Should You Let Your Pets Sleep in Your Bed? Here’s the Scoop
By Candace Seguin
Should you let your pets sleep in your bed? A cat-obsessed owner experiencing separation anxiety during the return to in-person work could agree that there is no greater feeling than coming home to your little meowing furbaby and plopping your face into their side belly. Listening as their purr thrum into action while you feel their fur, letting whatever stress or negativity of the day wash away. While just this action could be sufficient for physical affection with your kitty, others believe that allowing their cats to sleep in the same bed as them is a necessity for living. There’s quite a debate on the pros and cons over this topic, so here’s the scoop.
Cuddling up with your cat after a long day in bed strengthens your bond with them. The cat will feel safe and comfortable. Possibly in your arms, near your head, on your chest, or curled up in your side at the waist area. The petting and physical affection shared between you and the kitty stimulates the production of the oxytocin, the “love” hormone, allowing it to spread into the bloodstream. Cats create the hormone via their purring.
The purr itself has a calming effect on the cat and its human. It is effective in relaxation into sleep, reducing anxiety and night terrors for the human. The purr can act as a meditation, allowing the human to match the breathing pattern of their kitty and drift asleep. In addition to that, research studies have been conducted and the findings suggests that our mental health improves during our interactions with animals, as depression depreciates and the level of the stress hormone cortisol lowers.
Having a furry sleeping partner can act as a heated blanket, and can also mimic the comfort of a plush toy that we would snuggle up with as children. Another study found that sleeping with pet dogs eases the mental and physical stress of long-term chronic pain suffering individuals, decreasing pain symptoms as well. Although this study was conducted on canines and their owners, there is a possibility that a similar affect occurs for felines and their humans.
Because cats are nocturnal animals, it is likely that your sleep will be disturbed, and your pattern could be warped. Your sweet kitty could be cuddling with you into the wee hours of the morning, but once their internal clock hits breakfast time, there could be no end to what little antics they’ve grown into, essentially Pavlov-ing the both of you, until you get out of bed to feed them or open your phone to select the ‘feed’ option in their auto-feeder. If you struggle to fall asleep like me, there is no worse pain than being awoken by your furbaby a few hours before work and being unable to get a bit more shut eye.
There’s multiple pests, parasites, and diseases that cats can catch as well. Common ones are mites, fleas, ticks, ringworm. There are gastrointestinal worms, toxoplasmosis, hantavirus, even the bubonic plague. Of course, the probability of your cat picking up most of these depends on if they are an indoor or outdoor cat. Outdoor cats have more exposure to disease carriers, such as other outdoor kitties or feral cats, prey, and much more. So therefore, they are more at risk of bringing a little piggy-backing bugger home and inside with them. To help prevent your kitty picking up something or becoming sick, it is recommended to get annual veterinary checkups for immunizations, and to inspect your cat’s fur during the warmer months before allowing them into your bed.
On top of this, and regardless of if it’s an indoor or outdoor cat, their hair sheds and creates cat dander. The dander can trigger cat allergies, which could compromise your breathing ability. This also occurs with dusty-type cat litters that could release a cloud of irritants which promotes coughing and sneezing.
One last con to note is the possibility of a feline becoming territorial over a spot. Depending on their behaviour, aggression could occur and if you move in your sleep, you risk being bitten or scratched.
At the End of the Day
With this information in mind, the choice ultimately remains in your hands. Do with it what you will. You know your needs and your kitty the best. Personally, I crave curling up with my sweet kitty after a long day. Being able to hear her little snores and sometimes see her cover her face with her paws just makes my soul feel warm. However, for very important events and I need a peaceful sleep, like a night before a test, I want her OUT, because I know her behaviour once she gets hungry – and she relentless for food. Science, research, and vets say what’s up – if we’re aware and watch for our pet’s health, whether they sleep in bed with us or not is our prerogative.
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