The New York Times is here to debunk the myth that pet owners who allow their pets to sleep in their bed suffer from worse sleep than those who slumber blissfully alone., just in case you were wondering!!
Researchers put a tracking device called a Fitbark on the dogs’s collars and an activity monitor on the wrists of the people. The humans kept a sleep diary and the dogs, I imagine, did not. The results will shake you to your very core.
From the Times:
Over seven days of testing, the researchers found that with a dog in the bedroom, both the humans and the dogs slept reasonably well. Humans had a mean sleep efficiency—the percentage of time spent asleep while in bed—of 81 percent, while dogs had a sleep efficiency of 85 percent. Levels over 80 percent are generally considered satisfactory. People slept slightly better when the dog was off the bed; dogs slept the same whether they were on the bed or in another location in the bedroom.
Sleeping with your dog in your bed is not ruining your life or your sleep, although maybe it is ruining your sex life —a theory that I confirmed with noted Jezebel dog owner Kelly Stout, who weighed in on this very important take with some insight. “It’s really sweet to have a dog in the bed, but only once a week, so they still view it as a treat and don’t get all entitled,” she said. When pressed about whether or not a dog’s presence in the bedroom interferes with sexy time, Stout was emphatic. “You cannot CANNOT. REPEAT CANNOT. have sex with a dog in the bed.”
Fair enough. As the Times notes, 60 percent of dog owners surveyed consider their pets a child or a member of the family. Most people would not have sex with their chid or member of the family in the room or, god forbid, in the bed, so this tracks.
But all this chatter about dogs in the bed begs the question: what about the cats?
Dogs are dedicated to their owners and feel an intense need to protect them and therefor I decree that they are acceptable sleep companions. Cats, on the other hand, are inscrutable wild animals who will let you think they’re doing one thing, but will eventually do quite another. If they sleep in the bed, they will eventually want to be out of the bed the moment you’ve settled; they’ll telegraph their displeasure at your intrusion by unfurling their bodies lengthwise like fur-covered Slinkys. If the cat wants to go eat a bowlful of kibble and throw it up on the ground at 2am, it will knock everything off your dresser until you wake up, stumble to the door and release them to the dark night.
I have a cat to whom I am slavishly devoted, even though I’m sure what we have is something akin to Stockholm syndrome at this point. She shits outside the litter box; I clean it up and tell her she’s pretty. Our relationship is unhealthy (for me), but she sleeps in my bed out of acquiescence, bending to my will just this once. She wakes me up every morning and demands release. I fall for it every time.
So, are cats allowed in the bed? The choice is not mine or yours for cats do not obey the laws of man. Dogs are allowed, but only the good boys and girls and only ever so rarely.