Should you let your cat sleep in your bed?
Dr. Bethany Richards is a cat lover working at Southern Cross Vet and the principal vet for The Lion’s Den. In her spare time, Beth cares for her foster kittens Gracie & Neko and her Golden Retriever, Archie.
Cats love sleeping in beds. Beds contain two things that cats love – warmth and their owner. Deciding whether or not your cat will sleep on the bed should be done before you get the cat. Once your cat has started sleeping in your bed it will be almost impossible to break the habit.
Risks of letting your cat sleep in your bed
1. Disrupted sleep: Sleep is a hot commodity in the modern world. Cats will sleep for 15 hours a day, but unlike humans they aren’t fussy about when this sleep is. Some cats are night owls and might decide to move around on the bed in the night, waking you up.
2. Parasites: Fleas and mites do not live long on humans but can still bite us and cause irritation. Before you decide to let your cat sleep in your bed, make sure he/she is on regular flea control.
3. Bacterial and fungal Infection: Prolonged exposure to bacteria and fungi on cats can put some people at risk of bacterial and fungal skin infection. Those people most at risk are those with compromised immune systems, such as the elderly, the very young or those undergoing cancer treatment. Ringworm is a fungal skin infection that can affect both cats and healthy people. Most cats do not have ringworm, but if your cat is diagnosed with this condition then you should not sleep with them in the bed.
4. Cat allergies: People who are allergic to cats should not sleep with cats.
5. Harm to or from young children: Very young children or babies can be at risk of accidental smothering if a cat is allowed in the crib. Young children should never be left unsupervised with cats as they can be too rough with the cat, possibly leading to bites and scratches.
Risks of NOT letting your cat sleep in your bed
1. A disappointed cat banging on the door: Not letting a determined cat sleep on the bed might be more trouble than it is worth. Your cat might make a lot of noise in the night attempting to get into your room, which can disrupt your sleep.
Dr. Beth's cat Gracie sleeps on her bed
2. Cold bed: Cats are warm and make perfect soft hot water bottles in winter.
At the end of the day, the decision of whether or not the cat sleeps in the bed is often not made by the owner, but by the cat