Should Your Cat Sleep In Bed With You? The Pros and Cons

The Pros of Letting Your Cat Sleep With You

One of the main benefits of allowing your cat to sleep with you is increased companionship and bonding. When you and your cat snuggle up together at night, it strengthens the bond between you. Your cat feels comforted by your presence, while you enjoy having your furry friend nearby. This kind of close contact and companionship can reduce stress and provide comfort for both you and your cat (Healthline).

Letting your cat sleep in your bed also provides mutual warmth and comfort. Your cat’s warm body next to yours can help you relax and fall asleep more quickly. The soothing motion of your cat’s breathing and purring can be very calming at bedtime. For your cat, your body warmth helps them feel cozy and secure as they drift off to sleep.

Having your cat nearby at night can give both you and your cat a greater sense of security. Your cat may feel unsafe sleeping alone at night and prefer the reassurance of sleeping beside you. For you, having your cat in your bed can provide a sense of protection and comfort. You may sleep better knowing your companion is close by (PetDoctors Aus).

Research indicates there may even be potential health benefits to sleeping with your cat. One study found that cat owners tend to sleep longer and better, with fewer episodes of waking up during the night. Cat ownership has also been linked to lower stress and anxiety levels, due to oxytocin released from snuggling with a cat (House Beautiful).

The Cons of Letting Your Cat Sleep With You

One of the main downsides of allowing your cat to sleep in your bed is disrupted sleep (https://thearkpets.org/2020/11/should-you-allow-your-cat-to-sleep-in-your-bed-pros-and-cons-by-john-woods/). Cats are naturally more active at night, so they may walk around, knead, or play on the bed when you’re trying to sleep. This can disturb your rest and leave you feeling tired the next day.

Allergies can also be aggravated by allowing a cat in your bed (https://www.sleepadvisor.org/sleeping-with-cats/). Cat dander and hair left on the sheets can trigger allergy symptoms for some people. Wheezing, sneezing, and watery eyes can make it difficult to get quality sleep.

Even people without allergies may find cat hair accumulating in the bed from sharing it with their feline friend. The hair and dander shed onto blankets and sheets can be difficult to remove and keep clean.

Lack of personal space is another consideration. Some people find it disruptive to have a cat walking over them, snuggling up against their legs, or sleeping right next to their head all night. This can make it difficult to get comfortable and relax.

Finally, if you ever need your cat to sleep elsewhere, such as when guests stay over, it can be difficult to train them not to sleep in your bed once the habit is established. Cats become accustomed to their routines and don’t take well to sudden changes.

Setting Up a Comfy Shared Sleeping Space

If you decide to let your cat sleep in your bed, it’s important to set up a comfortable space for your feline companion. This involves providing a cozy cat bed on or near your bed and using soft, washable bedding that your cat will enjoy. You’ll also need to think about litter box placement to discourage middle-of-the-night trips across your bed.

Place your cat’s bed on a nightstand next to your bed or at the foot of the bed. This gives your cat their own dedicated sleeping space without having to share your pillow. Choose a plush, orthopedic bed, especially if your cat is older. Soft microfiber and faux fur lining make beds extra inviting. Wash the cat bed frequently to keep it fresh and clean.

Use only soft, washable bedding that your cat can nestle into. Fleece and flannel sheets work well. Avoid slippery fabrics like satin or silk that provide little traction for cats trying to get comfortable. Wash your own bedding weekly to remove hair, dander and dirt that your cat tracks in.

Make sure your cat’s litter box is not in the bedroom. Place it in a spot that requires your cat to leave the bedroom and go down a hallway or into another room to relieve themselves. This prevents middle-of-the-night box visits that involve walking across your bed.

Discourage your cat from sleeping on your pillows or bedding above your neck level. Provide them with their own bed in their own space. Use a pillow or rolled-up towels to block access if needed. Remove your cat gently but firmly anytime they try to sleep on your pillow. This prevents sensitivities from inhaling allergens in your cat’s fur near your face at night.

