatives can help satisfy your cat’s desire for comfort and closeness, while setting healthy boundaries.

Consider providing your cat with cozy beds in areas other than your bedroom. Place cat beds on raised surfaces, like counters, shelves, cat trees, or window perches, as cats often prefer high vantage points for napping. Heated cat beds can provide warmth and comfort. Plush, doughnut-shaped beds allow cats to curl up snugly.

Cat trees and multi-level climbing structures also make excellent sleeping spots, allowing cats to choose different heights and degrees of privacy. Make sure to place scratching posts, toys, and windows with views nearby to make these alternatives even more enticing.

You can allow supervised daytime snuggling with your cat in your bed when you’re awake. Just be consistent about keeping your cat off the bed at night. Provide affection and playtime with your cat before bed to meet your cat’s needs for bonding.

Signs of a Strong Bond

There are several ways cats demonstrate a strong bond with their human companions. Some of the most common signs include:

Purring – Cats purr not only when they’re content, but also as a way to comfort themselves or others. A cat who purrs frequently around their owner is expressing happiness and affection. Research shows cats may purr as a way to synchronize breathing and heart rates with their owners, strengthening social bonds.

Grooming their owner – Cats who gently lick their owner’s hair or skin are showing care and affection. This mimics the social grooming cats do with each other. It’s a sign your cat feels safe and connected with you.

Kneading – The kneading motion cats make by treading their paws, often while purring, releases endorphins for the cat. By kneading on their owners, cats are sharing this feel-good sensation. It’s a sign of being comfortable and content.

Following/shadowing – Cats who follow their owners from room to room want to stay close. This attachment behavior shows your cat values your company and wants to observe your activities.

Headbutts – When cats gently bump their heads on you, they’re depositing their facial pheromones. This “cat kiss” helps exchange scents and again mimics social bonding behaviors cats display together.

Expert Tips

According to veterinarian Dr. Gary Richter, sleeping with your cat can strengthen your bond, but owners should be mindful of potential risks. He advises, “Make sure your cat has a way to get on and off the bed easily without having to disturb you. Provide a soft cat bed either on the floor next to you or at the foot of your bed. That way, your cat can be close, but not disruptive.” (Source:

Certified cat behavior consultant Marilyn Krieger recommends, “Set up a cozy cat bed next to your bed or place a cat tree close by so your cats have an appealing alternative. Provide playtime and affection before bed to tire them out.” She adds, “Ignore minor disturbances from cats at night. React positively if they sleep peacefully near you.” (Source:


In summary, sleeping with your cat can create a closer bond through increased physical contact, routine, and mutual trust. However, there are also potential downsides like disrupted sleep and difficulty setting boundaries. To balance the pros and cons, consider designating part of the bed just for your cat, establishing a calming pre-sleep routine together, and paying attention to signs of overattachment. While sleeping together is not for everyone, it can deepen your relationship if done intentionally. Most importantly, focus on meeting both your and your cat’s needs, and find sleeping arrangements that nurture your bond.

Key takeaways include:

  • Sleeping together provides more opportunity for positive physical contact and bonding through routine.
  • Cats can disrupt sleep and overstep boundaries, so be prepared to set limits.
  • Try creating a calming pre-sleep routine together as quality bonding time.
  • Watch for signs of overattachment and separation anxiety.
  • Consider alternatives like daytime naps or partial bed sharing.
  • A strong overall bond is not reliant on sleeping together.
  • Focus on meeting both human and feline needs for the healthiest relationship.

While opinions differ, sleeping with your cat can absolutely nurture your bond. Pay attention to what works best for you and your pet.

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