This woman’s ghastly nightmares eased when she got a cat

Laura Campbell’s cat who helped her sleep more restfully.

Someone on Quora.com asked: “Why do some people want to sleep with cats? I had to lock my room door to discourage this behaviour from my granddaughter’s cat?”

Clearly he didn’t like the idea of a cat sleeping on his bed. He couldn’t understand why people allowed it to happen. It got me thinking about an article I wrote a little while ago about how when dogs sleep on a woman’s bed at night, the woman sleeps better and the same can be said about cats in my opinion. Of course it depends upon the person and the cat but in general the presence of a cat on a woman’s bed can assist in restful sleep. The counter argument is that cats can also break your sleep! It all depends how you deal with it and the circumstances….

Laura Campbell’s story

Laura Campbell, an Oxford graduate, provides an excellent example of how a cat on your bed helps. She used to have awful nightmares, she said. She said that she used to wake up sweating with a sore throat from trying to scream. She would enter into a state of what she describes as “sleep paralysis”. It felt as if she was lying there under a crushing weight firmly believing that something terrible had followed her out of her nightmares and was lurking in her room. She was too frightened to look.

She adopted a sweet looking grey cat (see picture at top of page). Her cat initially hid under her bed and slept there behind a box of sweaters. On the third night her cat found the courage to join her in bed and found a comfortable spot on her feet. She had been sharing her bed for a few weeks when she had her next nightmare. As usual she says she was trashing and mumbling in her sleep and half awake she entered into this state of sleep paralysis as she describes it. But this time things were different. Her cat was meowing and had put her paw on her face. It broke her nightmare and she felt that she could control her body again. She raised her hand to pet her cat and she started to purr. Her cat draped herself over her shoulder and kept her company.

In the following weeks her cat snapped her out of two more nightmares. She realised that just having a cat around on her bed relaxed her enough to reduce the frequency of her nightmares. Now when she wakes up at night convinced that she can hear something she will doze back to sleep because her cat isn’t yowling or meowing loudly but sleeping beside her. This reassures her that all was well. She concludes:

“Sharing a bed with a cat has done wonders for allowing me to get some actually restful sleep again.”

That is the answer to the gentleman’s question at the beginning of this article. A study found that dogs do an even better job for a woman’s sleep (or disturb people less!). This is probably because they are reassured that the dog would hear an intruder and help to protect them.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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