Should You Share Your Bed With Your Cat?

man cuddling cat

About 62 percent of American cat owners share their beds with their feline friends, according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association. Snuggling with your cat can be comforting. After all, studies show that owning a cat lowers blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke. However, sharing the covers with your kitty isn't ideal for everyone.

If you have asthma or allergies, it's best not to let your cat onto your bed — or even into your bedroom. Also, if your cat is interrupting your sleep by making noise, jumping on and off the bed or simply hogging the covers, it's best to keep the bed to yourself.

A recent Mayo Clinic study found that more than half of the patients seeking consultations at its sleep clinic are pet owners whose sleep is disturbed by their animals.

Forty-one percent of the sleep-deprived pet owners said the disturbances come from letting their pets share the bed, while 58 percent said letting them sleep in the same room caused problems due to snoring and other interruptions.

Not getting enough sleep can slow your reaction time and cause difficulty with decision-making. It's also been found to contribute to automobile accidents.

If you think it's time to kick your kitty out of the bedroom, doing so won't be the easiest task — cats don't like giving up territory — but it is doable. One of the best ways to help your cat adjust to spending the night without access to your bed is to give the cat something else to do at night.

Cats are nocturnal, so try keeping them occupied with puzzle feeders, or set up a cat tree or window perch near an outdoor light so they can pass the nighttime hours watching insects.

If you suspect your cat is waking you because she's hungry, consider purchasing an automatic feeder.

The most important thing to keep in mind when changing your cat's routine is to stick with it. It may take some time for your feline friend to adjust to the new situation — and quit scratching and meowing outside your bedroom door — but when your kitty realizes that such behavior won't be rewarded, she'll get used to spending her nights elsewhere.