Cats are like family members, and plenty of people snuggle up with their kitties at night. In fact, millions of cat owners have let their beloved pets sleep in their bed at least once.
But should a cat sleep in your bed? Is it good for them? Is it good for us? And what are the health risks? Let's find out.
Is it normal for pet cats to sleep with you?
Research has also shown that sharing a bed with a cat can help reduce stress and anxiety, especially among people living with anxiety disorders. In many cases, falling asleep with their cat helps these people get a much better night sleep, which helps improve their mental health.
Why did my cat suddenly start sleeping next to me?
Cats are not big fans of the cold, so come wintertime they might try and sneak in your bed at night and soak up some of that body heat.
But if your cat starts sleeping next to you at any other time of the year, something else might be going on. Cats are creatures of habit; you should also take note of any sudden changes in their behaviour. They may have developed some form of separation anxiety, which could be a reaction to changes in the environment, such as a new house or the arrival of another pet.
It could also be a sign that your cat is poorly, and needs some extra comfort. Keep an eye on any other signs of illness, including reduced appetite, refusal to drink water, weight-loss, or lethargy.
Alternatively, they could be another reason why they sleep next to you - and that's because your cat loves you! Take it as a compliment. You're doing a great job looking after them!
Why do my cats love sleeping near my head?
Have you ever woken up with a cat on your head? Well, you’re not the only one! It's fairly common for cats to sleep by their owners head, and here's why: we lose around 10% of our body heat through the top of our head, so your cat is just looking for the warmest spot to go for a snooze.
But you don't want a cat sleeping next to the heads of young children or newborns. So if you have any little people in the house, make sure their bedroom door is closed when it comes to bedtime or naptime.
What are the risks of letting your cat sleep in bed with you?
Cats are nocturnal creatures; they become more energetic after dark. They may start running around the room or climbing the curtains in the middle of the night. This can interrupt your sleep patterns, and prolonged periods of poor quality sleep can cause depression, anxiety, and a compromised immune system.
Asthma suffering cat owners should always keep their bedroom door closed before bedtime, making sure kitty is on the other side. Unfortunately, sleeping next to a cat could aggravate any allergies or asthma symptoms.
When you share a bed with a cat, you're also sharing it with anything on the cat, like fleas, ticks, or parasites. Many of these are zoonotic or carry zoonotic bacterial infections. In other words, they can spread between animals and humans. There's also the chance a cat could transfer faecal matter form their litter tray into your bed. Faecal matter is packed full of nasty bacteria, including salmonella and e-coli.
8 Reasons You Should Never Let Your Cat Sleep in Your Bed
Here are eight reasons why you shouldn't let a cat sleep in your bed:
- It can disrupt your sleep pattern
- It can aggravate any underlying health issues
- Your cat may develop separation anxiety
- Your cat may think the bed belongs to them and become territorial or aggressive
- You’re exposing yourself to ticks, fleas, and parasites
- You’re increasing your chances of contracting severe bacterial infections
- Once they get used to sleeping in your bed, breaking the habit can be extremely difficult
- Cats can inadvertently smother a sleeping baby if they start sleeping their crib.
Curling up for a good night's sleep with your fur-baby sounds like a great idea. But as you can see, it isn't that straight forward. Letting a cat into your bed every night comes with several health risks, some of which could lead to severe infections. Snuggles and the odd nap on the sofa are fine, but it's best if your bed is for humans only.
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