LIFESTYLE

How To Get Your Cat To Sleep With You: 9 Easy Steps

woman sleeping with a cat
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Some cats are just so adorably cuddly, you’d want to just hold and hug them all the time, even while you’re sleeping. But they can also be very choosy about where they want to spend the night. If your pet is being aloof and doesn’t want to share your bed, wouldn’t it be nice if you knew how to get your cat to sleep with you?

Sharing your bed with your feline pet can be very rewarding. Nothing beats that sense of warmth and companionship that you get when your pet flops down on the bed beside you. And when you wake up in the morning to your pet’s snuggling, it’s just a great way to greet the new day.

In this article, we’ll first share with you some of the reasons why some cats just won’t sleep with their cat parents. Then we’ll also talk about why other cats simply just love sharing their parents’ beds. Of course, we’ll give you some tips on what you can do to make your feline pet sleep on the same bed with you.

Why Your Cat May Not Want To Sleep On The Same Bed With You

orange car sleeping in his own bed

By nature, cats are simply mysterious and unexplainable. Your pet may be all warm and cuddly with you the whole day but just won’t take a step towards your bedroom at night. Or, your pet may have slept on your bed in the past but won’t do so anymore. Sometimes it’s simply difficult to explain why cats do what they do. Here are some general reasons why a cat may not want to share your bed with you.

  • Unnecessary Movements. Some cat parents squirm or move a lot while sleeping. On the other hand, cats find the most comfortable position and are likely to stay like that the whole time they’re sleeping. Your cat may find it uncomfortable when you move and readjust your position while you’re sleeping.

  • Blankets. Some cats have their favorite blankets, others hate sleeping under one. This could be one of the reasons why your pet won’t sleep in the same bed with you. Or, your cat may not like being awakened when you move to pull up the cover. It may also feel as if you’re jostling it around when you reposition the blanket.

  • Lumpy Mattress. Cats are forever creatures of comfort, and they’re quite sensitive. Even if you don’t feel like your mattress is already lumpy, your pet may feel that it’s not comfortable enough.

  • New Mattress. If your pet used to sleep on your bed but not anymore, maybe it’s because you changed your mattress? Having a new mattress is supposed to be a good thing, at least for you. But your pet may not like it or your cat may simply have gotten used to the old mattress and for whatever reason, doesn’t like the new one.

  • Scent Of The Sheets. Cats have very sensitive noses and their sense of smell is much keener than ours. One reason they may not want to go near your bed is if they don’t like the smell of the sheets. If you’re washing your sheets using a citrus-scented detergent, dryer sheet, or fabric conditioner, that may be the reason why your pet is staying away from your bed. Most cats don’t like the smell of citrus fruits, maybe because the smell is too strong for their sensitive noses. The same goes for the smell of herbs like mint, rosemary, cinnamon, or lavender.

  • Low Bed. Cats, by instinct, are hunters. And just like any good hunter, cats seem to want to be able to see what’s coming at them. Probably because of their hunting instincts, many cats seem to prefer high perches. If you’ve got a bed that’s set low, that could be one reason why your pet doesn’t like to sleep on it.

  • Crowded Space. Cats are by nature territorial, which is one of the reasons why some cats don’t like sharing their sleeping space with anyone else, be it with a human or another pet. If you’ve got another pet that may have chased your cat away from the bed, that could explain why your cat no longer wants to sleep on your bed. Either it no longer considers the bed as part of its territory or it just doesn’t want to get chased away again.

  • Old Age. Older cats are no longer as nimble as they were when they were young. Thus, climbing up a bed may no longer be as easy for them as it used to be. If your cat used to share your bed but now prefers to sleep on the floor, it could be because your pet is already finding it hard to climb up and down the bed. This is especially true for aging cats that are suffering from joint aches.

  • Sign Of Sickness. If your cat used to sleep on the same bed with you but is now staying close to the litter box when it sleeps, it could be a telltale sign of sickness. To humans, cat litter isn’t fragrant at all, but for cats, the smell of their litter is a source of comfort. If your pet is sleeping in its litter box, it’s usually a sign that your pet is suffering from something. It could be a psychological or emotional thing, wherein your pet is finding comfort in its litter box. It could be stress or your cat may be afraid of something. It could also be a sign of a urinary or bowel problem. In any case, cats sleeping in their litter box means you should at least be asking your vet about it.

Why Would Your Cat Want To Sleep With You?

white kitten sleeping with woman

Cats usually choose their sleeping place based on comfort, calmness or quiet, safety, and warmth. These four factors help explain both why cats won’t sleep in a certain spot and why they love snuggling with their owners at night.

  • Comfort. For whatever reason that only makes sense to your pet, your cat may find your bed more comfortable than its own sleeping place. Because cats are creatures of comfort, they will naturally gravitate towards the spot where they feel most comfortable. And if that’s your bed, then lucky you!

