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Can Cats Kill You In Your Sleep?

If you are considering letting your cat sleep in your bed you may be worried or wondering if there is a chance it could attack you…

Can Cats Kill You In Your Sleep?

It is not likely that a cat is going to kill you in your sleep. Yes, it is a predator equipped with sharp teeth and claws, but if your cat was trying to hunt you then you’d notice it well before bedtime.  Death by smothering is not likely either, despite the old wives’ tale.

The only caution is when it comes to babies or young kids. It’s worth keeping them away from them in their sleep, not because they are likely to attack them, it’s just a worthwhile precaution.

If you sleep with your cat, it is more likely to get a nose full of fur, and have to shoo them away.

Will a cat attack my toes in the night?

A brown and grey cat staring angrily.

A brown and grey cat staring angrily.

Yes. There IS a very real chance of getting your toes attacked or even your hands, as the movement underneath a blanket, comforter, and especially a thin sheet is highly amusing to almost 100% of felines.

There is nothing that you can do to prevent this – predators like your cat are hardwired to go after suspicious movements – but if you accept the risk then you can armor up your toes with thicker coverings and even share some moments of play with your pounce-happy kitty.

Is it OK to let your cat sleep in your bed?

Yes, provided that you don’t roll around a lot in your sleep, it’s perfectly fine to let your cat sleep close to you and it also will strengthen your bond. When your cat sleeps close, it’s a high mark of love, respect, and trust – as a predator would never make themselves vulnerable on purpose.

So, if your cat wants to sleep close, know that they love and trust you and consider letting them. It’s a lovely experience and your kitty is also quite warm when it’s wintertime, so it’s great for both of you!

Could I hurt my cat if I sleep with it?

If you are an uneasy sleeper, then there is a possibility that you might roll over your kitty in your sleep. This could hurt your cat if they are unlucky, and even if it doesn’t a surprised kitty might give you a claw swipe or a nip for your troubles.

If you tend to roll around in your sleep, it’s better to get a kitty bed that you can put on your bed or next to it, so that your cat has some protection in the form of the bed’s walls or by the bed only being next to the one that you are sleeping in.

You can also try putting up a blanket layer to keep you from rolling around or even better, a large, tubular pillow. This can keep you safely off your kitty and the two of you can get some proper sleep together.

Why did my cat scratch me when I was sleeping?

Two most likely scenarios have occurred if your cat has decided to unsheathe their claws and give you a swipe. You may have rolled over or accidentally kicked them in your sleep, for one thing, or it might simply be that your movement under the covers got their attention and your cat pounced!

From the kitty’s perspective, the movement under the covers and you are not necessarily the same thing, and so most kitties are going to gleefully pounce on the ‘perceived intruder’, and scratching or biting may occur.

Try some slightly thicker bedding, as this should help to reduce how much your sleep movement ‘stands out’ under the sheets.

Can a cat suffocate you in your sleep?

There is an old wives’ tale that says a cat can ‘steal a baby’s breath’, which leads many to believe that cats have a thing for suffocating humans in their sleep. Incidentally, many say that this myth comes from the cat’s love for a plant that is named ‘baby’s breath’ – a ‘filler flower’ you see in most floral arrangements.

As an adult, your cat is simply not going to have the weight required to sit on you and cut off your airflow without waking you and being shooed away for sleeping too close.

Also, while the ‘baby’s breath’ story is more of a superstition than anything, it is not recommended that you let your cat sleep with your baby or toddler. They aren’t likely to ‘steal their breath’, but kids roll around a lot at this age and an errant scratch could seriously harm your child.

Can a house cat kill a human?

A white and black cat staring while resting.

A white and black cat staring while resting.

If we take the possibility of rabies out of the equation, then it’s highly unlikely that a housecat is going to be able to kill an adult human. That said, a cat is certainly equipped to give you a good mauling if they were afraid for their life and you’d backed them into a corner.

An adult human is simply too large for the housecat to kill and is more likely to end in a dead or severely injured cat. Simply put, this kind of catfight is more likely to end in stitches, not stones.

Can I get worms from my cat sleeping in my bed?

Yes, you can get worms from your cat, so it’s important to know what signs to look for and to get your kitty regularly dewormed. That said, the types of worms that infect your cat are usually designed for attacking the feline’s organs, which makes them less likely to pass on to you – just not impossible.

Kittens should be dewormed every 2 weeks until they reach 12 weeks of age, and after that once a month until they are 6 months old. Once your cat reaches 6 months, then having them dewormed every 3 months should help to keep your kitty parasite-free and less of a ‘worm hazard’ in your bed.

Is it okay if I don’t let my cat sleep in my room?

Yes, that’s perfectly fine, but you should be prepared for a little resistance from your cat in the beginning. Some cats will respond to a closed door by scratching and meowing, which you will have to ignore until your cat stops trying.

This can be frustrating, but if you get up and get angry then your cat knows that they will get the attention that way – even if it’s negative. So, if you can ignore this until your cat gets the message, then things should be fine.

Alternatively, you can consider a compromise of putting a kitty tower in your room. It is away from the bed but your cat can see you and may be willing to sleep inside there to be close to you.

Are cats evil?

No, cats aren’t evil, despite what horror movies might like you to think. They can get a reputation as being vindictive when they pee in your shoes or on other things that you like, but even that is not your cat getting ‘revenge’. It’s a little weirder than that.

When cats do this, they are stressed, and they are mixing their scent with your scents on that item. These combined scents make your cat feel less uneasy, which is weird and frustrating for us, but cats rely very heavily on their sense of smell.

As far as cats being mean to their prey, you need to remember that they are predators and it’s the equivalent of when a child plays with their food.

It seems cruel to us, yes, but your cat isn’t doing that to be ‘evil’ – they see smaller prey as mobile, amusing snacks because that’s what they would be eating in the wild.

Is it OK to let a kitten sleep in your bed?

It’s not a good idea, especially if your children want to sleep with a kitten. When they are very young, kittens are more prone to disease and parasites, so it’s not a very healthy thing to allow in the first place.

The kitten is also quite fragile and needs to be fed from their mother quite regularly – every 2 to 3 hours if they are a week old and if they are 2 to 3 weeks, every 4 to 6 hours.

So, by sleeping with a human, they could miss meals or if that human sleeps uneasily, then they could accidentally roll on the kitten – it’s better to simply wait until the kitten is older, stronger, and healthier.

Lindsey Browlingdon