Around here, the question in the title isn’t something that is even under consideration. In fact, my human used to hunt us cats down to make sure we were on the bed before she got in it! Now, it’s mostly just me. Since Boodie is arthritic, she’s allowed to sleep elsewhere… although my human still wants to know where she is at bedtime. And my human isn’t alone. Research indicates that 62% of cats sleep with their humans. An additional 13% sleep with the family kids instead.
There are lots of good reasons to have your cat as a sleeping companion. Purrs are naturally sleep inducing. So are warm, furry bodies. If you are sleeping without another human, it makes things cozier and less lonely. Most cats make wonderful bedtime companions. They may even save you. Gwen Cooper has a story in Homer’s Odyssey where her little blind cat, Homer, fiercely protected her from a home invader. While this is an unlikely scenario, it could happen to you!
Here are some suggestions on how to make sleeping with your cat the best it can be.
- We cats love routine. So make sure everything involving bedtime is part of a routine. It’ll be helpful for your sleep patterns too.
- Offer treats before bedtime. Just for the cats, not for you. Eating before bedtime isn’t good for humans. Treats before bedtime for a cat tell her that it’s time to wind down.
- If you have a younger cat, or a perpetually playful one, make sure you fit in a pre-bed playtime session. That way they can release any pent up energy from the day. Treats afterward will then be like the reward from this session of “prey hunting.”
- Never get up in the middle of the night just because your cat does. If your cat believes that midnight (or later) snacks are a possibility and you give in, you’ve lost that battle.
- Make getting up a routine. Stretch. Hug or pet your cat. That way she knows you’re getting up for real, and not just going to the bathroom. She may choose to get up too, or (like me) stay in bed for a few minutes longer.
- Don’t feed your cat first thing when you get up in the morning. Go through a few other routines that involve only you first. That way, your cat is less likely to ask you to get up earlier on weekends, since mealtime won’t be so closely associated with getting out of bed.
- Shutting the bedroom door is usually not a good idea if you’re one of those people who can’t or (what?!) won’t let your cat sleep with you. Cats loathe closed doors and may make a racket. Instead, figure out how to create a sleeping area for them that is even more awesome than your bed. Think catnip, maybe some treats, a soft surface that may or may not be a cat bed. Adding something that smells like you to a cat bed or sleeping surface in another room — a tee shirt or unwashed PJs — is helpful. Cats like sleeping with their humans because they enjoy feeling close to them, so a personal touch will be appreciated.
If you set up routines and don’t deviate from them, it’s likely that your cat will adopt your sleeping schedule, and will be less likely to start off on nocturnal adventures, or wake you up for food. Most of the cats my human has had have slept with her through the night. The ones who have tested her on this and attempted to get her up in the middle of the night (think Binga), have been soundly ignored. Not even griped at. Since there’s no payoff, the behavior stopped.
Does your cat sleep with you? Do you have any other suggestions I haven’t mentioned?
Catherine Lingg says
Funny story Summer. When I had Citlin and Morris they would drive us crazy at night. Morris would climb over us to get to the window behind the bed. Citlin would insist on being under the covers glommed up against me. Not great if you have a partner. We tried closing the bedroom door. Imagine two elephants banging on the door all night. Guess what, we lived with the former arrangement
LESLEY CASTLE says
I love having my kitties asleep with me on my bed! I wish they all liked to, but they don’t all get along. This is some great advice though!
Aimable Cats says
In my new apartment, I usually sleep with the door closed.
And the cat in the bedroom.
It’s the only door I can close her behind that has room for her food and litter box.
Barbara Mauldin says
Thanks for the ideas Summer. A couple of our kitties take over the bed when we get up in the morning. Our former garden kitty, Danny, comes around during the night. Our Abyssinian, Lexi, comes around at night just passing through. She and I really enjoy when I nap on the sofa in the afternoon and she curls up on top of me and purrs!!!
Angel Whiskeratti says
Furry peeps are always welcome to sleep with me. Even now, my roommate’s dog usually sleeps with me, and her cat generally pops up around 5 am.
All of us sleep with MK! Only Boudicca stays on the floor because she has trouble getting up on the bed. Morticia has ALWAYS slept with MK. She stays through the night with her. We visit and go back and forth throughout the night.
I have been staying longer lately.
Purrjamm cats says
Mom would never keep their bedroom door closed to us. She loves having Grandpaw Mr. Chivers come to bed for head bonks and chin scratches. It’s his way of saying goodnight and then going to sleep at her feet. Olivia comes ever so often to sleep on her side. Mom loves this. We will always be allowed in every room but her litterbox room. She says that her private space, MOL, dad not so much, MOL. Purrs
Katie Isabella says
Made me smile…
I usually wake up with 2 to 4 babies sleeping with me. I know all 4 sleep with h me, but I have 2 early risers who go play in the living room. In the event I have to wake up early, all 4 are sound asleep even my crazy kitten. He usually comes to bed with me and plops down us instantly asleep. I envy him.
