Should I let my cat sleep on my pillow?

Sharing your living space with a feline friend can lead to a host of delightful moments, from playful antics to heartwarming cuddles. Among the many quirks and preferences of cats, many enjoy the softness and warmth of sleeping on their owner’s pillow. While the idea of a purring companion by your head sounds soothing, you might wonder if it’s a good idea. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the question: Should I let my cat sleep on my pillow?

Should I Let My Cat Sleep on My Pillow?

The decision to let your feline friend share your pillow is one of personal preference, interspersed with health and hygiene considerations. Here’s a dive into the factors to contemplate before making a decision:

Pros of Letting Your Cat Sleep on Your Pillow:

  1. Bonding: Having your cat close can foster a sense of security and companionship for both you and your cat.
  2. Warmth: Cats are adept at finding warm places, and your head releases a good amount of heat, making the pillow an inviting spot for your pet.
  3. Security: For the cat, being near you can provide them a sense of safety, especially in a new or ever-changing environment.

Cons of Letting Your Cat Sleep on Your Pillow:

  1. Allergies: If you’re allergic to cat dander, allowing your cat to sleep so close to your face can exacerbate your symptoms.
  2. Hygiene: Cats, especially if they venture outdoors, can carry dirt and other particles in their fur which can transfer to your bedding.
  3. Sleep Disruption: Cats are naturally more active during dawn and dusk. Their movement or even the sound of their purring can disrupt your sleep.
  4. Potential Health Risks: There’s a slight risk of transmitting parasites like fleas or ticks or even certain illnesses if your cat is not regularly checked and treated.

Reasons why your cat sleep on your pillow

Cats have unique behaviors and preferences, and if your feline friend has taken a liking to your pillow, there are various reasons behind this behavior. Here’s why your cat might be drawn to your pillow:

  1. Your Scent: Your pillow is infused with your scent, and this can be incredibly comforting to your cat. Being near your scent can make them feel secure and close to you, even when you’re not around.
  2. Warmth: Your head, like the rest of your body, emits heat. The pillow retains this warmth, making it an inviting spot for your cat, especially in colder environments.
  3. Heightened Position: Cats often prefer elevated spaces as they provide a vantage point to observe their surroundings. Your bed, and by extension your pillow, gives them this raised platform.
  4. Security: Being close to you, especially in a vulnerable state like sleep, provides them a sense of safety. They might feel more protected from potential threats or disturbances.
  5. Territorial Behavior: Cats are territorial creatures. By sleeping on your pillow, they might be marking it with their scent, thus claiming it as their territory.
  6. Texture: The softness of the pillow might be especially appealing to your cat. Cats often seek out soft, plush surfaces for comfort, and your pillow fits the bill.
  7. Routine and Habit: If a cat has found your pillow comfortable once, they might return out of habit. Cats are creatures of routine, and if they’ve established a pattern of sleeping on your pillow, they’re likely to continue.
  8. Seeking Attention: If they’ve noticed that taking up space on your pillow gets your attention, they might return to it as a way to initiate interaction, whether it’s for play, affection, or food.
  9. Emotional Comfort: Especially in multi-pet households, a cat might seek out your pillow to have some solitary time or to avoid interactions with other pets.
  10. Curiosity: Cats are naturally curious creatures. They might initially be drawn to your pillow out of curiosity and then find it to their liking.

Understanding your cat’s behavior can help you build a closer bond with them. If you’re concerned or curious about any specific behaviors, it’s always a good idea to consult with a veterinarian or a pet behaviorist. They can offer insights tailored to your particular cat’s actions and needs.

Considerations and tips to note while allowing your cat to sleep on pillow

Allowing your cat to sleep on your pillow can be a comforting experience for both you and your feline friend. However, there are several considerations and tips to keep in mind to ensure that both you and your cat have a pleasant and safe experience:


  1. Allergies: If you or anyone in your household is allergic to cat dander, having a cat sleep so close to your face might exacerbate symptoms.
  2. Hygiene: Cats, particularly those who go outdoors, can bring in dirt, pollen, or even parasites, which can end up on your pillow.
  3. Sleep Quality: Cats are crepuscular, which means they are most active during the twilight hours of dawn and dusk. They might disrupt your sleep by moving around or being playful.
  4. Health Risks: There’s a minimal chance of zoonotic diseases or transmitting parasites like fleas or ticks, especially if your cat spends time outdoors.


  1. Routine Grooming: Regularly grooming your cat will reduce the amount of loose fur and dander and also give you a chance to check for any signs of parasites or health issues.
  2. Frequent Cleaning: If your cat sleeps on your pillow, ensure you change pillowcases often. Using hypoallergenic covers can also be beneficial.
  3. Dedicated Pillow: Consider providing a separate pillow for your cat at the head of the bed. This can give them their space while also being close to you.
  4. Training: If you’d like to set boundaries about where your cat can sleep, consider gentle training methods to redirect them to another spot, like a cat bed or a designated blanket.
  5. Health Check-ups: Ensure your cat has regular vet visits to check for any potential health issues and to keep vaccinations up to date.
  6. Alternative Comfort Spaces: Providing alternative cozy spots for your cat might divert their attention from your pillow. Heated cat beds or mats, for example, can be very appealing to cats.
  7. Nighttime Routine: Engage in a play session with your cat before bedtime. This can tire them out and possibly reduce nighttime activity.
  8. Communication: Pay attention to your cat’s behavior. If they suddenly become more clingy or insist on sleeping close to you, it might indicate a change in their environment or health.

Allowing your cat to sleep on your pillow is a personal choice. While it can be a sign of trust and affection from your feline companion, it’s essential to ensure you’re maintaining good hygiene and health practices. Consider your comfort, sleep quality, and the well-being of both you and your cat in whatever decision you make.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat specifically choose to sleep on my pillow and not elsewhere on the bed?

Your pillow carries your scent most strongly, offering comfort and security to your cat. The warmth from your head and the elevated position also makes it an attractive spot for them.

Is it unhealthy or unhygienic to let my cat sleep on my pillow?

It can be if proper precautions aren’t taken. Outdoor cats can bring in dirt, pollen, and parasites. Regular grooming of your cat and frequent washing of pillowcases can help maintain hygiene. If you have allergies, letting a cat sleep so close to your face might exacerbate symptoms.

How can I gently discourage my cat from sleeping on my pillow?

You can provide alternative cozy spots like cat beds or heated mats. Consistency is key, so gently move your cat each time they try to settle on the pillow and redirect them to their designated spot.


Cats often gravitate towards places that offer comfort, warmth, and a sense of security. For many, the owner’s pillow fits these criteria perfectly. While sharing a pillow with your feline companion can be a sign of trust and bonding, it’s crucial to consider hygiene, health, and personal comfort. Taking preventive measures like regular grooming and providing alternative resting places can strike a balance, ensuring both you and your cat enjoy restful nights.

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