Is it OK to Let Your Cat Sleep in Bed with You?
Cat people will know there’s nothing more comforting than having a furbaby to snuggle up
to. Whether you’ve had a bad day, or just want something to pet while watching Bake Off,
there’s nothing like a cat cuddle to make you smile.
But besides being the perfect cuddle companion, cat owners will also admit that their feline
friends have absolutely no boundaries. From following you into the bathroom, to hogging
the bed at night, there’s no escaping them when they want your attention.
So, it’s not surprising that many cat owners let their pets snooze on their duvet or curl up on their pillow. It’s not worth the chaos that will ensue if you try and kick them out, and as we’ve
already mentioned, they’re very snuggly.
Still, many (not cat people) will tell you that it’s unhygienic to you let your cat sleep in your
bed with you. Roughly 50% of cat owners in the USA let their cats sleep with them, but are
they risking their health by doing so?
Well, no, if you bear a few things in mind.
One big tick in the yes column of allowing your cat to share a bed with you is the sense of
security it provides for both you and your furry friend, emotionally as well as physically. As
well as being cosy, sharing a bed with your pet can help to reduce stress, with their rhythmic
purring helping some people to drop off to sleep more quickly.
However, that is assuming your cat is a well-behaved one. Cats are nocturnal creatures, so
crawling into bed at 10:00pm is not in their nature. Cue being woken up at two in the
morning by a fussy kitty biting your toes or meowing for attention.
And if you’re a parent, there’s the concern that your well-meaning cat might want to bundle
themselves in with your young kids. In their eyes, your cat is taking on its own caregiver
In reality, if your cat is startled, it can accidentally bite or scratch your
baby, which as well as being painful can transmit harmful diseases. This is especially
concerning if your child has a compromised immune system or is suffering from certain
conditions that make catching an illness more likely.
But it’s not only your little ones that are at risk, sharing a bed with your cat can also pass
diseases on to you or your partner. However, the danger is low, and there are things you can
do to cut the risk factor even further.
One such example is fleas, as if left untreated the monsters will bite you too. If your or your other half has an allergy to cat fur or dander, which amongst causing health issues, can disrupt your sleep – nothing will make you jump out of skin like a sneezing partner in the dead of night.
You should also take into consideration whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor cat. Letting
an outdoor cat in your bed poses more of a health risk, as they can pick up a range of
nasties while out on an adventure. While exploring the neighbourhood, your outdoor puss
could be exposed to fleas, worms, ticks, mosquitos, and other disease-carrying bugs, as well
as potentially catch something from prey or the feral cats they encounter.
If you’re wondering what kind of illnesses exactly, examples include Gastrointestinal worms,
giardiasis, ringworm, toxoplasmosis, hantavirus infection, and even the plague. Owners
should be especially vigilant during the summer, and check their cat’s fur and skin for any
ticks or parasites along for the ride, and of course, check their immunisations are up to date.
If your cat appears to be having its own health issues, locking it out of the bedroom for one
night is by far the safest solution. If your pet is showing signs of ill-health such as hair loss,
skin rashes, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy, contact a vet immediately.
By being aware of the potential health risks involved, you can be sure that you and furbaby
will have plenty of cosy nights in the future (even if they do decide to sleep on your face).