Gracie and Ava both sleep with us. It took quite some time before Ava felt comfortable doing so, but she joins us almost every evening now. 🙂
Barbara Mauldin says
Ours kind of come and go. We have seven kitties so they usually like to hang out together at night. Cat Daddy was just complaining that our Abyssinian had been lethargic all day today. I had to remind him the she DID go to the vet this morning and had all sorts of nasty things done to her so of course she was lethargic!
Purrrrfect Summer. Have a good evening!!
Lola The Rescued Cat says
We remember that scene in Gwen’a book. Scary! I go to bed woth our mom every night. And I’m usually there when she wakes up. Lexy often joins us during the night
Marjorie at The Dash Kitten Crew says
We have 8 cats and some sleep on the bed, some are not inclined to, others love to cuddle. On a cold evening it might br six or seven!
Unfortunately any kitty at our den may not share our bed…petcretary is very allergic to kitties…yup…but the meezers do not seem to cause as much trouble for her health. Go figure!
So she doesn’t want to give herself health troubles, and us kitties and the dogs, too, sleep in warm nests that they have at various locals in the den. Sometimes Pipo or a pup may be a tthe top of the stairs when we get up.
Long time ago, Simba figured out how to open the door(!), and then he and the others would start kneading on top of us. Then they would use us for the highway in their zoomie games, MOL! Try sleeping through that!
I have all 3 of my fur-babies up here with me now. Kay-Kay thinks it’s a sin if I sleep past 6:30! Seti will let me sleep till 8:30, then he starts biting my fingers! Nevertheless, they HAVE to be on my bed when I go to sleep!
Just Ducky says
I sleep with mum, specially now that it is getting cold. Doors are open, so when the heaty monster starts I can move to the hammick and feel the warm air.
The Island Cats says
Sometimes I sleep on the bed usually under the covers. ~Ernie
William's Kith & Kin says
Nope, we don’t sleep with our mom. Somebody ruined that a whole long time ago. When she gets up, Izzy the chub is ALWAYS waiting outside her door, wanting food, of course, but at least he’s quiet.
Cathy Keisha says
Yes, I sleep with TW just about every night. Before bed, she gives me a bit of wet food and a tiny bit of kibble in case I want to during the night. After she turns in, she’ll get up and walk me to my kibble only once. Sometimes I’ll cry for more but she says no in a firm voice. She gets up about 2 or 3 times for bathroom breaks in the night but tells me where she’s going so I don’t get up. In the a.m. she always goes bathroom before she’ll feed me. Sometimes I’ll feel like playing before bed but often don’t. Last night her back hurt too much to play.
Angel Whiskeratti says
Toby usually slept with me. Leia did sometimes, less often during her last months. The cats belonging to my roommate do not, though they like the freedom to come and go from my room in the night.
Well all 6 sleep with me the lowly human. When I get up to potty its like Cirque du Soleil to get back in!
Julie McDonough says
My kitties all pile in the bed with me, or on me 🙂
Laila and ANGEL Minchie says
I will come in and visit my human a few times during the night but never stay long. Now, Angel Minchie always slept in bed right up next to the human’s back.
Melissa & Mudpie says
Mudpie is the first cat to sleep with me all night…except for during the summer heat. Truffles would spend about half the night with me, get up to look out the window, and then get busy doing other cat things LOL
Ellen Pilch says
I can’t sleep without at least one cat on the bed, preferably 4.I have lost the battle with snacks during the night though. Emmy meows her head off between 2 and 4 am. I have to get up and give her canned food and a round of treats for all.
Well the advice about don’t give in to late night or early morning feedings is too late for me with my girls. If I get out of bed in the night and I never sleep all night, then Lily expects food and if she doesn’t get it, there is enough of a tantrum that will keep me from going back to sleep so after 9 years together, I’m not fighting that battle. She gets just a small bite so we both go back to sleep. No one else gets up – just me! It was that way with the dogs and the cats are no different.