Establishing a Bedtime Routine

An important part of helping your cat sleep through the night is establishing a regular bedtime routine. This will help your cat understand when it’s time for sleep and activity. Here are some tips for creating an effective bedtime routine for your cat:

Schedule playtime about an hour before bed – Get your cat active and engaged right before bed with a vigorous play session using interactive toys like feather wands or laser pointers. This will help your cat burn off energy so it’s ready for sleep. Be sure to end playtime at least an hour before bed so your cat has time to relax. Source

Brush your cat before bed – Brushing helps relax your cat and provides positive attention right before bed. Focus on areas they have trouble grooming like behind the ears and around the tail.

Follow a consistent schedule – Try to feed your cat and go to bed around the same time every night. Cats feel secure with predictable routines. Cats are most active at dawn and dusk, so a bedtime between 9 pm and 10 pm works well.

Set boundaries once in bed – If your cat tries to play or disturb your sleep, gently move them off the bed and ignore them. Be consistent so they learn the bed is for sleeping, not play. Lock them out of the bedroom if necessary.

By sticking to the same bedtime habits each night, you can establish a routine that primes your cat for a full night’s sleep.

Dealing with Nighttime Disruptions

Sharing your bed with a cat can lead to some disruptions in your sleep. Here are some common nighttime issues cat owners face, along with tips on how to handle them:

Litter Box Accidents: If your cat has accidents during the night, it could be a sign of a medical issue like a urinary tract infection. Make an appointment with your vet to rule this out. You may need to temporarily keep your cat out of your bedroom at night until the issue is resolved.

Excessive Moving or Snuggling: Some cats change positions frequently or snuggle up close, which can disrupt your sleep. Try giving your cat some intensive playtime right before bed to tire them out. You can also provide them with a cozy cat bed on the floor next to you, with treats to entice them to sleep there instead.

Early Morning Wake Ups: Cats are naturally most active at dawn and dusk. To prevent too-early wake ups, be sure to fully play with and feed your cat before bedtime. Also make sure your bedroom is dark enough in the mornings so the sunlight doesn’t wake your cat up too early.

Aggressive or Playful Behavior: Sometimes cats will bite, scratch, or play too roughly during the night. Make sure your cat gets plenty of playtime with interactive toys before bed, and keep their nails trimmed. Ignore them or gently push them away from you if they try to play or get aggressive at night.

Considering Your Cat’s Sleep Style

Cats have different preferences when it comes to how they sleep based on factors like age, health, and personality. Here are some of the most common cat sleep styles to be aware of:

Burrowers like to crawl under blankets or wedge themselves into tight spaces when sleeping. It can make them feel more secure and comfortable. Kittens and older cats tend to be burrowers since they have a harder time regulating their body temperature. If your cat is a burrower, make sure to provide some soft blankets or even a cat cave for them to snooze in.

Stretchers prefer sleeping on their sides with their legs extended. This allows them to fully relax their muscles. Stretchers benefit from having enough space in your bed to fully stretch out without crowding you. Providing some extra room or a cat bed nearby can give your stretching kitty the room they need.

Nesters like to circle around in one spot before settling in, pawing at blankets or kneading before lying down. They want to create the perfect nest for sleeping. Let your nester shape their ideal sleeping nook and provide soft bedding they can fluff to their liking.

Pay attention to your cat’s preferred sleep positions and styles. Try to create an ideal sleep environment based on their unique needs and preferences. Their age, health, and personality can all impact how they like to sleep. Accommodating your cat’s sleep style will lead to better rest for both of you. For more details, see this article on cat sleep positions and what they mean: https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/cat-sleeping-positions-and-what-they-mean

Alternatives to Bed Sharing

If you decide you’d prefer not to share your bed with your cat, there are some alternatives that can work well to help your cat sleep comfortably at night without disrupting your own sleep.

One option is to provide cat trees or perches near your bed. Cats often like to sleep up high, so having cat furniture like a cat tree, cat condo, or perch placed beside or at the foot of your bed can give your cat a nearby place to sleep during the night. Make sure the cat tree or perch is sturdy and offers spaces for your cat to curl up in, like cubby holes or hammocks. This allows your cat to stay close to you at night while not sharing your bed directly.

