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Why cats like to sleep on the bed with people

Few first-time cat owners expect their cats to be affectionate, and yet, kitties constantly surprise people by begging for attention and laying down to nap with them. But if you’re used to sleeping without a pet, it can seem like more of an annoyance than a compliment. Even still, your cat probably has a good reason for wanting to sleep in your bed. Read on to learn a few reasons why your cat loves sleeping in your bed and the pros and cons of letting them do so.

Love

Though they may act aloof sometimes, cats love people just as much as dogs do. Sleeping in your bed may be your cats chosen way of showing you they care. When your cat sleeps with you all the time, they are saying that they like being with you and enjoy cuddling. This is especially common if you met your cat during the first 4 to 9 weeks of their life when cat imprinting occurs. If you were a stable and caring presence during this time, you likely have imprinted on them and gained their complete adoration and trust.

Comfort

Curled-up cat sleeping in cover
Cats can sleep up to 15 hours a day — they are sleep pros. They’ve likely tried to nap in every spot in your home, so they know which surfaces are the comfiest, warmest, and best locations for napping. It makes sense that they would try sleeping in your bed. And all the blankets and pillows you put on your bed for yourself only make it more enticing for your cat. After all, you find your bed comfy, so why wouldn’t they?

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Heat

Your cat loves lounging in warm places. They may curl up by the window in the sun, on your freshly cleaned laundry right after you take it out of the dryer, or among the blankets on your bed. There’s actually a scientific reason for why your cat loves warm places. A cat’s average body temperature is 102 degrees Fahrenheit. When the weather is warm, it’s easy for them to maintain this temperature.

But, when it gets colder out, your cat’s body has to burn more calories and expend extra energy to remain at the proper temperature. Sleeping in your cozy bed next to you is an easy way for them to stay warm. They can absorb your body heat as you emit it during slumber, so they can stay nice and toasty without making the extra effort.

Protection

Your cat may also be sleeping with you because they feel safe in your bed. Animals are at their most vulnerable when they’re asleep, and there’s safety in numbers. This is ingrained deep in your cat’s brains from their ancestral days in the wild. Their instincts tell them that lowering their guard while asleep could be dangerous.

For their own safety, your cat may choose to sleep with you. Together, you can protect yourselves against predators better than you could apart. And, it’s likely that at least one of you will awake at the sounds of danger that the other may sleep through. If your cat is joining you in bed, it may be for your protection (and theirs too).

Territory

Whose bed is it anyway? While you’re wondering why your cat wants to sleep in your bed, they may be wondering why you are sleeping in theirs. Cats are very territorial and often claim your belongings as their own. From your cat’s perspective, you may be sleeping in their bed with them.

Should you let your cat sleep in your bed with you?

This is a personal decision, and there’s no right or wrong answer. Some people enjoy the companionship while they sleep; others find it disruptive and bothersome. Here are a few of the pros and cons of sharing your bed with your feline friend.

Pros

  • Bonding: Sleeping together can help you and your cat spend some quality time together and feel emotionally closer.
  • Warmth: While your cat may sleep with you to keep warm, you can do the same. Sleeping with a cat can keep you cozy and warm all night long.
  • Stress relief: Petting cats and dogs release a chemical in our brain called oxytocin, the feel-good hormone. It can also lower cortisol levels, which decreases stress.

Cons

  • Allergies: If you are allergic to your cats, it’s probably not wise to allow them to sleep in bed with you.
  • Discomfort: Cats are usually more active during the night; their moving around may disturb your slumber. Plus, if your cat has a habit of sleeping on top of your chest or head, sleeping can be rather difficult.
  • Hygiene: Indoor cats seem to track litter wherever they go, even in your bed, and outdoor cats could carry in diseases. If you’re worried about the cleanliness of your bed, don’t let them sleep with you.

Cats have a lot of good reasons for wanting to sleep in your bed. They may choose to rest with you for warmth, protection, or out of love. But whether or not you want them to is a different question entirely. There’s generally no harm in letting them sleep with you, and it’s the sign of ultimate affection. Sleep tight!

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