There isn’t a rule book on how to sleep with a cat in bed. These are my personal thoughts and everyone will have their own. Many decent cat owners lock their cat out of the bedroom at night. This is something I wholeheartedly disagree with because it weakens the human-cat bond but I understand the reason why. I think it is almost cruel because the human bed is a core scent centre as far as the domestic cat is concerned. For a cat, it’s a place from which to take human scent and to feel better and more at home.
There will be competition in terms of space and positioning between human and cat in bed at night. I don’t think it is that dissimilar to a couple getting used to sleeping together after each one has spent many years sleeping alone.
In my experience cats like to sleep in contact with their guardian for warmth during the colder seasons. This restricts the natural free movement that people sometimes demand in order to make themselves comfortable before dozing off.
In general the presence of your cat on your bed will normally restrict the movement of the person with whom the cat shares that limited space. So who’s going to adapt the most to accommodate the other?
In my experience people are more flexible and more inclined to adapt which if correct means that their cat sleeps where he/she wants to and their owner works around that. It might mean keeping still when you want to move and adjust position. Or it might mean sleeping on your back because your cat is lying next to your chest and you don’t want to disturb her.
This is the issue: whether you want to disturb your cat to accommodate yourself or keep still to accommodate your cat. The more cat orientated and cat loving a person is the more likely that it will be the latter.
Recently I accommodated my cat and went to sleep on my back. I never do this normally. I was surprised that I feel asleep and it was good sleep but it took longer to get off.
Although my cat likes to come under the duvet for 20 minutes to warm up, like most cats, he usually sleeps towards the end of the bed against my legs. He may place himself there while I am asleep. If I move around he’ll move and return. This arrangement has very little impact on the sleep of the human.
Cats probably like to sleep towards the base of the bed because it gives then some emotional and physical space and because perhaps there is less movement from the human in that position and therefore less disturbance.
Sleeping with your cat on your bed requires a compromise from both parties. Humans are aware of this while cats tend to do what pleases them. If their human companion moves or wants them to move they accept it, sometimes with a complaint. As humans are more aware of the need for compromise they are the ones to do it. They give more and sometimes demand that their cat moves or forms a new habit which both parties find acceptable.
How to sleep with a cat in bed? Compromise is the one word answer like any bed sharing arrangement. People should not think that it is unhealthy for cats to sleep on their bed. It is not. Some people have this idea but I don’t understand where it comes from. Almost all feline diseases are not transferable to humans and the ones that are can be transferred in normal day-to-day interactions so there is no downside in terms of health for a cat to sleep on the bed.
It was found that when a cat sleeps next to a baby the baby developed a better response to allergens i.e. a less harmful response. At one time the opposite belief was in vogue.