I have come to the conclusion that I have lost possession of my queen size bed. When I survey the reason why, I’m ok with it.
Many nights I enter my bedroom to see my three cats (Jack, Joan and Forest) and my 80-pound dog (Angel) occupying territory with a spacious border between them.
I’m sure many people would shoo their pets away so they can sleep in their comfy bed, but I simply can’t move these angels.
Purring engines hum in three sectors of the bed and a hairy husky/shepherd lies on her side along one edge.
This leaves me a small quadrant near the headboard to scoot to the center of the bed and shimmy my body down between them, under the covers, like a foot into a sock.
I should videotape myself doing this without flipping one of them onto the floor. It’s a skill that makes me smile.
Usually, they stay in place for hours. Sometimes they leave shortly after I slip in because I’ve disturbed their slumber.
I find myself in yoga poses for hours that cause numbness in my limbs and a stiff neck. The poses resemble the cobra, cat, reclining twist and tree.
Joan and Forest have fleece blankets made into nests at the foot end of my bed and I am conditioned to sleeping with my feet on either side of them in a yoga corpse pose.
I spent over $1000 on this extra-firm pillow top mattress. I actually envisioned my pets on it with me while I was shopping at a furniture store. I needed room for all of them plus two stuffed duck toys that are Angel’s prize possessions.
I’m so focused on their comfort that I sometimes put a throw blanket over my upper body because I cannot pull up enough of my bedding to keep myself warm.
My sleeping pets even receive the warm pyjamas I take off and place at the foot of the bed. This leaves me cold if I crawl out of bed in the night to use the bathroom.
If I’m cold, all of their warm bodies help me heat up quickly. If I feel alone or sad, having them against me brings me comfort and a feeling of protection. Studies show that I’m not alone in the joy of curling up with pets at bedtime.
According to a Tuck.com 2019 story, a National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association said that 62 percent of cats sleep with their pet owners, while 45 percent of dogs sleep with their owners.
A 2018 Healthypets.Mercola.com story cites reasons why sleeping with a dog (or cat) is good for you. They include increasing feelings of security and contentment, helping to get a good night’s sleep, helping combat depression, providing warmth and comfort, increased relaxation and bonding.
There are other reasons why I am careful not to move my pets when I slide into bed.
All four of my pets are seniors. My cats are 14, 16 and 20, and my dog is 14. They all have arthritis. A wooden step is located on one side of my bed for Angel to climb up and down. She can only approach the bed comfortably by first lifting her left front leg onto the step. She pauses on the step and then lifts her left front leg onto the mattress.
Before she makes this climb onto the bed, she uses a great deal of energy just ascending stairs to my bedroom.
Angel always lies on the same side of my bed (where the step is located) or across the middle of the bed. In the summer a box fan blows from a nearby room, forcing cool air across her body.
She has a thick fur coat and she gets hot fast. Angel also has a paralyzed larynx that makes breathing harder.
Facing all of these hurdles, she still gets comfortable on my bed and I would feel terrible making her move.
Then there are my cats. They have arthritis and use the wood step or pet stairs on the opposite side of the bed. If one of them fell or hurried off the bed, they would hurt themselves.
If I have to arch my body into a yoga cat pose to wrap around a feline or bend my legs into a yoga chair pose to conform to my dog, I will gladly participate.
Having my pets beside me in bed makes me feel safe and loved. Judging by the response of my pets, they feel the same way about having me beside them.