Dogs have a rep as man’s best friend, but you know the truth—your feline is the purr-fect (ahem, non-slobbering) companion. In fact, you love your cat so much that you want to spend every waking—and sleeping—moment with her. But should you let your cat sleep in your bed with you? As it turns out, letting Simba snuggle on your duvet comes with some very cool benefits. Here, six things to consider.
(One quick note: Like with all animals, cats have the potential to transmit certain diseases to their owners so make sure you stay on top of your cat’s vaccinations and that you visit your vet regularly.)
1. It Promotes Bonding
Your friends jokingly refer to you as “the cat lady,” but they may actually be on to something. According to research published in the journal Behavioural Processes, women actually do have a special bond with their cats. For the study, scientists observed the interactions between 41 cats and their human families. What they found was that felines were more likely to approach women than men and that these relationships were “more intense.” Meaning that your cat loves spending as much time with you as possible—don’t deprive her.
2. It Can Help Relieve Stress
Fact: Petting animals boosts the production of oxytocin, aka the “love” or “cuddle” hormone. But you already knew that one, right? (Here’s another cool tidbit—owning a cat could reduce your risk of a heart attack by nearly one third.) Letting your kitty into your bed at the end of a hectic day is a great way to help you relax and unwind.
3. And It Can Make You Feel Calmer
Pets are great for helping fight anxiety and depression (just think about how helpful service animals and pet therapy can be). Snuggling up with your cat can help quiet the mind and improve your mood—especially when the Sunday scaries hit.
4. It Might Help You Fall Asleep
That soothing purr is basically a lullaby, and that warm, furry little body lying on top of yours might as well be a weighted blanket. Yep, inviting Whiskers into bed with you is the coziest way to fall asleep. And researchers agree. Scientists surveyed 150 patients at the Center for Sleep Medicine, Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Out of those who said that they allowed their pets to sleep in the bedroom, 41 percent described them as unobtrusive or beneficial to sleep. (Just remember that cats are nocturnal, so don’t be surprised if they decide that 3 a.m. is playtime.)
5. And Make You Feel Safe
Remember that story of the cat who woke up its owners when there was a gas leak? Guard dogs get all the attention, but cats are pretty awesome, too. And the same Mayo Clinic study found that those who allowed pets to sleep in bed with them did so because it helped them sleep by providing security, companionship or relaxation. Catsanova may not scare away any intruders, but he’s got your back.
6. Because It’s Too Hard Not To
Cats are stubborn. They’re also creatures of habit, meaning that if you let your feline sleep with you for a couple of nights, then chances are she’s going to keep doing so. Our advice? Don’t fight it; just enjoy.