  • Quiet Place. If your cat’s bed is in a spot where there’s a lot of noise and traffic, your pet may not feel comfortable with it. Some cats are extra sensitive, so when they sense people, even you, passing by, it disturbs their sleep. If your cat is like this, it may start looking for a different spot to snooze. And if your bed’s tucked against the wall, your cat may just see it as the perfect corner for sleeping.

  • Warmth. Although cats are able to self-regulate their body temperatures to some extent, when they feel cold, they will naturally look for a warmer spot. And if you’ve got a cat that loves to snuggle, that warm spot usually means somewhere near you. Or on top of your chest or tummy.

  • Safety. Sharing the same space, in this case, the same bed, is a sign of affection and closeness for cats. Certainly, a cat will never share the same bed with you if it doesn’t feel close to you at all. However, if your cat feels threatened, stressed, or is anxious about something, it may seek safety in your arms, or at least beside you. One of the reasons why cats sleep with their cat parents is because they feel safe when they’re near mom or dad.

  • Affection. Yes, cats do show affection. At least, some of them do. And some of them show it by snuggling with you and sharing your bed when you sleep. For busy cat parents who are away from home during the day, nighttime is the only time when your cat can see you and play with you. Or get some treats from you.

Train Your Cat To Sleep With You

If you’ve welcomed a new pet into your home and are dying to snuggle with it to bed, getting your cat to share your sleeping place may be a challenge at first. Here are nine simple and easy to follow steps to help you train your feline pet to sleep with you on the same bed.

#1: Make Your Cat Tired

making a cat tired

Cats are usually napping during the day but when nighttime comes, they can become extremely active. That’s because they’re nocturnal creatures. Humans, however, are not. So, what you can do to coax your pet to get your pet to sleep on the same bed and at the same time with you, is to make sure your pet feels tired enough to sleep. This is also one great reason for you to spend time playing with your pet.

#2: Give Your Pet A Healthy Snack Before Bed

Cats usually take a nap after eating. So now that you’re pet is feeling exhausted after playing with you, you would want your pet to start feeling sleepy so that you can take it to bed with you. One of the best ways to do that is to give your cat a healthy snack. This is also a good strategy for helping your cat sleep through the night. When your cat gets hungry at night, it will wake up to look for food. But when you feed it a small meal before bedtime, you help make sure your pet won’t sleep hungry.

#3: Entice Your Cat To Follow You Into The Bedroom

Carrying sleeping cat

When you notice that your cat is already getting ready to fall asleep, coax your cat to go to the bedroom and stay there with you. Or simply carry your pet to the bed. For cats that are not yet used to sleeping with their humans, the problem usually is getting them to stay on the bed. What you can do is to place one or two of your pet’s favorite toys on the bed. If your cat is one of those who simply won’t set a paw inside the bedroom, you might need to resort to treats to entice your pet to follow you inside.

#4: Make The Bed Comfortable For Your Cat

 Even if your cat is dead tired or super sleepy, if your pet doesn’t feel comfortable on your bed, it will just get up and leave the bed in the middle of the night. To help your cat feel more at ease on your bed, placing its favorite blanket or a similar object on top of the bed will help your cat to feel more relaxed and comfortable on your bed.

#5: Set Up A Bedside Perch

 Another way to make your pet feel more comfortable inside your room is to set up a perch near your bed. This way, even if your cat leaves your bed, it won’t stay far away from you.

#6: Set The Room Temperature

setting room temperature

Make sure the room temperature is warm enough for your pet and you. One of the things that cats look for when deciding where to sleep is if the spot is warm enough for their comfort. If the room is too cold for your pet, it might get up in the middle of the night to look for a different sleeping place.

#7: Make It Convenient For Your Cat To Stay In Your Room

litter box for a cat

Your cat may need to urinate or defecate while you’re asleep. To make it convenient for your pet, you should move the litter box inside your room before the two of you sleep. This way, even if your pet has to get up in the middle of the night, it won’t have to go outside your room.

#8: Don’t Force Your Cat To Stay On The Bed

If it’s the first time you’re letting your pet inside the bedroom, or if your pet still won’t stay on your bed, make sure you don’t force the issue by carrying your pet back to the bed again and again. To train your cat to sleep with you on the same bed, you will get faster results if your cat associates your bed with something positive, like a treat, a toy, or a reward. Forcing your pet back on the bed may make it feel like a punishment for your cat and it won’t help with the training.

#9: Give Your Pet A Treat Or Reward For Staying On The Bed With You

You would want your cat to associate the reward of treat with the idea of staying on the bed, so you can place the treat under the covers or the pillow. You can also place the treat somewhere on the bed where your cat can easily smell it but not see it right away. The idea is to let your cat realize that it has to stay on the bed to get the treat.

Wrap Up

girl sleeping in bed with her cat

Once you’re done training your cat to share your bed at night, you’ll surely be rewarded every time your furry bundle of joy snuggles with you. Not to mention you’ll surely wake up to its morning displays of affection. If you’ve experienced difficulties in the past while you were training your cat to sleep with you, you may want to share with us how you finally succeeded in getting your feline pet to sleep on your bed. Please feel free to let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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