should my cat sleep with me?

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Everyone likes to be cozy

That includes our cats. So should my cat sleep with me?
In 2015,  Houzz, the home design site, surveyed 10,000 pet owners in 11 countries to find out where our pets sleep. The country that reported the most bed sharing with cats, is America,

  • 53% of American pet owners sleep with their cats
  • 30% in France and Germany sleep with their cats
should my cat sleep with me?

should your cat sleep with you?
photo by S.Dunaif © 2016

The American Pet Products Association conducted The National Pet Owners Survey

    • 62% of cats sleep with their adult pet owners.
    • 13% of cats sleep with children.

If you suffer from stress or insomnia, sleeping with your cat may calm you, because cats have a soothing effect on people. According to sleepeducation.org, how common is insomnia among adults?

• 30 to 35% have brief symptoms of insomnia.
• 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, which lasts less than three months.
• 10% have a chronic insomnia disorder, which occurs at least three times per week   for at least three months.

Put your ear next to a sleeping cat: their breathing is rhythmic and relaxing. A cat has soft cozy fur and their bodies are warm. In fact, their body temperature is actually higher than humans, they average 101.5° – no wonder we love to snuggle with them.

note: Sleep experts suggest an ideal room temperature of mid sixties, so if your cat sleeps with you, perhaps adjusting a few degrees lower to compensate for the warmth from a cat, may make your sleep environment more comfortable.

Cats average 15 hours of sleep a day, but kittens and older cats usually sleep more, possibly up to 20 hours.

daytime sleeping cat

cat day sleeping
photo by shari smith dunaif 2017

Since cats are crepuscular (active during twilight and dusk) they often go to a spot where they feel safe and won’t be disturbed when they need to nap during the day. Otherwise, cats like hanging out with us, whether it’s watching TV, or having breakfast, they want to be with us. Which is great, because we want to hang out with them too. Bonding is another benefit to have your cat sleep with you. When our rescue cat Marnie slept with us, it was significant: I knew she finally felt secure and loved.

According to a small 2014 study (150 patients) by the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Sleep Medicine

  • 41% said they had no effect or even a positive effect on their sleep
  • 20% did say their pets disturbed their sleep, at least sometimes.

When you first bring your cat home, decide in advance if your cat is going to sleep in your bedroom. This is important because if you change your mind, it’ll be difficult for you and your cat. Cats are, after all, territorial, so it’s confusing for your cat. They may end up scratching and meowing at your door to reclaim their place with you. They may even howl. That’s bad for you. If your cats do sleep with you, but they wake you up in the middle of the night, don’t get in the habit of rewarding them with treats and play. Do that during the day. Cats respond well to routine, so be consistent: nighttime is for sleeping, everything else are daytime activities.

Sleep well, cat lovers!

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