Should You Let Your Cat Sleep With You?
By Hannah Baker February 28, 2019
It’s a universal fact, recognized far and wide, that cats are basically stuffed animals. But do you want to know the coolest part? They’re stuffed animals that are alive, warm, and full of active cuddles. Since most of them love to curl up and sleep, their propensity for being snuggle monsters is unmatched. If you’re somebody who loves to lay around on the couch with a steaming coffee and a good book, then cats are likely a necessary accessory for your lounging. But once the sun sets and it’s time to go to bed, should you let your cat sleep with you? Some cat owners swear up and down that this is the only way to live, others starkly disagree. While cats are surely the best, most relaxing space heaters, should you keep them in bed with you throughout the night?
Cat Owners Are Split
A little over half of cat owners report that they let their beloved feline friend share their bed with them at night. The other less than half prefers to have their cat sleep outside of the bedroom. While some cite comfort reasons, others cite health reasons (for both sides of the spectrum). At the end of the day, regardless of what you decide, it’s also up to the cat. Some cats would love to cuddle up next to their owners all night; others would much rather run around loose in the house tearing up the carpet and getting into your favorite snack. But as for your decision, what’s the deal? Should you allow your cat in the room and in your bed? Is there a correct answer? Let’s find out!
Benefits Of Letting Your Cat Sleep With You
The most prevalent benefit that nearly everybody can agree on is that having another living thing sleep with you is comforting (if they remain relatively still!). Regardless of the species, sleeping together provides a sense of peace, security, and warmth. While this can be achieved through various means (like, say, another human being or a canine friend), there’s something particularly comforting about having your cat sleep with you. Perhaps because out of all the living things, cats seem to move around the least once they get to sleep. Dogs wiggle and squirm, humans toss and turn, but cats seem pretty content once they hit the hay. This makes them especially good candidates for sleeping pals, and it doesn’t hurt that cats love to sleep. That being said, cats are nocturnal - so this peaceful rest may not last (we will explore this later).
If you are prone to anxiety once the sun goes down or if you wake up often with night terrors, letting your cat sleep with you could drastically benefit you. This goes for during the day as well! The gentle rise and fall of a cat’s breathing (as well as their purring) can act as white noise. This can provide comforting relief from some of the internal stimulation that keeps us awake at night. In addition, cat owners have been found to have a decreased risk of various cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it could be said that letting your cat sleep with you has quite a few health benefits both mentally and physically!
Cats are little personal space heaters. It’s true. When sleeping with one, you may not have to use as much central heating in your house. You may not have to use a space heater in your room, and you may sleep better because of the gentle, cuddly warmth that they provide.
Sleeping together brings you closer to your cat. If you reinforce the idea that the cat is safe with you, especially when sleeping (when they are at their most vulnerable), then your feline friend will trust you and naturally draw closer to you. It’s a win-win all around!
If your cat is a scratcher, you’ve likely dealt with the problem of them scratching at the door in the middle of the night. This can, quite frankly, be incredibly annoying. It can wake you up from your sleep and make you irritable and restless. However, by getting in the habit of letting your cat sleep in the same room with you, you can reduce this issue and have a more quiet sleep at night (assuming they don’t tear through the room and find other things to scratch!).
Disadvantages Of Letting Your Cat Sleep With You
As mentioned previously, cats are nocturnal creatures. This means that it’s highly unlikely that they will sleep all the way through the night. Because of this, if you are a light sleeper, you may be woken up multiple times throughout the night by your cat moving around the room. And if they are a vocal creature, this can get rather annoying. One way to assuage this (or at least attempt to) is to tire your cat out during the day before you both go to sleep. This means lots of activity and playtime, and possibly a walk outside if your cat is leash-trained. If you have an indoor-outdoor cat, you could consider letting them outside for a bit of time in the evening and then calling them back in before sleep. This helps tucker your little friend out in the hopes that they will sleep throughout the night.
Cats can track in various debris into your bed. This can be litter from the litter box, dirt from outside, dust from the floor, and - obviously - tons of hair. If you don’t have allergies, this can just serve as a minor annoyance when you have to clean up the various particles that they track into your bed. However, if you are allergic to cats, the amount of hair and dander they leave behind can prove to be an issue. While for some allergic cat owners having a cat is manageable, the presence of a cat while you are sleeping can take this to the next level. This is especially true if you have a cat who loves to snuggle up close to your head (or on top of it). As such, allergies are a big thing to consider when making the decision about whether or not to let your cat sleep with you.
If you have an indoor-outdoor cat, you may be letting unwanted surprises into your bed by allowing your cat to sleep with you. When cats wander outdoors, they can pick up various infestations and diseases like fleas and ticks. Unfortunately, they can then transfer these to you during your sleep. If you notice that you start waking up with random bites, you may want to send your cat out of the room at night and get him or her checked for fleas. In humans, exposure to fleas can lead to various dangerous diseases like the bubonic plague and cat scratch disease.
If you’ve ever slept with a pet before, you understand the age-old issue of sleeping under the blankets with a small creature on top of the blankets. They weigh down the covers! This makes it especially difficult to pull the blankets close around you. Even for a small cat, this can prove to be an annoying issue, especially when you wake up freezing cold in the middle of the night.
A Third Option
If you love the idea of sharing a room with your cat during the night but don’t want to deal with the unwanted consequences of letting your cat sleep in your bed, a wonderful compromise is to set up their bed, house, or cat tower in your room. When nighttime rolls around, you can happily close your door and know that your cat is safe and happy in your room, but sleeping in their own little cozy cubby (and not on your head!).
There’s no right or wrong answer. Letting your cat sleep with you is a totally personal choice and depends on several factors between you and your feline friend. While some people absolutely love having their cat sleep with them, others cite health reasons for leaving their cat in a completely different part of the house at night. At the end of the day, you can always compromise and set up a little place for your cat in your room but away from your bed. Regardless of what you choose regarding your sleeping setup, we still totally recommend cuddling with your cat at all hours of the day - on your couch, in your bed, on the porch. It’s good for you!