When I moved in with my boyfriend this month, we made a bold decision: No more cats in the bedroom. To be honest, I’d been toying with the idea for a while because of some behavior issues, but I’d never been able to follow through with it. Sure, kitty snuggles and purrs are nice while I’m dozing off to sleep, but at some point during the night, things usually got crazy.
Maybe Phoenix would decide that walking across my face was the fastest route from point A to point B. My REM cycle was repeatedly interrupted by that dread-inducing retching that signifies someone is about to vomit on my comforter ÔÇô- again. (I have a sixth sense for detecting this particular noise.) Occasionally, a turf war would break out at the foot of the bed, where all attempts at diplomacy have failed rather spectacularly. Kicking the cats out of the bedroom seemed the best (perhaps the only) way to guarantee a full night’s rest.
So here we are, a week into this experiment, and I’m pleased to report that things are going well. Here are four things that happened when I stopped sleeping with my cats.
When I’ve locked the cats out of the bedroom in the past, I’ve caved after listening to them cry for only a couple of minutes. Phoenix talks all the time ÔÇô- sometimes she screams at me for no reason at all -ÔÇô so she is easier to ignore than Bubba Lee Kinsey. For such a big cat, Bubba has a petite, almost kittenish meow, which will absolutely put your heart in a vice grip and squeeze it until it pops ÔÇô- and he only talks when he has something really important to say. The moment he started complaining, I lost all resolve and let them in.
This time I was determined to let them cry it out. For a while, I thought it would never end: Phoenix screaming and pawing at the door, Bubba whining softly beside her. But then, something amazing happened. They gave up. I’m not sure what struck them into such sudden silence, but they were quiet for the rest of the night. The next night they hardly cried at all, and the night after that they didn’t say a word.
I expected this separation to be far more protracted and painful. I’m pleased to report that it was relatively easy for all of us. For years upon years, I wouldn’t have even considered banning my cats from the bedroom, especially when it was just me and Bubba Lee Kinsey. He was my best friend for most of my 20s, my rock that kept me sane.
But adding another cat to the mix not only gave Bubba a new best bud, it also paved the way for countless bedtime dramas (turf wars, mainly). The older I get, the more I value sleep; in fact, if I get less than six hours a night, I am utterly worthless the next day. Not gonna lie, it was nice to fall right to sleep without waiting 20 minutes for everyone to get in their most ideal cuddle positions.
I didn’t wake up once with an ass in my face or paws in my mouth. It was glorious. I love my cats, but they are lousy bedmates. Bonus: They were extra eager to snuggle with me while I drank my morning coffee on the couch.
My cats have never been in the bedroom at this house. For all they know, when my boyfriend and I walk through that door at night, we’ve left the house or traveled to another dimension. Therefore, the whole situation is easier for them to accept at this house than it was at my old place, where being banned from the bedroom was an infringement on territory they previously considered expressly theirs.
The first couple of nights, I woke up to check on them like a worried parent. Not only were they in a new house, they also weren’t sleeping with me. They were alone. Were they okay? In a word: Yes. My worry was completely unfounded. I found them in a ridiculous cuddle puddle on the couch, wrapped in each other’s arms. When I entered the room, they looked at me like I was intruding. I wanted to motorboat their bellies, but I resisted. I went back into the bedroom and closed the door.
What about you? Have you ever banished your cats from your bedroom? How did it go? Tell us in the comments!
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About Angela: This not-crazy-at-all cat lady loves to lint-roll her favorite dress and go out dancing. She also frequents the gym, the vegan coffee joint, and the warm patch of sunlight on the living room floor. She enjoys a good cat rescue story about kindness and decency overcoming the odds, and she’s an enthusiastic recipient of headbutts and purrs from her two cats, Bubba Lee Kinsey and Phoenix.