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Do You Let Your Pets Sleep in Your Bed?

April 13, 2018

Paisley in her favorite afternoon napping place, my side of the bed. A few years ago.

Another Way for week of April 13, 2018

That Cat! That Dog!

I wake up. The cat—all 15 or so paisley pounds of her (and her name is Paisley) has taken over MY pillow. This is not cool. It is 2:15 a.m. I am not happy.

I go to the living room and fetch a super plush half-blanket, designed to keep old ladies warm on couches in cool houses. It was originally a ninetieth birthday gift to my mother from a niece-in-law, very sweet. But my mom didn’t think she needed more throws like that. She re-gifted it to me. I love it.

So I bunch it up as a nest for the cat to claim, and lay it next to my pillow on our king size bed, a giant hint to the cat. Husband sleeps on.

Paisley doesn’t take the hint and moves back to claiming a corner of the pillow I have turned over so I wouldn’t have to sleep in her uh, germs and worse. I had already changed the pillow case several times that week because of this cat-and-me pillow fight.


My most loved cat ever, Riley. Someone caught me sleeping with another male.

Undeniably, our cat has now taken to hogging my side of the bed. I can sympathize better with what my husband was dealing with for weeks, maybe months. The cat was absolutely loving his side of the bed, near his feet, and he had to be careful not to kick her. He truly loves the cat, which our daughter had adopted but had to pass on to us when she moved to different housing. So Paisley has learned to jump out of the way of his night-time wiggles and flailing legs.

But cats change their habits more quickly than humans, and so currently I am the lucky lady having the cat sleeping on my side of the bed. I say to the husband that I’m just glad we never got in the habit of allowing dogs to sleep in our bed (no offense to those who have this custom), but as we get older, it is hard enough to get a good night’s sleep without a third (or fourth!) body in the bed.

Wendy, our first dog, meets our first baby, Michelle. Holding the two are my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law.

I grew up in a family that only had outside pets. How about you? My husband and I faced the issue of whether to keep pets inside or out after we bought our first home, the year after we were married. My husband soon wanted a dog, and he wanted it inside. At that point, we didn’t have a secure fence so I acquiesced. Wendy was a good first dog: smart, affectionate, able to do tricks. She trained me well. But no dog in bed.

Our dogs have been mixed breeds on the larger side. Our current dog, Velvet, (notice the “fabric” name theme currently going with our pet population, thanks to our daughter) is the smallest at about 45-50 pounds. I can truly understand people who enjoy sleeping with smaller breeds of dogs, and I know the loving attachments so many experience with a small lap dog.

Riley (Alpha cat, now deceased) and baby Paisley.

Paisley (left) and Velvet (right) share my husband’s lap in the evening. Along with his small notebook.

Oh, speaking of laps, both the cat and the dog like to share my husband’s recliner chair when his footrest is pulled out. Now that makes a chair full, and I’m thrilled that they cuddle up there on his leather rather than my fabric couch. In the winter, they keep him warm; when I’m away, they are great company. Sometimes, though, he wants to shift around or get up, and they have other ideas. Many times the cap plops down five minutes before I call Stuart to supper.

But we try to make sure the cat and the dog know who is boss. No alpha dogs or cats.


My first published poem. Click to enlarge.

My first piece of published poetry when I was a teenager was a poem about a cat and how humans and cats are similar but different, especially in their ability to love. Yes cats give and receive love, but they are not human in terms of what they are able to give. As that poem ended, “For, whoever heard of a cat dying to save all the other cats?” My theology may have deepened or expanded since my teenage days, but there is still truth there, that we remembered especially over Easter weekend. God has given us so much love, even more than that extended by the dearest cat or dog.

For that we can be so grateful, even when the cat gets us up in the middle of the night.


Do you let your pets sleep in your bed?

Do you have different rules for different pets?

Are you a cat person or a dog person or neither?




Comment here, or send stories to me, pro or con, at or Another Way Media, Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22850.

 Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. When we had two cats only the alpha cat, a female, dared sleep on the bed. When she died her brother took over. Both soon learned that I move a lot, while my husband sleeps like a log with a convenient trench between his legs. They took the trench, and sometimes the trench between us.

    • That’s a great addition to this blog post, Nancy! Thanks for sharing, love it. Pets and their hierarchies are fascinating.

  2. Yes I let my pets sleep in my bed it is fun, but they like to take over my bed! just like your paisley!

  3. I do not let Rhody sleep in my bed. He lets me sleep in his.
    I have no pets. It is just me and Rhody now.
    I am neither a cat person nor a dog person. Rhody is a person dog though.
    You might find this to be amusing:

    • I did enjoy your story about the abandoned fawn. Loved it, especially the ending! I also like your turn around that Rhody is a person dog. 🙂 You have a good way with words!

      • Rhody probably would have worded it more creatively, but he does not speak English.

  4. Beverly Silver permalink

    Rosie, my torty-calico can sleep on my bed as long as she is NOT on my pillows. During the day, when I make my bed, I put two plastic shopping bags (Penneys) on my pillows. A couple of times I have forgotten to put them on the bed, and she tried to cuddle on the pillows. She knows when I find her and say “Down” rather firmly, she looks “sheepish” and jumps off. She is allowed day or night at the foot of the bed and is often asleep there when I wake up in the morning! The other place she is NOT allowed to doze is a relativelyl new chair that I do not want cat hairs on! She does “sleep around” on other padded surfaces, sofa, chairs, etc. She usually wants to be somewhere near me if I am home, but does not like to be held on a lap! She also has been trained NEVER to get on a table top or a kitchen counter top. She is a good, gentle, and quiet companion except when she see another cat on the other side of the kitchen outside door! She is good company and is 15 years old.

  5. So you have a 15-year-old torty-calico! Michelle had one like for many years who was almost like a sister to her, as a child. That’s a great idea to cover the pillows with bags! I like your details on how you have taught her good cat manners. It’s great that they allow pets in some of the housing at Sunnyside. Thanks for your stories!

  6. Athanasia permalink

    No, pets do not sleep in our bed. Our two dogs, a shepherd and dachshund mix sleep in my daughter’s room on a dog bed. Now that she is off teaching the semester they still sleep there. They do have a spot on the end of the sofa where we’ll let them jump up and sit with us. Only if they are invited though, and we put a sheet down for them

    I like cats and dogs. But I am very allergic to cats and so are 2 of the children, oldest son and middle daughter. Oldest son has one dog and his in-laws have one so they are a two dog family. Oldest daughter and her family has 3 dogs. Her husband is a vet. Very handy. Younger son and his family have a dog and a cat…he had the cat, she the dog….they were married this past fall. Fortunately it’s a big house . The two animals prefer their separate space. Middle girl–no pets. The family the youngest is living with has a pet rabbit and a dog.

    We have outdoor barn cats that control pests on the properties. No kittens.

    • I expected you would get around to adding your stories here and you did not disappoint. Sorry to hear of you cat allergy. How do you have barn cats without kittens? Spaying and neutering perhaps? Regular batches of kittens seem to be just a fact of life with barn cats, but maybe they are tame.
      How handy indeed to have a vet in the family. We do too, although she lives at a distance. It sounds like you have mannerly pets! Dogs seem to prefer one or two regular spots, while in my experience, cats like to change up their favorite places. 🙂 Thanks for your comments!

      • Athanasia permalink

        Yes, spaying and neutering is always the responsible thing to do, even with barn cats. There is no shortage of cats…there are way too many unwanted kittens.

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