My introduction to sleeping with cats started when I was keeping a couple of cats for a friend for several months. I had always had dogs and they didn’t sleep on the bed. The two guest kitties hid from me for the first week so I didn’t see them much so I didn’t think about inviting them into the room. After they decided I was “ok”, I had the bedroom door shut – again – see I didn’t know about cats and in particular a Siamese cat! He stood at the bottom of the stairs and yelled about his displeasure and hid when I asked him what was the matter? Yes I know, I talk to the cats. The next night, he came up and stood outside the door and yelled again. That made me levitate out of the bed! Again – what’s going on? On the other hand, the tabby was quiet as could be. I guess he figured he’d let his cousin do the talking for both of them. The next day I was able to get in touch with his family and asked what I was doing wrong. They said -oh did we forget to tell you they sleep with us? Doh! Yes indeed. So that night, the door stayed open, the cats made themselves at home at the end of the bed and we all got some sleep. By the time they went home after 2 months, they were sleeping under the covers with me and we were all content. I missed them so much after they left that I now have two of my own and yes, we are all very comfy together.
Foley Monster, Pocket and River Song says
Parents who sleep with their pets always have a better night’s sleep
Cecilia Upchurch says
Our first cat Milky-Way always slept at the foot of our bed. Never a peep out of him. Usually by morning he had moved and was standing very near the kitchen. MOL
Madi only liked to sleep in between the legs of the person who was sleeping on their stomach. Eventually she grew tired of the constant resettling.
diego-san has always loved sleeping next to me. theo has taken to sleeping at the end of the bed ever since thompson died. thompson rarely slept with me at night but loved to take naps with me.
Those are great tips, Summer. Niko comes to bed with me every night. Purrs are sleep inducing indeed 🙂
Sandi Stefani says
Bed time is a challenge at our house. Zoee and I used to go to the cat room to sleep at night. Guido the Tuxedo and the dog slept with the hoomins. Reason for this I suffer from; I am hyper and Zoee hates everyone. When Guido was ill and nearing the end I decided I should sleep with hoomin to comfort mom. Zoee got the run of the house which she likes since she hates everyone! We have since added Django (Maine coon) referred to as the slug, he is great in bed. Razzle-Dazzle (a Somali)) is still in training. I am still hyper and often get sent to the cat room. The Jazz (the dog) always gets to sleep with hoomins.
Coco & The LunaTicks says
LOL mine NEVER wake me up for breakfast. The most anyone will do is, Angel will purr and headbump me. They LIKE it when I stay in bed and lie on me, purring, to make me stay longer. Izaak is the worst; he sleeps under the blankets on my legs
Eastside Cats says
Chuck and Angel rarely slept with us; only when Chuck was feeling unwell. Da Boyz would nap for a short time, then go off elsewhere.
The Swiss Cats says
We don’t sleep in the bedroom (Claire cannot sleep well with us in or on the bed) but we’re used to our humans’ routine. We don’t mind the closed door because we’re used to it, and we know that our humans are in better mood if they have a good night of sleep. As we love to bring our preys (dead or alive) to our humans, we thing it’s another reason why they keep the bedroom door closed at night. Purrs
My kitties always slept with me. It was s comfort for me and for them. Precious memories.
Have a fabulous day and week. ♥
Catscue Catmom says
Good advice about waiting in the morning until feeding, I will definitely try that! Any cat who wants to snuggle is welcome to at our house at any time.
Brian Frum says
Most of us end up in the big bed sometime during the night but we don’t always stay put.
Thank you for sharing this! These are all very helpful ideas that make sleeping with your pet easier. I might add, teach them to sleep at the foot of the bed. Otherwise, it’s hard to get a good night’s rest if they sleep on your pillow.
When getting older diminished Miss Frankie’s jumping abilities I bought her pet steps so she could get into the bed (we had a rather high bed at the time). She figured then out right away, it took BB, the orange boy a little while to figure out steps but he got it finally. I can’t imagine not sleeping with at least one cat (even tho BB tends anchor my ankles down with his considerable weight). The funny thing is – my husband gets up at the unearthly hour of 4am and the cats are used to getting up then and having breakfast. Frankie will get all up in his face if he doesn’t get up but they will NEVER wake me up to feed them. They know…
Katie Isabella says
You KNOW about me and my mom, Summer. But one thing for sure, my only talking in the night is when I announce Donkey and Floppy Mousie making their way in. Mom says bathing on me, or bathing her is extremely annoying. I protest. But I do know when bedtime is and I pace till we get in there if she is reading or doing something else. .
Catherine A Lingg says
I have two different catsonalities at night. Princess is a side kitty. She prefers being next to me preferably on my hand/arm. Rosie is my pillow “scarf” She gets up on the pillow and starts kneading in preparation. Then when I ie down she wraps around my neck. It can be challenging when she may start bathing lol
Thanks for the advice Summer! This is a must read for my husband who tends to give in to one of our two cats’ ask for attention at 4.30am…..
Emmit and Mimi says
Mine have figured out the bedtime routine pretty readily. My first cat, Binky, was a night owl and got me up a lot when he was young. Emmit, Mimi, and I are all tucked in for the night at this moment! PuurrrZzzzz♥️ XOXO