Sharing your bed with your pet can be interesting to say the least. There are all kinds of studies that give you a gazillion reasons why you shouldn’t. I’m sure you have read them all. In spite of all of the hoopla, most pet parents at some point and time give in to letting their cat or dog sleep in their bed even if they aren’t the best of bedfellows.
When Smoki was a kitten, she took on an entirely different persona once the lights went out at bedtime. What came to mind were visions of a kitty sliding across the hardwood floor equivalent to the Tom Cruise slide in “Risky Business” signaling pawty time as she plotted her next move. She became the ultimate predator and we were her prey; specifically, our face. Many nights we went to sleep with the sheets covering our face waiting for her clandestine attack. Thankfully, as she matured, our bedtime routine became less eventful.
The cat’s bedtime routine –
There’s nothing more calming than a cat’s purr. Smoki will enter the bedroom ever so quietly and jump onto the bed with a quick little chirp followed by a few seconds of staring you in the face. It’s a little unnerving as you think back to her kitten days of attacking you in the face. The fear never goes away. She will spend the next fifteen minutes are so washing up followed by scoping out her usual precise resting place. She never takes the most direct route. It’s a cat’s way to keep us on our toes. She jumps up on the left, walks over my chest to the right side and finally settles down under my forearm as she purrs us both to sleep. The entire nightly routine is very calming with only an occasional soft paw kick to my face as she flips over on her back. No harm done because a cat’s pads are as soft as a baby’s behind.
When a cat purrs within a range of 20-140 Hertz. These vibrations can be very therapeutic for humans. Purring has been linked to lowering stress and lessening the chances of having a heart attack, and even strengthening bones. Despite the negative, we choose to allow Smoki to sleep in the big bed as long as she desires to do so.
A dog’s bedtime route –
If you have a very active large breed dog, you know nothing is peaceful about their arrival into the bedroom. We don’t allow Baylie to sleep in the big bed, but on stormy nights, we relent.
Our signal bad things are about to happen is when we hear the clickedy click of Baylie’s nails on the hardwood floors. Unlike Smoki’s quiet entrance, Baylie comes into the room like a bull in a china shop. When you signal her to come on up, her first attempt to jump up on the end of the bed is rarely successful. She’s takes after me in the clumsy department, so she goes for her second attempt by getting a running start to achieve maximum height. When she finally has lift-off and lands, everyone holds on tight. To give you a visual, it’s equivalent to you lying on the surface of a trampoline while someone else jumps. She begins her routine by giving you a series of big sloppy kisses with that big ole tongue. So, you get up to wash your face for the second time. Next, she begins a series of kicks, twists and turns as she scopes out her spot. You pay close attention at this point because that final resting spot just may be your head.
Unlike cat’s soft pads, a dog’s pads are like sandpaper. I’ve actually suffered scrapes to the face after being on the receiving end of her size sevens. Thirty minutes later, she is sound asleep with her head on the pillow next to me. All’s well until the snoring begins. She’s actually a good cuddler as long as you don’t move and allow her to have her space.
It is said that 14 to 62 percent of the 165 million dogs and cats in this country sleep in bed with humans, with other surveys skewing higher. We choose to believe the rewards outweigh the risks. The rewards are well documented. Touching, human or otherwise, raises levels of oxytocin in the body, creating feelings of contentment. And, of course, the comfort that an unconditionally loving animal provides in bed is an emotional balm, especially for the depressed, lonely or anxious.