Some cat owners love their cat so much that they even like to sleep with them in bed. They find it comforting having their feline friend close by, and some people find their cat’s purring relaxing. Although this is a matter of personal preference, cat owners often do this without considering the potential risks of having a cat sleep in their bed, of which there are many. Due to the risks, it is best for your cat to sleep in their own bed and to discourage them from sleeping in yours. Here are some of the reasons why having a cat sleep in your bed with you is not advisable.
One reason to deter your cat from sleeping in your bed is that it is likely they will disturb your sleep. According to Sleep Advisor, having a cat in your bed will disturb your sleep. Cats can sleep for many hours throughout the day and then want to play at night. They have no understanding of your need for sleep at night so that you are refreshed and ready for work the following day. They will nudge you and purr at you until you wake up to pet them and play. Meowing and jumping on and off the bed are other ways that they can disturb your sleep. A lack of sleep can then reduce your ability to function properly during the day and can lead to illness.
Most cats will shed a little hair and some cats shed a lot. This will leave cat hairs in your bed, which will add to your cleaning jobs at home. Cat hair is also a source of irritation for many people and can cause both skin problems and breathing difficulties. It is especially important that those who suffer from asthma avoid having a cat sleeping with them as this can exacerbate their condition.
Even if a cat does not have fleas and you have used the appropriate flea protection, they can sometimes carry one into your home from outside. It only takes one flea to come in and lay eggs, and then you have a flea problem. Bedding and mattresses are the perfect environments for fleas to make their home and breed, and they will bite and feed off your blood while you sleep. You could soon find yourself waking up with bite marks on your ankles if you allow your cat to sleep in your bed.
Cats pick up all sorts of bacteria on their coat and their paws when they are roaming around your house and garden. By inviting your cat into your bed, you are also welcoming any bacteria they are carrying. This can potentially lead to health problems in the future, such as sickness and diarrhea, so it is best avoided.
When a cat uses a litter tray, it is stood in its own urine and feces. Some urine and fecal matter are retained on your cat’s feet. When they sleep in your bed, this is then transferred onto you and your bedding. Reader’s Digest says that you can reduce the amount of litter debris that is transferred by putting a rubber mat next to your litter tray. However, you cannot prevent all the litter debris from being transferred as there is always some on your cat’s paws.
Cats and Pregnancy
If you normally sleep with your cat, then this is something you should stop doing if you become pregnant. This is potentially dangerous due to the transfer of fecal matter. Contact with cat feces puts you at risk of contracting a disease called toxoplasmosis, which is very dangerous to an unborn child. Current medical advice is that pregnant women should not have any contact with cat feces, so they shouldn’t empty litter boxes or sleep with their cat.
Cats and Babies
Health Line stresses the importance of never allowing your cat to sleep with a baby. This is predominantly due to the risk of suffocation. Although it is unlikely that your cat will intentionally harm a baby, they enjoy sleeping in a warm place, and next to a baby is perfect for them. If they lie too close, the baby can suffocate leading to their death. Experts recommend that you do not let a cat lie near a child under five years of age. The best way to avoid this happening is to keep the bedroom door closed.
Choosing to Sleep with Your Cat
Despite the health risks of sleeping with a cat, some cat owners decide that the comfort it brings them outweighs the potential risks. If you do choose to sleep with your cat, there are some rules that you should apply to minimize these risks. These include:
- Apply flea treatments regularly to reduce the risk of fleas transferring to your bedding.
- Groom your cat to minimize cat hair in the bed.
- Use a rubber mat next to the litter box to reduce litter debris transfer.
- Only let your cat sleep at the end of the bed away from your face.
- Get your cat checked by your vet prior to allowing it into your bed.
- Keep the cat away from babies.
- Do not sleep with your cat during pregnancy.
Sleeping with Cats – The Final Verdict
Cat owners may find sleeping with their pets enjoyable, but there are many risks. Some of these include bacteria, fleas, sleep disturbances, and the transferral of litter box debris. Generally, the best advice is not to let your cat sleep in bed with you to avoid these risks. Furthermore, you should never let a cat sleep with you while you are pregnant, and you should never allow a cat near to where your baby or young child sleeps. If you do decide to let your cat sleep with you, then this is a matter that is entirely your own decision. However, it is important to take sensible steps to minimize potential risks.