The Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC) esti­mates that half of US pet own­ers allow pets to sleep in their bed with them. As for the own­ers of cats, then most like­ly this fig­ure reach­es almost 100%. A rare own­er will be able to con­vince a fur­ry crea­ture to leave his bed and be con­tent with a rug at the doorstep. Med­AboutMe found out if it is worth let­ting a cat sleep with a per­son and when it should def­i­nite­ly not be?

When should a cat sleep alone?

When should a cat sleep alone?

Hygiene issues (dirty paws or wool, etc.) in rela­tion to cats usu­al­ly do not arise. These are clean ani­mals, and if filler com­po­nents are found in your bed, then you should choose anoth­er one, and not scold the cat. But the issues of aller­gies and sleep qual­i­ty asso­ci­at­ed with a cat in bed should be ana­lyzed in more detail.

A cat should not be on a per­son­’s bed if he is aller­gic to cat hair, or rather, to cat dan­der pro­teins that remain on the hair. Cat aller­gens are quite sticky and can remain on sofas and beds for months, even after the ani­mal has left the house. There­fore, if there is an aller­gic per­son in the house, it is gen­er­al­ly bet­ter not to allow a cat into his bed­room.

There is a pop­u­lar myth that hair­less cats — sphin­x­es — are hypoal­ler­genic. But it’s not. As men­tioned above, the cause of aller­gies is not the wool itself, but the pro­teins that are pro­duced by skin cells. So hypoal­ler­genic cats are a fairy tale.

  • Sleep dis­or­ders

Cats are noc­tur­nal ani­mals. The peak of activ­i­ty of many of them falls on the sleep time of their own­ers. And not all cats know how not to dis­turb the last one to sleep — in a fit of play­ful mood, a cat can start bit­ing, scratch­ing “his” per­son, and “hide and seek” under the cov­ers. Con­stant tram­pling, chang­ing posi­tions, walk­ing on the bed and on the body of a sleep­ing per­son — all this can ruin a dream in order. Many cats like to wake up their own­ers at 4 am. And if the ani­mal has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to sleep off dur­ing the day, then its own­ers may not suc­ceed. There­fore, if a per­son already suf­fers from prob­lems with falling asleep, if he has fre­quent insom­nia and poor sleep, it is bet­ter not to let the cat on the bed.

In 2015, doc­tors at the Mayo Clin­ic’s Cen­ter for Sleep Med­i­cine pub­lished a study show­ing that one in five pet own­ers com­plained that their pet was dis­turb­ing their sleep. True, 41% of sur­vey par­tic­i­pants claimed the oppo­site, say­ing that they sleep best with their pet at their side.

Cats that have access to the out­doors are very often a source of fleas. Recall that fleas do not live on peo­ple — we are too cold for them and we do not have thick hair. But cat fleas can bite peo­ple. Flea sali­va can also be an aller­gen — in this case, itch­ing can be felt at the bite site for quite a long time, and with numer­ous bites, aller­gic flea der­mati­tis can even devel­op.

In light of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic, it should be recalled that cats can car­ry the SARS-CoV­‑2 coro­n­avirus on their fur, as well as become infect­ed with this very human coro­n­avirus and spread it — both among cats and, it seems, also among peo­ple. Thus, Chi­nese sci­en­tists report­ed that 15% of hun­dreds of acci­den­tal­ly caught cats had anti­bod­ies to SARS-CoV­‑2, and the high­est anti­body titers were found just in domes­tic cats whose own­ers were infect­ed with the coro­n­avirus.

Cat in a crib

Cats can be won­der­ful guardians of small chil­dren, but in no case should they be allowed to sleep togeth­er. Cas­es when a baby dies, suf­fo­cat­ing under a cat sleep­ing on it, alas, are not uncom­mon — you can ver­i­fy this by open­ing the Inter­net. Cats can also be attract­ed to the stroller-cra­dle in which the child sleeps — they also need to be expelled from there.

In addi­tion, a rest­less sleep­ing child can fright­en a doz­ing cat — and there is no guar­an­tee that the ani­mal will not scratch him awake, which can lead to the devel­op­ment of cat scratch dis­ease — bar­tonel­losis. This infec­tious dis­ease is caused by intra­cel­lu­lar bac­te­ria Bar­tonel­la (Bar­tonel­la) and man­i­fests itself in the form of dam­age to the lymph nodes with sub­se­quent com­pli­ca­tions.

Final­ly, cats walk­ing on their own on the street pose a dan­ger to a new­born child, as a source of helminths. There­fore, a cat in a baby’s crib can cause a par­a­sitic infec­tion. The same goes for ring­worm. Babies, with their nascent immune sys­tems, are too vul­ner­a­ble to a vari­ety of feline infec­tions, so there should be no ani­mals in the crib.

An impor­tant point: a sick cat does not belong in a bed, even if before that she always slept with her own­ers. Skin rash­es, sneez­ing, cough­ing, vom­it­ing, diar­rhea — all these symp­toms are a rea­son to go to the vet and tem­porar­i­ly evict the cat from the bed. Hands after con­tact with the pet must be washed. Some feline dis­eases can also spread to humans.

Why is a cat in bed good for health?

Why is a cat in bed good for health?

But if the own­ers do not have aller­gies, and the cat does not par­tic­u­lar­ly like night walks and does not “squeeze out” a sleep­ing place, then co-sleep­ing can bring a lot of ben­e­fits.

The rhyth­mic breath­ing of a cat, the warmth of her body and, of course, the purr soothe, relieve stress and set you up for sleep. It is not uncom­mon for peo­ple to report that a cat on a pil­low pro­tects them from night­mares and reduces anx­i­ety.

By the way, accord­ing to Aus­tralian sci­en­tists, cat own­ers have a stronger men­tal­i­ty and are gen­er­al­ly more psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly healthy, hap­py and calm than those who do not have cats. Cat own­ers are even less like­ly to die from heart attacks, even after con­trol­ling for oth­er fac­tors such as blood pres­sure, cho­les­terol, smok­ing, and body mass index.

Feli­nol­o­gists (cat experts) give some tips on how to train an ani­mal to sleep in a dif­fer­ent place:

  • Use cat­nip or oth­er treats to attract your cat to a cozy bed, hutch, or chair.
  • Wait until the cat enters a new place and sits there, then give a treat and caress.
  • Peri­od­i­cal­ly leave a treat in a new place so that the cat wants to vis­it there.

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