If you're a cat owner, this is probably an all-too-familiar scenario: You want to spoil your kitty with a bed as comfortable as your own (and get that eyesore of a cardboard box out of your living room). You anxiously await the delivery. And when you finally plop the cat bed down in front of your persnickety feline, all you get is a curious sniff and then it's back to their favorite cardboard box.
But it doesn't have to be that way! With a few tips and tricks (and seeing things from your cat's perspective,) you can get your cat to finally use that bed you bought.
Make the Bed Appealing
Lure your picky feline to the bed by sprinkling it with their favorite treats or a bit of fresh catnip. If your cat responds to it, catnip is a great way to trigger your cat's interest in something new and encourage them to play and roll around in the bed. And, as an added bonus - cats tend to curl up and take a nap after their catnip "high" ends, and they're more likely to choose the new bed.
Once your kitty willingly steps into the bed, hold a treat up until he sits down. Give him the treat and some praise as soon as he does.
Don't force your cat to sit or lie down in the bed if it doesn't want to, as this can cause negative associations with the bed. Leave a sprinkling of his favorite treats to entice your kitty to come back later.
Many cats are also comforted by their own scent, as well as the scent of their owners. Try leaving an old T-shirt that you've worn in the bed, or a blanket that your cat is especially fond of cuddling up to.
Location, Location, Location
Place your kitty's bed in a spot where he already likes to sleep so he'll be more likely to use it.
- For kitties who like to sleep high up or in elevated spots, try placing the bed on a piece of furniture, like a bookshelf or windowsill, or on the tier of a cat tree, as demonstrated above with our Fruit Tart Cat Bed!
- Choose a quiet, low-traffic area away from noise and other pets. Putting the bed up high can help keep your cat away from dogs and toddlers.
- A lot of cats like sleeping in warm, sunny spots, so place the bed in an area of your home that gets a lot of sun during the day.
Choose the Right Bed
When it comes to picking the right bed for your cat, pay attention to where and how your cat likes to sleep to help determine which bed they might prefer to cuddle up in.
- If your cat likes to stretch out when she sleeps, choose a bed large enough to allow her to stretch as far as she wants - consider a flat, rectangular bed with lower sides so they can easily stretch out.
- If your cat prefers to sleep in "safer" more protected areas, like under your bed or tucked away in your closet, choose a hooded, cave-like bed or a bed with higher sides.
- If you have a senior kitty, a heated cat bed (or self-warming cat bed) may appeal to older cats who tend to suffer from discomforting arthritis.
- Cats that like to sleep curled in a ball may like a rounder, softer bed to snuggle in with raised sides to help hold in their body heat.
Make Other Spots Undesirable
If your kitty is sleeping on your laundry, bed or other furniture and you'd prefer not to have cat hair on your fresh laundry, make those spots undesirable for the cat using harmless deterrents so they'll be more likely to prefer sleeping in his own bed.
- Cover the spots with aluminum foil or upside-down plastic carpet runners.
- Spray the areas you don't want your cat to sleep in or scratch with natural citrus spray made from orange and lemon peels and water, or apple cider vinegar and water, which cats don't like the smell of and tend to avoid. They are natural and non-toxic to cats and humans. Be sure not to use essential oils, as certain types are known to be toxic to cats. And never spray your cat directly.
- Block your cat's access to "forbidden" sleeping spots with physical barriers like pet gates, or close the door to any rooms you don't want your cat to access.
Of course, there are no guarantees in life (especially when it comes to cats), but these tips should help ensure your kitty gets sweet dreams in their new bed!