Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?

~ Groucho Marx ~

Beware Of Pets In Bed

February 19th, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 3 mins, 3 secs

Pets want your bed.

When you head for bed, pets have their own agenda. Hygienists will shudder, but I love having our cat Scallywag curled up on the end of our bed. It’s comforting hearing him breathe (being one of the few members of the family who doesn’t snore) and, with my toes, I can feel his soft form resting on the bed.

Yet, pets have their own plans about the whole sleep routine. Sure, they like to come along for the ride and then find the comfiest side. But more than anything, it feels like they enjoy the pleasure of simply being together. Though it seems their idea of sleeping isn’t quite what many of us have in mind.

Dog owners will immediately know what I mean in this respect. Having settled in after crushing the odd limb, they start stretching out. As pets staking their claim, they aim to take the bed zone as their rightful territory then start the task of gradually pushing master and mistress out.

Scallywag, to his credit, tends to adopt various spots as the night wears on. So that, if we had cat cam, he’d first appear on the end of the bed, then to one side of the bed, then the other, to the top, in-between us, and then – in a bid to get us up and atom, start his ritual of leaping over our heads.

Were dogs to do this, the net effect would surely be bedlam as the sheer mass of an Afghan Hound, Great Dane, or similar would surely stress not only pet owners but the bed itself.

Can you imagine a St Bernard repeatedly leaping over your head at 6.00am? Or perhaps crushing your toes as a sign of affection? Pets might love coming along at bedtime too. But that doesn’t stop them being bed hogs and hairy rogues in the process.

If your pet is smart enough, you could certainly train them to politely take their place. That surely would make the practice highly civilized. But I expect most cats don’t get crazed human efforts to train them to do anything. After all, felines don’t take kindly to following anybody’s agenda.

Dogs, of course, will come to the party if shown often enough. Though you probably want your doggy to sleep beneath the bed rather than upon, unless they’re very small or your bed is terribly big. As active pets, they command space and prefer to adopt the lying in state position with legs out at funny angles if they possibly can.

In these events, owners do best to cling to the bed edge, curl up on the pillow, or get out of the bed altogether. Anything to avoid disturbing their precious pet’s beauty sleep.

Non-pet owners, of course, will find all this talk quite offensive. Not for them this childish affection for hairy critters. Pets to them are unwanted extras, because they are yet to appreciate the pleasure of nurturing another species and enjoying the exchange of affection.

True, all of this animal allowance comes at a price. Just ask the lady with the crick neck at work how it happened. Chances are her schmoozy old kitty is to blame for pushing her off her pillow midway through the night. This is because pets like to give the pillow a test and if it means you better move, so be it.

Having a friendly pet snortling at the end of your bed is truly a lovely experience, as every pet owner knows. Like a living, breathing teddy bear, they add an extra dimension to the whole bedtime ritual that, unsurprisingly, gets repeated in millions of homes across the globe.

Will having a pet make you live longer, as cited by one or two studies? I don’t really know. But I do know having a family feline accompanying your nighttime reverie is no great crime and is usually deeply comforting. With the gentle breathing of your favorite creature evident in the background it feels totally natural for you to settle down too. In the presence of a treasured pet you can let go of your cares and say goodnight to the world. Then sleep calmly and peacefully with the companionship of your littlest assistant, as they gradually crush your legs whilst pinching the better half of your bed.

Pets in bed? Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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