Is It OK to Sleep With Cats?

Does your cat get to sleep in the bed with you? I’ve experienced all sides of this issue. When I was single, I had cats. They got to share the bed and it was no big deal. They loved it, and it made me happy to see them happy.

But things changed a little when two humans started sleeping in the bed. We let the cats join us at first, but with a full-size bed — and cats who either didn’t move at all or moved in ways to wake us up — we discovered that the quality of our sleep had gone down the drain. I love my sleep, and I was forced to reconsider the issues of cats getting to sleep on the bed.

Recently I met a nice woman who does a lot of work in foster and cat rescue, and she seemed surprised that I shut the cats out of the bedroom. But I’ve learned that I really don’t function that well without good sleep. And how can I take care of my cats if I’m not functioning at my best? See — it always comes back to the cats.

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Here are five things to consider if you’re thinking about letting the cats on the bed:

1. Are you getting any sleep?

Is having the cat or cats on the bed worth sacrificing a full night of sleep? Only you can answer that! Some fortunate people need little or no sleep. I envy these people. Oh, the stuff I could get done if I didn’t need eight hours of sleep time.

2. Are you getting enough sleep?

Is your lovely deep REM sleep interrupted suddenly when your bed-sleeping cat decides to jump on your face? Does the tender pat pat or scratch scratch of a gentle paw wake you up earlier than usual? But more important, does this bother you? If not, great! If I could go without sleep, I would surely and generously share the bed with my cats.

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3. Are the cats happy?

If sleep doesn’t matter, or if you sleep so deeply that no cat could wake you up, consider whether bedtime privileges make your cat deliriously happy and add to his quality of life. Maybe that sounds over the top, but honestly, I’ve had cats that light up for hours after getting coveted time on the bed with us. Note that in our household, bedtime with people in the bed seems to be much more special than time napping on a bed devoid of humans.

4. Does one cat need special attention?

I have used the bed, on occasion, to give a cat needed attention in certain situations. For example, if one cat is really tired out with the arrival of a new kitten, I might give that adult cat a break from the kitten by allowing the adult some night time bed time, even if I know that adult (a certain black cat comes to mind) is going to get very lovey at about four in the morning with the intention to wake me up. When my buff cat Chester was grieving the loss of his buddy, I gave Chester lots of bed time. He needed the extra attention. I’m not completely rigid about keeping cats out of the bed when we are sleeping!

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5. Do the cats turn into concrete bricks on the bed?

How does one small cat turn into a concrete brick? It’s one of the magic tricks that cats pull. If you cannot sleep because you run into a feline brick every time you toss and turn, well, the cat might have to get off the bed. Some cats have also perfected the art of being fluid concrete bricks, as they drape themselves over your sleeping body and refuse to move.

6. Do the cats make a fuss at the closed bedroom door, making more noise than they would on the bed?

If you have clever cats who have figured out how to make noise on the other side of the bedroom door, letting the cats on the bed might be the lesser of two evils. You decide!

So, do you let your cat sleep with you? Does it make the quality of your sleep better or worse, or does it matter? Does your cat love bedtime privileges? Share your stories in comments!

Photo: Grey cat lying on bed by Shutterstock

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This post was written by Catherine Holm, regular contributor to Catster Magazine.


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Sylvia B.
Sylvia B3 years ago

My cats are all rescues with abandonment issues, so having them sleep outside the bedroom is not a consideration. They have scratching post towers, but prefer to sleep with humans. I toss and turn at night, so I am sure my cats get disturbed more than I do.

Magdalena J.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Xenia M.
Xenia M3 years ago

This is silly. You cant force a cat to sleep on a bed. Everything else is about the human and their quality of sleep, and really, no cat is more disturbing than sleeping with another human being, specially if they snore. Unless you normally sleep alone, the only valid consideration is not rolling onto a kitten

Barbara D.
Past Member 3 years ago

It's not really a matter of OUR choice anyway, is it???

M C.
Michelle C3 years ago

I love sleeping with cats. I have always said, Cats are the best sleeping aid, ever! You lay down and have a cat curl up with you and you'll be blowing zzzzzzzzzz before you know it! All my cats have slept with me.

susan thornton
susan Thornton3 years ago

I find it more natural to have my cats sleep on my bed than have a human there,

Melinda L.
Melinda L3 years ago

Miss Smoke sleeps with me, under the covers even, every night and has since she came home from the shelter.
My eldest cat Louise, also a shelter gal, has never had any interest in sleeping in or on my bed; she has a whole bed to herself in an unused bedroom next door and seems to relish being the queen of her own private domaine.
The baby boys Andre and Stevie, both partially blind since birth & shelter babies too, WANT to sleep on the bed but they are of the "fluid brick" variety plus Miss Smoke doesn't really like having them on "her" bed. This has led to some difficulties that we are still in "negotiations" about...

Cherise U.
Cherise U.3 years ago

Of course it is!!!

Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl3 years ago

Well, Gizzy and Thori always share MY pillow at night, hahaha, so I "fold myself" to them into the rest of the bed, but if they once prefer to sleep somewhere else I find no sleep at all! And I think we all need that, the cuddling till we fall asleep... Only Sisi doesn´t join us yet, but she first came to us on the 4th of July, so that´ll soon happen, I´m sure, haha!
I think as long as your cats are only indoors and don´t bring a lot of dirt with them into the appartment/house it´s absolutely okay if they sleep in your bed, otherwise you should give them an own blanket or so, so that yours will stay clean!