5 reasons why taking a cat or dog to bed is a bad and dangerous idea

When we allow an animal to climb into bed with us or with a child, we forget about a lot. For example, that behind the fluffy paws and cute muzzle of a cat, a real predator is hiding. And that the animal is largely guided by reflexes, and may inadvertently harm you or the baby. Not to mention the fact that a pet can be a carrier of various diseases. Veterinarian Anna Makarova told Parents.ru , in which other cases joint sleep is dangerous, and how to wean a cat or dog from the habit of getting into bed with a child.

1. Allergy
An allergy to an animal is always a reaction to certain proteins. The most common cat allergen is the protein Fel d 1. It is found mainly in the saliva of a cat, but due to licking it spreads over the entire surface of its body ― and it does not matter if it has a coat.

If a child has a slight allergy to this protein, then with close contact with a cat, and her with a pillow and bed linen, the allergy will increase. If you notice conjunctivitis in the baby, itching in the eyes or nose, sneezing, coughing, skin reactions ― isolate the animal during sleep and strengthen the hygienic treatment of the room.

In addition to antihistamines prescribed by a doctor, allergy manifestations are reduced by wet cleaning, humidification of the air, and surface treatment from wool. Many parents think that if a child has not had an allergy to a cat or dog, then it will not, but this is not always the case: the allergen panel in a person can expand throughout life.

5 reasons why taking a cat or dog to bed is a bad and dangerous idea

2. Parasites
A pet, especially if the rules of its maintenance do not meet hygienic requirements, may have external and internal parasites ― and they are not always visible. Basically, cats and humans have different parasites and not all feline «guests» are dangerous to humans. For example, ascarids do not take root in the human intestine, but even transiently entering the child’s body, they can cause trouble there.

Another common cat parasite is toxoplasma, which causes toxoplasmosis. To get sick with them, you have to try very hard ― to contact with cat excrement that has lain in the air for a day.

But the main danger is giardia. There are four types of giardia in animals, one of them is common with humans. That is, if a cat is not treated for worms (even domestic cats need to be treated every 3 months) or eats raw meat, walks on the street, then the chances of getting giardia or cat ascaris from her with close contact are quite real.

If the cat has no symptoms of intestinal infections, if it is tested for giardiasis and treated for parasites, then it is safe to be near it: it cannot transmit other intestinal infections to a person through direct contact. Even the coronavirus in cats and dogs has its own, species-typical.

3. Skin diseases
Dermatophytosis, or lichen, is present in all mammals and is easily transmitted from cats and dogs to humans, and children are especially susceptible to this fungal infection. But if the cat does not walk and does not have skin manifestations, the probability of its infection is extremely small. And if there are any — examine the pet with a veterinary dermatologist and do not allow contact and even more so joint sleep of children and the pet.

5 reasons why taking a cat or dog to bed is a bad and dangerous idea

4. The animal is timid
Sleeping with a pet, especially with a cat, can be unsafe if its reaction to fright or sudden pain is aggression or sudden movements. For example, being afraid of something in her sleep, she can jump away abruptly, pushing off from the child. If the pet’s claws are not trimmed, there is a chance that the animal will scratch the child. The same applies to an animal with neurological problems: for example, if it hurts in a certain position or if it is touched unsuccessfully.

5. Knocks down the mode
Many cats wake up at five in the morning or earlier: in nature they have hunting time, which means you can catch a leg under the blanket and shout that the bowl is empty. As a result, this can shake not only the regime, but also the nervous system of both parents and children.

5 reasons why taking a cat or dog to bed is a bad and dangerous idea

How to explain to a child that sleeping with a pet is not worth it yet
The most important thing is not to scare the child with worms, lichen and other «horror stories», so as not to form phobias and negative associations with animals. Interaction with them enriches, helps to develop emotional intelligence and relieves stress. It is better to explain to the child that in a dream we move and can accidentally harm a cat or dog. For example, a kitten or a chihuahua can be crushed by its weight — it is dangerous.

How to wean an animal to get into bed
It is important to offer an alternative to the animal: your place, a couch, a house next to the bed (if it’s not an allergy or a violation of the sleep regime). Most dogs will be quite satisfied with this: for them it is important just to be near the owner. The dog should be accustomed to the «place» command by the method of positive reinforcement: give a treat, a cracker, praise when the dog goes there.

With cats, everything is a little more complicated. Wean a cat to sleep with a person can only be done if you close the door to the room and ignore her attempts to take the bedroom by storm for several nights. When she realizes that her actions are useless, she will stop them and find another place to sleep.

You can try to accustom her to a couch or a house. A place to sleep should cause positive emotions in the cat, be calm and safe. She should have a lot of shelters of different types, with different coverings, and then she will most likely choose a shelter to her liking. To get used to it, you can use products based on cat pheromones and herbs (catnip, matatabi).

It is important not to scare or drive her away: this will not allow you to create a trusting atmosphere and build a relationship with the animal. If you can’t wean your pet on your own, a dog handler or a specialist in correcting the behavior of cats will help.

Is it always necessary to wean?
Of course not. Close physical and emotional contact, if it is pleasant and not contraindicated to both sides, is a kind of exchange of positive energy. If tactile contact, warmth, and purring are pleasant to a person, then they will only benefit him.

It should be understood that in the question of «sleeping or not sleeping» a responsible attitude to the animal plays a huge role. If it is healthy, passes veterinary control once a year, is vaccinated, is treated quarterly from parasites, is kept clean, if violence is not applied to it (this causes retaliatory aggression and breaks the psyche), then the risks from sleeping with it are minimal.

And of course, it is important to explain to the child that a cat or a dog feels everything and understands that they also get hurt, uncomfortable or scared — for example, when they are shouted next to them, if they are grabbed, dragged in their arms, squeezed. It is necessary to bring up in the child respect for the needs and autonomy of the pet’s body, so that the cat or dog is not afraid of a small and obscure, but the most important being in the family.

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