Editor’s Note: Kate Conway is a contributor to Catster’s sister SAY Media site, xojane.com. This article first ran on xoJane, but we’re rerunning it (with permission!) so you readers can comment on it. Please note that the opinions expressed below are just the author’s and not necessarily Catster’s.
I’m not a huge fan of sleep-cuddling. This is a little odd from me, considering that once I cross the line from non-hug friends to hug friends with someone, I will frequently drape myself across that person like a sloth on MDMA whenever I feel the slightest bit out of sorts.
But the minute I share a mattress with anyone, platonically or otherwise, I plaster myself against the far wall and awkwardly duck every would-be spooning attempt.
Touching other people in bed just makes me largely uncomfortable. At the very most, I’ll sometimes reach out and poke my bedmates with my big toes, or palm the warm line of skin between their waistband and shirt.
On rare, rare occasions, I’ll scoot under the covers and plop my head on someone’s soft belly before conking out, but those instances are almost always reserved for short sad naps on people who don’t mind collecting a navel full of drool.
The idea of waking up with my limbs tangled in someone else’s, though, makes me feel almost claustrophobic. And forget spooning — I sleep on my back or I don’t sleep at all, generally, so being the big or little spoon will end with me surreptitiously scooting into a more spatula-and-ladle situation. Luckily, these days my dates are the same way, and they will just kick me in the kneecap until I can contentedly mouth-breathe in a fort crafted of Ikea duvet at least four feet away from them.
Sorry, cuddlers — at the end of the day, I am largely a picky sort who would rather just starfish in her own bed than fall asleep with anyone’s head tucked lovingly under anyone else’s chin.
This is not to say, however, that I don’t occasionally get a little lonely between the sheets. I might not be able to fall asleep curled around anyone, but there’s still something irresistibly comforting about a warm presence nearby when, say, there’s a springtime rainstorm thudding in the gutters outside and nobody has anywhere in particular to be.
In those instances, I get a little bit desperate for companionship. I went through a period in college where I would sleep with my peacoat in bed with me, for example. Not on me, or anything. Just ÔÇª nearby.
I know. Dark times.
These days, I am lucky enough to live with a cat and a dog, both of whom are definitely amenable to sitting on my shins and making soft rumbly noises in the gray hours of dawn. I’ve even apparently gotten a little spoiled, considering the last time I slept with a human I woke up angrily wishing that her cat would come in and hang out with us instead of padding around creepily in the living room.
I am definitely one of those one in 10 women who would rather snuggle a pet than a romantic partner. While I frequently wake up half off the bedframe when sleeping with another person, I will by contrast reach out and try to kraken-tentacle my apartment pets to my bosom while not even fully conscious. (I know this because I immediately wake up confused and bleeding.)
Here are some of my reasons why I’d rather fall asleep with a cat, a dog, or a lizard grunting sweet nothings in my ear than a person. Feel free to add your own and/or call me a weirdo whom no human is going to miss when I inevitably fall into a wood chipper.
Every morning before I rise, I must listen to at least one go-round of terrible pop music or I absolutely cannot face the day. Most humans, I find, do not particularly appreciate this. Last Sunday morning, for instance, I nearly got punched in the face because I popped out of bed scream-singing “I’M GONNA POP SOME TAAAAGS” at 6 a.m. Merlin the cat doesn’t especially love this, either, but at least he won’t threaten to set me on fire.
Last time I slept with Betty the dog, she lay on my ankles and I, no joke, dreamt that I was some sort of fancy Arctic fashion star. Because I’m not overly fond of fur in my waking life, it was an amusing jaunt down Speculation Lane. More importantly, it was super warm, which is vital in a household where we frequently elect to wear four cardigans rather than turn the heat up five degrees.
I find that my hair looks best when it’s at its two- or three-day unwashed point, which conveniently forbears any shower necessities for the sake of style. Cats’ obsession with licking the part of my hair that transitions from shaved to long hurries this process along, even if my head then does smell like meat-spit.
In my a-hole college days, I became infamous for the “sleep-avoidance” conversational technique, which basically involved willing myself to pass out whenever my sex partners wanted to discuss the future. I’ve gotten way better at communication since then (I ÔÇª hope) but I still hate having important, potentially fraught relationship discussions when my brain is getting all gooey and tired right before bed.
I think it’s a little unfair, actually, because my mouth is often divorced from the rest of me at that point, and i occasionally cannot remember what was even discussed the night before, which leads to even more terrible relationship talks that next evening. It’s a terrible emotions-spiral, and as far as I know, cats want none of it. Bless them.
Pets are also unlikely to humblebrag at you about how their quarterlife crisis is more traumatic.
Okay, I know this list is supposed to be why cats/dogs/strange ponies are better cuddlers than humans, but let’s face it: Sometimes we want to be kickin’ up in bed with a hottie and no one has responded to our OKCupid account in months. Even if you wouldn’t choose to snugg your furry friend over a bro-night-stand like I would, it’s eminently lovely to have a being around who adores you for you, even if that “you” mostly includes “your cat-food-opening opposable thumbs.”
As cheesy as it sounds, sometimes waking to the warm, comforting weight of a terrier who hates everyone else in the world sacked out on your boobs makes you feel like everything is going to turn out all right. And that’s pretty great.
This is a genuine concern in my neighborhood.