Friday, May 15, 2015

Do you share your bed with a companion animal or two?

Poppy and Ari don't share so much as dominate the bed.
It’s getting colder, the nights are longer, and cat owners in Australia at least may be noticing an increase in affection from their feline companions as the temperature drops. The big question is, do you allow pets to join you on or in the bed?

According to a 2014 survey conducted by VetStreet, most people do. Around 83 per cent of pet owners and 75 per cent of veterinary professionals share their bed with a non-human.

Those figures are consistent with my experience, in talking with colleagues and clients.

Some companions, like Cliff, prefer to sleep beside the bed.
Interestingly, veterinary professionals were more likely to let their cat sleep on their bed. In addition, veterinary professionals were 52 per cent more likely to allow multiple animals and species on the bed.

There were mixed responses when it came to disclosing whether companion animals helped or hindered sleep, although many respondents were neutral on the topic. For example, 13 per cent of veterinary professionals and 33 per cent of non-veterinary professionals felt animals helped them sleep – but 28 per cent of vet professionals and 14 per cent of non-veterinary professionals found companion animals could be a hindrance to sleep. I have met more than one client who has slept on the floor and allowed their pet to sleep on the bed. This, it would seem to be, would put multi-species bed-sharing into the hindrance category.

Older animals or those with arthritis might need a bit of help getting onto the bed. Note the stairs designed especially for Seymour.
But is it such a simple question? Personally, after some thorough testing at SAT HQ, we’ve established that the presence of animals in the bed has a soporific effect til about five in the morning when said animals feel like breakfast, at which point they definitely hinder any earnest attempt to sleep.

There might be some issues with the figures: 2369 pet owners responded, while only 255 veterinary professionals responded.

So SAT is putting it to readers: do your companion animals join you in the bedroom? Do they help you rest or keep you up all night?

You can sleep in my bed, but you can't bring a half chewed sneaker in with you. Sorry, Scouser.
[Declaration: yes, I am comfortable sharing my bed with non-humans, but I insist on excellent endo and ectoparasite control, regular grooming of all parties and some species restrictions (i.e. for health reasons I would not share my bed with reptiles, for example)].