Your Cat Wants to Sleep in Bed with You: Some Reasons Why
If your kitty seems to think bedtime is snuggle time, you’re not alone. About 62% of cats prefer to sleep with their owners. But why is that? And as much as you love your fur baby, should you let him sleep with you? Keep reading to find out.
Some Reasons Why Cats Like To Sleep With Their Owners
For More Warmth and Temperature Control
You may have noticed that your kitty likes to stretch out in sunspots or curl up in your freshly dried laundry. What’s the obsession with warm napping spots? Well, your cat’s average body temperature is 102 degrees Fahrenheit, 3-4 degrees higher than yours, and kitties are constantly trying to maintain that temperature, especially while they sleep. That makes them more tolerant of heat and more attracted to warm places. One of the reasons your fur baby wants to crawl into bed with you is to take advantage of your internal warmth, especially if she can snuggle up against your hands or feet–or even better, curl up on your head–where most of your body heat escapes from.
For More Security
Your kitty’s great-great-(a lot more greats) grandparents were creatures of the wild, and they had to huddle together at night to keep safe from outside predators. For one thing, there’s strength in numbers, and for another, if danger approached, it was likely that at least one of them would wake and alert the others. Today, cats still want to feel protected when they sleep, so if your fur baby likes to hang out with you at night, it could be because he’s counting on you to fight off any monsters that might be lurking under the bed.
For More Comfort
Let’s face it: your bed is probably the most comfortable place in your house. Cats enjoy creature comforts as much as anyone, and you can bet they’ve tried out every single napping spot in your home–from the sunny window ledge to the hidey hole behind the couch. So if they end up settling on your bed, complete with soft pillows and warm blankets, as the best, comfiest place to sleep, can you blame them?
Expressing Friendship And Affection
It’s easy to forget when your kitty is deliberately hiding from you or fighting like mad to escape your clutches, but your little fur baby loves you. In fact, a 2011 study showed that cat-human relationships are much closer to human-human relationships than most people realize, and that kitties can bond deeply with their human parents. Although we often think of cats as aloof, independent animals, they’re social creatures who enjoy interaction–as long as it’s on their own terms. So while your feline may be taking advantage of your warmth and protection (and comfy bed), she also wants to cuddle with her favorite human.
Establishing Their Dominance
Maybe you’re asking the wrong question. Instead of asking why your cat is sleeping in your bed, ask yourself this: why are you sleeping in your cat’s bed? That may be the way it looks to your furry friend, anyway. Kitties are very territorial, which means that, unbeknownst to you, they’ve probably already claimed everything in your house–your couch, your books, your pillow, your TV–as theirs. Anytime you see your feline rubbing her head on something or walking on top of it, she’s marking her territory. So if your kitty walks on your bed or rubs her head on you, you’ve just been claimed.
Is It Okay to Allow Your Cat to Sleep With You?
According to the CDC, about 50% of U.S. pet owners let their fur baby sleep in their bed at night. While it’s certainly sweet when your little tiger curls up next to your head, it’s not always a good idea to let your furry friend sleep with you. For one thing, cats are nocturnal creatures, and their coming and going at night may disrupt your sleep schedule. Allergies and asthma are another thing to consider, as is the risk of disease. Then again, sleeping with a cat can help some people sleep better by calming anxiety and providing comfort.
Benefits of Sharing a Bed with Your Cat
- Comfort and stress relief. Having a furry friend in bed helps many people feel calm and comfortable. Some people find that sleeping with a cat soothes night terrors or helps them recharge emotionally.
- Relaxation. Listening to your kitty’s rhythmic breathing can be even more effective than sleeping with a fan or white noise maker. It may help you relax and fall into a deep sleep more quickly.
- Bonding. Sharing a bed strengthens the bond between you and your little fur baby. And, let’s be real, it’s super cute.
Disadvantages of Sharing a Bed with Your Cat
- Sleep disruption. Cats sleep around the clock, but many seem to get a sudden burst of energy when the sun goes down. Sleeping with your feline friend is cute until he starts pouncing on your feet or pawing your head in the middle of the night because you’re not paying him enough attention.
- Allergies and asthma. About 12% of Americans have a cat allergy, and if you’re included in that, sleeping with your kitty is a big no-no, as it can exacerbate your allergies and disrupt your sleep. Sleeping with a cat can also cause breathing problems in people with asthma.
