Is It Safe For Us to Sleep Together?
The Irreverent Vet commented on a report warning of the dangers of cats sharing their beds with humans:
…there was a front page article in USA Today with this headline: “Letting pets sleep next to you can make you ill, experts say.”
Headlines do make people look and read. Yes that is true. And this was one of those headlines. There are two issues I’d like to address about this article:
1. Was it irresponsible of the press to run this type of headline and to report this information?
2. Is it true? Are pets dangerous to have in your bed?
Was This Article Irresponsible?
I think it was reckless and yes, a bit irresponsible, because this is not really true. Saying “letting pets sleep next to you can make you ill” is like saying “you should not drive because you could be in an accident”… or “you should not walk down the street because you could be struck by lightening”… or “you should not interact with any other humans because you could catch a cold from them”.
That kind of advice is both stupid and impractical. But these “sensationalized” headlines sell newspapers – and unfortunately, they can also make stupid people do stupid things. For example – I heard about a family that wanted to get rid of their dog because of this article. For goodness sake – don’t do that!
The chance of diseases spreading from pets to people is possible – but it is VERY rare. In fact, I don’t know anyone that has ever gotten a disease from a pet – especially while sleeping. And as a veterinarian, I’ve never contracted a disease from a pet. Millions of pet owners sleep with their pets in bed with them and live to be a ripe old age.
My Final Thoughts on “The Danger of Cats Sleeping in Bed”
I’m not trying to criticize the press but sometimes the way they say things can cause unnecessary panic and concern. I understand that they want to get different views and they want to sell newspapers, but some things (in my opinion) just aren’t necessary. Blowing something like this out of proportion is one of them.
So is it dangerous for pets to sleep in bed with you? For me – the answer is no. I allow my pets to sleep with me and have for years – and I’m just fine. In fact, I’m better than fine.
Please get more information before you make any rash decisions.
I concur with the Irreverent Vet. Besides, as any indentured servant (ie, cat parent) knows, cats decide where they sleep, and couldn’t give two whiskers what anyone thinks. It’s best not to mess with authority! Anyone who actually thinks they have a CHOICE about what their cat does, doesn’t really understand felines.
Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) reports that based on their poll of cat parents to their website, 56% of them sleep with their cats. That’s a majority! “Our pets have made a definitive move from the barnyard, to the backyard, to the bedroom,” said Dr. Carol McConnell, director of veterinary services for VPI. Our pets are spending more time indoors with the entire family, and now they share the comforts of a soft mattress with the family, too.”
I will add that it’s not a matter of “letting” your cat sleep with you, it’s deciding how you’re going to fit your body around or underneath the furry purring monsters who are there whether they have permission or not.
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