You can also consider getting a heated cat bed and placing it just outside your bedroom door or in another room nearby. The soothing warmth of a heated bed can help entice your cat to sleep there rather than on your bed. Just be sure to get a heated bed made specifically for pets, with safe temperatures and chew-resistant cords.

Letting your cat sleep in another room at night is also an option. You may want to start by keeping the door open at first, then transitioning to closed door sleep. Be patient as your cat gets used to the new arrangement. Provide ample food, water, litter box access, toys, cat trees, and beds in the room to make your cat comfortable.

With some adjustments, you can find an alternative sleep space your cat enjoys without having to share your own bed every night.

Special Concerns for Couples

Having a cat sleeping in bed with you can sometimes cause issues for couples. Here are some key concerns to consider:

Disagreements Over Cat in Bed

Partners may disagree over wanting the cat to sleep in bed or not. One person may love cuddling with the cat at night, while the other may find it disruptive. Open communication is key to finding a compromise. Consider setting boundaries on which nights kitty is allowed in bed or confining them to one side of the bed. Getting a larger bed can also allow more personal space. Ultimately, both people’s needs matter – don’t force your partner to sleep with the cat if they are uncomfortable. Seek a solution that works for both of you. This article has tips on resolving disagreements over pets in bed.

Intimacy Issues

Having a cat present in bed can cramp the intimacy and sex life for some couples. The cat staring, getting in the way, or needing to be locked out can create barriers to physical affection. Set some cat-free times or make the bedroom off-limits if kitty interferes too much. You may also need to train the cat not to scratch or bite if playful attention gets out of hand during intimate moments.

Allergies

If one partner has allergies, sleeping with a cat in bed can be problematic. Symptoms like congestion, sneezing, and watery eyes can disrupt sleep and cause relationship strain over time. Using allergy medication, bathing kitty regularly, and keeping your bedroom clean may help reduce allergens. But the most effective solution is likely keeping kitty out of bed so your partner can breathe easy.

Transitioning Your Cat Out of Your Bed

If your cat has become accustomed to sleeping with you, transitioning them to their own bed will take some time and patience. The key is to make the change gradually using positive reinforcement training. Here are some tips:

First, place your cat’s bed right next to your bed so the transition is not too dramatic. Make the new bed extra cozy by adding a warm blanket or heating pad on low. Give your cat treats and praise when they use the new bed.

After a few nights, very slowly move the cat bed farther away from your bed over the course of weeks. Continue rewarding your cat for sleeping in their own space. Be persistent and don’t give up if your cat still tries jumping in your bed at first.

It also helps to tire your cat out right before bed with playtime. A sleepy, tired cat will be more inclined to sleep in the spot you want them to. Make sure to give them affection so they don’t feel abandoned.

With time, your cat will get used to their new nighttime arrangement. Just remember to be patient and encourage the behavior you want consistently.

The Bottom Line

When deciding if you should let your cat sleep in your bed, there are a few key factors to consider:

Pros: Cuddling with your cat can strengthen your bond and help you both feel more secure and relaxed. Having your cat nearby may also help some people sleep better. Letting your cat sleep in your bed is especially nice if you live in a studio apartment without space for multiple beds.

Cons: Your cat may disrupt your sleep by walking on you, snuggling up too close, or meowing to wake you up. Cat hair and dander in your bed can also trigger allergies. And some cats may guard the bed and get aggressive with other pets or your partner.

The ideal scenario is letting your cat sleep in your bed only if it doesn’t disturb your sleep quality or health. Special cases like elderly, anxious, or sick cats may benefit more from sharing your bed for comfort and close monitoring.

Finally, consider keeping your bedroom door closed, designating pillows/blankets just for your cat, and trimming its nails to minimize sleep disruptions. But if your cat is overly disruptive and affects your work performance, it may be best to transition it to its own sleeping space nearby.

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