Sod the germs and the hairs, sleeping in the same bed as your pets is wonderful and heart-warming

I recently upgraded my bed to super-king size, to accommodate more comfortably my six-year-old daughter and my two cats

Shappi Khorsandi

I have photographic evidence that my pets and kids can happily share a bed ( Shappi Khorsandi )

I’m writing my column this week from Mumbai – I’m here for the Tata Literature Live! festival and have been excited about this trip for a while. It is my first time in India and I had made a long list of places I wanted to visit and restaurants I wanted to eat in.

I think I’m amongst the very few first-time visitors to this incredible country who managed to become ill BEFORE I arrived. So far all I have seen of the world’s largest democracy, of this beautiful, complex land, is a hotel room which has its purple blinds drawn. I haven’t even looked out of the window. I’m sure it’s very nice and hope to venture out soon. What I miss the most when I am away, especially when I’m poorly and feeling a bit sorry for myself, is my bed and more specifically, the warm bodies of those I share my bed with… my cats.

A recent poll of 2000 pet owners showed that two-thirds of them share a bed with their cat or dog. To some, this is gross. Understandable. I would never put out-door shoes on my bed or rub traces of fox poo on my duvet, but I will allow my cats who roam around barefoot all day, gathering filthy particles from the outside world, to jump on my bed and curl up beside me.

Sharing your bed with other mammals is utterly human in my view. I recently upgraded my bed to a super-king size, to accommodate more comfortably my six-year-old daughter and my two cats. (My son is now 12 and denies all recollection of ever sharing a bed with us. He did though, for much of his childhood. I have photographic evidence.) In the dead of the night, when I drop out of sleep for a moment, sensing these warm little bodies around me gives me the deepest sense of comfort and contentment. All of us, humans and animals, breathing love, in and out.

Not everyone has the bustle of family and friends around them. The companionship of animals can’t be underestimated. You mind less about germs when you have a mate who never minds if you’re late home, are grumpy, and is just delighted to see you.

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