If you have one or more cats in your home, you’ve probably had them snuggle up in bed with you at night at least once or twice. Some cats make a regular habit of this, and you can count on them to join you in bed as soon as you turn off the light. It’s common for cats to choose to sleep in bed, but why do they do it? These are some of the reasons why cats like sleeping with people.
If you notice that your cat starts to sleep in bed with you in the fall and then abandons the habit in the summer, he may be seeking out a warm spot to snooze. Cuddling up against you means your cat can enjoy your body heat, and it may keep him comfortable when the house cools down at night.
Some cats bond strongly with particular people, and they may sleep with you out of companionship. “My cat sleeps with me and not my husband” expresses another common instance of this, where a cat may follow one person around the house but not exhibit the same behavior toward other family members.
If your cat sleeps with you out of companionship, you may notice that he prefers to stay close to you through the rest of the day. If he moves out to the couch, the kitchen, and the living room as you move around, his nighttime sleeping habits may just be an extension of this behavior. In this instance, your cat just enjoys your company, even when you’re asleep.
Many cats naturally feel the need to claim their territory, which might include you and your bed. Cats rub their heads and leave behind pheromones on whatever they feel is theirs. Then, when other cats come along, they can smell those pheromones and will recognize that they’re in another cat’s territory.
By walking, lying, and rubbing himself on you and your bed, your cat may be marking his turf just in case another cat comes along to try to claim you.
If you’re thinking, “My cat follows me everywhere and sleeps with me,” that attachment could indicate that your cat feels insecure and is turning to you for protection and reassurance. This can be particularly common if your cat is under stress or if there’s been a recent change in your home, like the addition of a new pet, that’s making your cat feel insecure.
So, your cat loves to sleep in bed with you at night — but should you let him? Allowing your cat to sleep in your bed is largely a personal preference, but it comes with pros and cons.
On the positive side, having a cat sleep in bed each night can be comforting for you, just as you probably comfort your cat. Many cat owners enjoy knowing that their cats choose to sleep with them, and it can be nice to know you’re not alone when you wake up in the morning.
There are some potential downsides to this habit, too. Cats can track cat litter and dirt into your bed, so plan on washing your comforter and sheets more frequently. If your cat likes to sleep up against your arms or face, he might accidentally scratch you during the night. If you’re mildly allergic to cats, having your cat in bed with you could prompt your allergies to flare up.
Your cat might also affect your sleep quality. Cats are nocturnal, and while many learn to sleep through the night because of their humans’ habits, your cat might be active and move after dark, waking you up. You might find that you try not to move and disturb your cat, but this can lead to stiffness and pain during the night. Some cats love to try to sleep on your head and neck, which also doesn’t make for a great night’s sleep.
Even if you decide to let your cat sleep in bed with you, your cat shouldn’t ever sleep with your baby. There’s a risk of your cat accidentally suffocating your baby if he sleeps on your child’s head or chest. Instead, it’s best to keep your baby’s door closed and your cat out of the room until your child is older.
Ultimately, deciding whether to let your cat sleep in your bed is up to you. Some people love to have their cats with them at night, while for others, cats on the bed is a no-go.
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