How to Get Your Cat to Sleep With You

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Cats are not shy about playing favorites, and they tend to sleep with their favorite person. Since they're always interested in a meal or snack, their favorite person is usually the one who feeds them, cares for them, and makes time to play with them. If your cat isn't cuddling up next to you at bedtime, there are changes you can make to get your cat to sleep with you.

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Cats tend to sleep with their favorite person.
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A cat's favorite person

If you are not your cat's favorite, step up your interaction with him. Make time to sit with him on your lap and pet him — not just for a few minutes but for prolonged periods of time every day. Talk to him and play with him if he likes to play. Buy or make new toys, like a large button attached to a string, a simple ball of yarn, or rolled-up paper, and roll or drag it past him or back and forth to get him to pounce on it and play. Give him healthy treats now and then; just be sure to account for the treats' calories in his diet.

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Cats like warmth when they sleep, so make a cozy spot on your bed into which she can burrow, like a pile of blankets or what looks like clean clothes. Avoid leading her to it; let her think she found it herself. If that works for a few nights but she then sleeps elsewhere, move the cozy pile and change out the blankets or pillows.

Give them an escape route

Cats like to sleep where they feel safe.
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Cats like to sleep where they feel safe, which is one reason they choose their favorite person: They trust and feel safe with that person. If he does decide to cuddle up on your bed with you, keep yourself from snuggling him too tightly or wrapping your arm around him, which he may find stifling. Let him know he is free to go any time by leaving the door open enough for him to slink out.

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Don't expect company every night

Just when you think you've become the favorite and your cat has slept with you not once but several times, you will find her spot cold the next night. Don't be alarmed. Even if your cat accepts your invitation and sleeps with you several nights in a row, be prepared to be without her some nights too. Cats like to change up their sleeping spots to remind you who calls the shots. They are also daytime nappers who get up and wander in the night, so it's rare that she will sleep with you the whole night through.

Know the pros and cons

If you are allergic to cats, sleeping with them is not a good idea. While allergists would prefer you not have a cat at all, if you do have one, they recommend closing your bedroom door so the cat doesn't come in. For nonallergic cat owners who like the idea of sleeping together, many end up finding it less than ideal. Some say cuddling up to their favorite purring machine helps them fall asleep quicker than when they sleep alone. Staying asleep, however, is another matter.

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Most cats do the majority of their sleeping during daytime naps, so by nighttime, they have a burst of energy. They may think it's playtime and want you to join in. If their gentle pats on your face don't rouse you from your slumber, their constant coming and going along with jumping on and off the bed can cause you to have disrupted, restless sleep.

Sleeping with a cat can disrupt your sleep.
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Understand too that while sleeping with your cat, you're also sleeping with any fleas or intestinal parasites he may be carrying. While fleas don't infest humans, they can bite you and leave welts. Some viruses can be transferred from cats to humans and vice versa. On the other hand, petting and cuddling your cat after a stressful day releases hormones that reduce anxiety and lower your heart rate, so sleeping with your cat can be good for your health.

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