Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Millions of pet owners let cats and dogs share their bed, poll claims

Majority find animals easier to sleep next to than their partner

Astrid Hall
Wednesday 13 November 2019 17:45 GMT
Comments
Millions of pet owners let cats and dogs share their bed

Pet owners let their cats and dogs share their beds with them because it makes them feel safer, according to a new poll.

The survey of 2,000 found two thirds will sleep alongside their pet, with three in 10 of those liking the feeling of security they get from having them there.

More than a quarter of those polled said lying next to their cat or dog helped them feel less alone and 37 per cent like the warmth from their pets’ bodies.

“What’s clear is that sharing the bed with our pets is a normal part of our lives together and testament to the strength of the increasingly co-dependent bond between us and our cats and dogs,” said animal behaviourist, Professor Peter Neville. "For us, the main element of that bedroom relationship is based on comfort, enjoyment, touch, shared warmth and increased feelings of security for many dog owners especially.

“And while cats and dogs benefit in similar ways, cats regard us as mother figures throughout their lives when in close contact with us; predators outdoors, but forever ‘kittens’ when they cuddle up.

“Dogs, however, are more like 11-year-old humans in their social behaviour, often acting independently as guarders and hunters, but who all still find comfort and security close up with a parent figure or two when it’s time to sleep. This ‘regressive’ behaviour to be a youngster every night also means that they are quite tolerant of our nocturnal shiftings.

“When choosing their sleeping positions, our pets are broadly seeking to maintain and enhance their close protecting bond with us, rather than any desire to control us or monopolise territory.

“But they do cleverly learn to use their appeal and warm benefits they bring to us to train us to meet their individual night-time needs and desires and to shift our sleeping habits to accommodate theirs.”

The survey for itchpet.com also found one in five respondents said their pet opts to sleep in the bend of their leg.

But the most sleeping arrangement was for pets to settle at the foot of the bed by their owner’s feet.

The majority of those polled said their pet is easier to share a bed with than their human partner.​

SWNS

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in