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Is It Okay To Pet a Cat While Sleeping?

If you love petting your cat you may be wondering if it is OK to do this while they are sleeping…

Is it okay to pet a cat while sleeping?

With a few rare exceptions, for example, some cats are grumpy when they are trying to sleep. If your cat is already sleeping close to you, then they trust you already and you can probably get away with petting them.

Most cats will like this, as long as you are gentle about it, and it helps the two of you to bond a little closer. Studies have also shown that this reduces your blood pressure and helps both of you to enjoy reduced levels of stress in the bargain.

So, if your cat will allow it, then petting them in their sleep is perfectly fine and even encouraged!

What is the correct way to pet a cat?

Cat head on owners hand.

Cat head on owners hand.

When petting your cat, the best way to do it is with a light hand and never ‘against the fur’, which simply means to stroke it in the direction that the fur lays down naturally.

When your kitty is awake, you can also rub or scratch behind their ears and many cats love it when you gently stroke their cheeks or under the chin. Just avoid their whiskers and if they don’t like it when you touch their belly or tail, then don’t force the issue — you might get a nip for your troubles!

Why do cats act aggressively if I stroke their fur backward?

Aside from putting all their hard grooming work into disarray, stroking a cat ‘against the fur’ seems to be something that most cats find to be unpleasant. Likely this pulls on their fur, as if you were tugging it rather than petting it, so you want to make sure to only pet in the direction that the fur lays naturally.

Your kitty will appreciate this and you’ll both have a better day for your efforts.

Is it OK to let my cat sleep with me?

As long as you don’t toss and turn in your sleep, then let your cat sleep in the bed with you is an excellent choice. Your cat will feel safe and sound with you close to them and it helps to strengthen the bond between you.

If you do tend to sleep a bit uneasily, you can try getting a body-length pillow to put next to you as a safety barrier. This will help to limit your movements towards the cat if they sleep on the other side of it and you can still share a good night’s sleep.

Can you move a cat while it sleeps?

Usually, no, that’s not going to happen. When you nudge your cat to pick them up, you will most likely be greeted with a very annoying glare and further attempts to move them might result in a scratch or a nip.

Some cats, however, are deep sleepers and you might be able to get away with it, but you need to do it very slowly and gently. Reaching from behind the cat’s back, you can slowly lift them so that their body is supported and usually move them to a different spot on the bed if you like.

Moving them any further is not recommended, though. The longer that you are holding them, the more likely it is that your cat will wake up and panic because they are suddenly in the air and that’s when their claws come out.

Likely it will just be an effort to avoid falling, but the results will be unpleasant for the both of you nonetheless!

What is a cat’s petting zone?

Cat petting ‘zones’ are simply the places where most cats seem to like being petted. While it might be tempting, spots like a cat’s tummy or tail are usually ‘invite only’, so unless your cat rubs their tail on yours to stroke it or rolls over for a belly rub, then you should stick to the basic zones below.

Behind the ears

Rubbing or scratching behind the ears is a favorite spot for many cats, and some even like it when you rub in between them. Give it a try and you’ll see for yourself – most cats love this!

The back

The back is a classic spot and well-received, as long as you are stroking it softly in the direction in which the fur is already laying. If a cat is lying on their side, you can try stroking this, but be careful – like the belly and tail, not all cats like being touched there.

Under the chin

A person petting a white and orange cat under the chin.

A person petting a white and orange cat under the chin.

Scratching under the chin is another excellent spot and many cats will hold their heads up and close their eyes to enjoy it. Just don’t do this with someone else’s cat unless you are sure that they are friendly, because then you are putting your hand dangerously close to the mouth of a cat you don’t know yet!

The cheeks

Cats love having their cheeks rubbed, as long as you are taking care to avoid their whiskers. They’ll even rub them against you, but this isn’t just for the nice feel of it – your cat also has scent glands there and this lets them mark you with their scent!

You won’t smell it, but they will, and your cat feels extra comfortable when they sniff the mixed scents on your skin and clothes.

Why should you not wake a sleeping cat?

Cats, especially senior kitties and young kittens, need their sleep. While some will tolerate you waking them up, it’s not a good habit to get into, as they need their sleep just as much as we do. If your cat is a very deep sleeper then waking them up might also get you a nip or a scratch.

Remember, while your cat is fuzzy and cute, you are also looking at one of Nature’s perfect predators, and all cats can wake up and spring into action — even from a deep sleep.

This could lead to a defensive swipe or bite before the cat realizes who it was that woke them up and that’s something best avoided.

Can I cuddle my cat while sleeping?

As long as your cat seems to like it, then cuddling is encouraged and it will just bring the two of you closer. That said, if your cat doesn’t seem to want to be cuddled, then you definitely shouldn’t push it. Your cat will come to you on their own, in time, if it’s something that they want.

Not all cats are into cuddling and some cats only like it part of the time, so it’s ultimately going to be up to your cat. If they allow it, however, then you should take advantage!

Do cats fake sleep?

Yes, cats sometimes do feign sleeping, though mostly you’ll see this behavior when there is another cat or a dog around and they don’t like sharing a choice spot with them. The cat pretends to be asleep, but it’s too restful, and it can lead to a grumpy kitty until they become more comfortable sharing their space.

They aren’t always ‘faking it’, however, and when you see a cat suddenly pop open an eyelid and give you an alert glare, they might still have been in deep sleep the moment before. Cats can become instantly alert, which is just one of the many perks of being an apex predator.

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

It is possible, especially if your cat spends a lot of time outside, but if you are deworming them on a regular schedule then the chance will be greatly minimized. With kittens, it’s best to keep them out of the bed, because they are the most likely to pass along worms as they are more prone to them while young.

They need to be dewormed every 2 weeks until they reach 8 weeks of age, and after that, they go on the ‘adult schedule’ for deworming which is every 3 months.

Lindsey Browlingdon