Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 28, 2023 by Crystal Uys
I couldn’t imagine not sleeping withy my cats. Every cat I’ve ever had has slept on the bed with me. In fact, the few nights one of them didn’t, it was usually because something was wrong.
Feebee used to sleep in the crook of my arm, with his head on my shoulder. When I was still married, he used to sleep in between me and my former husband. In hindsight, perhaps that was not a sleeping arrangment conducive to marital bliss? Well, let’s just say picking the cat over the ex-husband was a good decision on all levels.
Amber slept curled up in my arms most nights. When Buckley joined us, she started out sleeping at the foot of the bed, but inevitably, at some point during the night, she would make her way up to where Amber and I were sleeping and wedge herself in the small space left between the headboard of the bed and the arm that was curled around Amber. This occasionally made for a rather uncomfortable sleeping position for me, but the joy of having the two cats softly snoring next to me was worth the discomfort, and I often waited until my arm fell asleep before I changed position.
When I adopted Allegra, Amber made it very clear that sleeping in my arms was her prerogative. Still, Allegra joined us on the bed even on her first night with us, and Amber was okay with it. At some point during the night, Allegra crawled under the covers and wedged herself against the back of my legs. She stayed there for the rest of that night, and for many nights to come, she would end up there at some point during the night. This was also during the period when she was still a very bitey girl, and when something startled her in the middle of the night, she would bite parts of my anatomy that shall remain unamed. But that’s a story for another day.
After Amber died, Allegra chose different spots on the bed, always touching me somewhere along my body. Some days, it would be my head, other days, my feet. Most days, it was somewhere in between. Oddly enough, she always chose the center of the bed. Not so oddly, I always let her, even if that sometimes meant that my arms or legs were hanging off the side of the bed, or I was sleeping diagonally across the bed. It’s amazing how much space a sleeping eight-pound cat can take up.
Ruby didn’t sleep in our bed for the first week or two after she joined us. Her foster parents had told me that this happened at their house, too, but after a while, she joined them. It was reassuring to me to hear this, because I felt bad for this little kitten sleeping all by herself in my living room. When she finally joined us, she usually ended up on the opposite side of where Allegra was sleeping. In the center of the bed. Now I had to figure out how to twist myself around two sleeping cats without disturbing them.
I will never understand how two cats whose combined weight is barely fifteen pounds can take up so much space in a queen-size bed. And yet, I make every effort not to disturb them when I have to change position or get up in the middle of the night. On nights when that happens more than once, I can almost hear the groan and the collective eye-rolling from both of them at being disturbed by the human yet again.
They rarely even wake up anymore when I get up. Occasionally, they will shift positions – but never to where it makes it easier for me to get back into bed. Some nights, I feel like a contortionist, trying to get comfortable again without waking the girls. Middle of the night gymnastics are not conducive to getting a good night’s sleep. Sometimes it takes me a while to fall back into slumber. During those times, I try to count the hours of sleep I lost over almost three decades of sharing my life with cats. It’s almost as effective as counting sheep.
Some people suggest that you should lock your cats out of the bedroom so you can get a good night’s sleep. Yes, well – that’s not going to happen at my house. I’ll wear my dark circles proudly, thank you very much. What’s a little lost sleep, compared to spending the night with a cat or two snuggled up in bed with you?
How about you? Do you sleep with your cats?
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.