It’s soothing. It’s well-known that petting animals, at least dogs and cats, lowers your blood pressure and has a mentally calming effect. I’m not sure how that would work if you were petting a Boa Constrictor. But cats have a clear advantage over any other animal, as far as I’m concerned, because they purr. There is just something about that vibration that is relaxing.
In case you need to wash your hands. Just when you are at that ready-to-fall-asleep stage, when all is quiet and the cat is peacefully purring next to you, the cat will feel an urgent need for a personal grooming session. The only advantage is that if you insert a body part in front of the cat’s tongue, it will seamlessly switch between cleaning its paw and cleaning your hand. This is very useful when you’re half asleep and too lazy to make it to the sink. Unless you have a problem with cat spit.
In case you have a flea. Part of the cat-grooming process involves switching from licking to putting all their teeth together and chomping on what may or may not be a flea. There doesn’t seem to be any real flea-detection involved. It just seems like Step 2 in the Cat Grooming Manual. This can be quite disconcerting, but the good part is that if you did have a flea, it’s gone now.
They will protect you from spiders. Say what?, you ask? That’s a new one on me too. But last night, while stretched out on the couch, watching TV (the USA channel had a House marathon on…it doesn’t get much better than that!), the cat suddenly went into full Cat Alert mode. Ears perked up, neck stretched, eyes sweeping from side to side. Suddenly I saw the reason—timidly creeping over the edge of the couch was a Daddy Long Legs spider.
Normally this would result in all-out assault by the cat, and she would eat the intruder. Apparently a Daddy Long Legs is a poor excuse for an adversary. She just clamped her left paw over it and left it there until I assume it suffocated.
Now not all cats are created equal. There are some cats you should probably avoid sleeping with–like this one. But poor baby–he is so scared.