- Fleas. While this won’t be a problem for most indoor kitties, sleeping with a cat who goes outdoors during the day may expose you to fleas.
- Disease. Especially if you’re immunocompromised, it’s a good idea to take your kitty to the vet and be sure they’re 100% healthy before letting them in your bed. If your fur baby shows any signs of being sick, she shouldn’t sleep with you.
How to Make Your Cat Sleep In Its Own Bed?
There are lots of tricks you can try, but at the end of the day, choosing a bed that matches your feline’s sleeping habits will go a long way toward getting her to use it. How and where does your fur baby like to sleep? Curled up in a ball? Stretched out on the mat? Hiding under the couch? Luckily for you, there are plenty of comfy cat beds to choose from.
If you often find your kitty curled up in sun spots or huddled against your warm body at night, a cozy bed may be just what the doctor ordered. A round, closed-in bed with raised sides, like the Donut Cat Hideaway Cave, helps kitties retain body heat while they sleep. Plus, it gives them a snug little hiding place.
Kitties who like to sleep in little nooks and crannies–behind the couch, under the table, curled up in your closet–are probably looking for places where they feel safe. If your kitty falls into this category, you may want to get a cave or nook style bed, like The Cozy Hideaway, which closes your kitty in while he naps.
You may just be able to lure your kitty away from your own fluffy pillows and blankets with a soft, cushioned retreat like The Meowbile Home cat bed. This is also a great option if you’re not sure which type of bed to get for your kitty, as you can convert it into either a cave or a flat bed with a little more leg room.
Cats Sleeping With Their Owners: FAQ's
Do Cats Think They Are Protecting You When They Sleep With You?
Cats often sleep with their owners because it makes them feel safer, but if your kitty curls up at the foot of your bed at night, she may have another motive as well. Many cats feel protective of their humans, and sleeping at the foot of the bed allows them to alert you of any dangers, as well as guard against approaching predators. Isn’t it nice to know your kitty has your back?
Why Does My Cat Like To Sleep on Top of Me? [h3]
If your kitty sleeps on your chest, feet, or even head at night, there may be a few reasons. Your cat’s body temperature is higher than yours, so she may be taking advantage of your body heat to keep her temperature stable. Or, she may find you soothing. Just as your fur baby’s purring calms and soothes you at night, your kitty probably enjoys hearing the rhythmic sound of your breathing and heartbeat as she falls asleep. Or, she may simply want to be close to you. As close as possible, in fact.
How Do Cats Pick Their Favorite Person To Sleep With?
Just like humans, cats bond over time with the people who love and care for them. Kittens are especially impressionable, and will bond with the people who care for them during their first few weeks of life. Even later in life, cats tend to gravitate toward the people who make an effort to spend quality time with them, and, yes, sometimes just the people who feed them. But it’s also about personality. Like people, kitties have different personalities, and they may mesh better with some people than with others.
Why Does My Cat Like To Sleep on My Head?Your head is where most of your body heat escapes from, so if your cat plops down on top of your head, he may be using you as a sauna. But there are other reasons as well: if you toss and turn at night, your head is probably the most stable part of your body, and thus the place where your fur baby can get the best night’s sleep. Or, your kitty may just like the way your hair smells. Who’s to say?
Why Do Some Cats Sniff Their Owners’ Breath?
Have you ever felt comforted by a certain nostalgic scent? Maybe your mother’s perfume or the smell of a favorite childhood meal? If so, you can probably understand why some cats sniff their owners’ breath. While they may seem aloof, kitties can be very affectionate, and your unique smell, along with the warmth and moisture of your breath, makes them feel at home. Of course, kitties are also known for being curious, and if they sense a new scent in the air–especially the scent of fish or meat–they want to know where it’s coming from.
What are The Signs That Your Cat is Protecting You? [h3]While it’s sweet of your fur baby to want to protect you, cats can sometimes go too far. Dilated eyes; turned out, pointed ears; short, sharp tail movements; exposed claws or teeth; crouching; and of course, hissing, scratching, growling, and biting are all signs of a cat being a little too overprotective. If you notice any of these signs, the best thing you can do is simply walk away. You don’t want to encourage this kind of behavior either by rewarding it or punishing it.
Cats spend around 70% of their lives sleeping, so one of the nicest things you can do for your kitty is make sure he has a warm, comfy, protective place in which to dream about catching birds and polishing off catnip. If that special place just happens to be the top of your head, at least you know you’re loved.
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