Where does your cat curl up for a good night’s sleep? At one point or another you may have wondered if it’s safe for your kitty to sleep in bed with you. Maybe you’ve thought about whether or not they’re better off having their own bed.
Continue reading for a look at the case for and against your cat sleeping in your bed during the nighttime hours. But first, let’s learn a bit more about cats and their sleeping patterns.
Does Your Cat Like To Sleep In Elevated Places? Here’s Why
You might have said to someone, “You’d be amazed at where my cat sleeps.” If they’re a fellow cat owner, they would probably have some funny stories of their own. Cats love to sleep up high – and it all goes back to nature.
Feral cats are predators. Unfortunately, they’re also prey. Cats in the wild hunt smaller animals, such as rodents and birds. But they’re susceptible to attacks by bigger predators, such as hawks and coyotes. Sleeping in high places is the best solution. It helps them spot prey and stay protected from ground-dwelling predators. The leaves of trees also act as a sort of camouflage, helping reduce the chances of being attacked by a predatory bird.1
Other Interesting Cat Sleeping Habits
One interesting fact about felines is that they go through rapid eye movement, or REM sleep, just like humans. This is a period of extremely deep sleep. They’ll go through this for about five minutes and then go back to dozing. This pattern of REM sleep and dozing continues to alternate until the cat is ready to wake up.2
Cats tend to be very energetic at both dawn and dusk. In the wild, these are the best times for them to hunt because their prey, mainly birds and small animals, are more active during these cooler portions of the day.3
Have you ever wondered if your cat dreams while sleeping? Apparently, the answer is, “yes.” Cats probably dream about events that have happened recently. For example, they may have stalked a squirrel or a bird in the yard. They could have had an argument with your dog. Or they might just be dreaming about being petted.4
But what about the question of whether or not you should let your cat sleep in your bed? Here are a few arguments for and against letting your little furball snooze with you at night.
Letting Your Cat Sleep With You In Your Bed At Night: Pros
Cats love to share a pillow with their pet parents to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re feeling anxious or lonely, having a purring pet by your side may help you fall asleep. Snuggling with your pet may also help ease any stress you might be experiencing. It reduces the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and boosts the levels of oxytocin – a hormone that makes you feel better.5
Sleeping with your pet also promotes bonding. If you’re away from home most of the day and busy at night, this might be the best opportunity for some quality time with your beloved companion.6
Letting Your Cat Sleep With You In Your Bed At Night: Cons
Maybe you’ve set up a cat bed with a nice little pillow elsewhere in your bedroom or somewhere else in your home. Just as there are some good arguments for letting your cat sleep with you, there are other good arguments for having your pet sleep in another area of your home. It’s important to be aware of the following risks before deciding to let your cat sleep in your bed.
It May Put Your Health At Risk
For example, cats can sometimes have parasites that can transfer to their pet parents. Fleas and ticks, for example, can jump from a cat to a human. A bite from either can lead to severe problems. If your cat is an indoor pet, this will eliminate the risk.7
Cats Can Be Hard To Evict
Another downside to letting your cat sleep in bed with you is that one day you might decide you’ve had enough. For whatever reason you might not want your cat in your bed anymore. If that happens, your cat might respond with bad behavior. Cats do not always respond well to change and a change like this could really throw them off. This could mean scratching up furniture or even urinating on your floor. Try giving them toys to play with at night, or buying a new cat tree to keep them occupied.8
It May Be Dangerous For A Young Kitten
Finally, sleeping with a small kitten you’ve recently brought home probably isn’t a good idea. One reason is that it might be too hard for your kitten to get down from the bed to do their “business” in the litter box. Even worse, you could accidentally roll over and accidentally hurt your new baby. You should probably wait until the kitten is at least six months old. They should be able to easily get up on your bed on their own by that age.9
Cats love to sleep. They can fall asleep in a cat bed, a couch, or nearly anywhere else. Cats will usually sleep about 15 hours a day on average – but sleeping 20 hours isn’t that uncommon. They tend to snooze most of the day and be more active at night.10
But that doesn’t mean they won’t wake up at a moment’s notice to pounce on a toy – or on your foot as you’re walking by. The reason is that cats are natural predators. They typically hunt at night in the wild. And in this case, “the wild” could be your bedroom.11 That could, of course, lead to you being awakened by your energized cat. You could be grumpy the next day or find it hard to concentrate as a result.
What To Do If Your Cat Keeps You Awake At Night
As you know, there’s a good chance your kitty will be active during the nighttime hours. So, how do you deal with a cat who likes to run around while you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep?
One thing to consider is playing with your kitty right before bedtime. As you learned earlier, cats expend a lot of energy when they play. If your routine already includes cleaning out the litter box at night, try to add some playtime as well. Some cats who don’t get enough attention will sometimes miss the litter box on purpose, or scratch your furniture on purpose. Make sure to give your cat plenty of attention and play time, especially right before bed. Playing before bed could reduce the chances of them acting out and possibly tire them out.12
Is It Important To Decide Where My Cat Should Sleep?
In most cases, there really is no right or wrong answer to the question of, “Where should my cat sleep at night?” If your vet says it’s okay for your pet to sleep with you, there’s no reason to change what you’re doing.
On the other hand, if your cat is disrupting your sleep in any way, it’s a good idea to get your pet a cat bed and put it in another part of your home.
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