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. The question is - why?
There are a few reasons behind this behavior that might be influencing your kitty's avoidance of their comfy new bed - and some tips and tricks to train your cat to use their cat bed! Finding the right cat accessories for your favorite feline can be tricky, after all!
It smells weird.
Cats rely on smell way more than us humans do; after all, they've got twice as many scent receptors than us humans. You may notice that's how your cats investigate any new toys or treats - nose first! The smell of a new bed will be foreign and might be something they don't immediately like. They're used to your scent, the scent of their home, and find these scents familiar and comforting. One tip to get your cat to accept their new bed? Get it smellin' like home! Add a blanket or towel your cat has been laying on, or you could even use one of your sweaters, t-shirts, even a pillow case.
This familiar scent will help entice your cat into associating the bed with comfort and home.
It's not the right fit.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
The location is all wrong.
Every cat is unique and has nap-time preferences. You may notice your cat has a few favorite spots to sleep - and you can use this to your advantage when trying to get them to use their new bed. Cats tend to be creatures of habit and based on natural instincts inherited from their wild ancestors, can be somewhat predictable. As natural predators, cats tend to naturally seek height so they can easily survey their environment for potential prey. Try to observe your cat's favorite place to sleep, and place their bed there first.
- 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.
- 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.
It can also help to make other nap spots "undesirable" to your cat, especially if they tend to sleep on your laundry, fresh sheets, or other furniture you'd prefer they not sleep upon. You can do this harmlessly by covering the spots with aluminum foil or double-sided tape, blocking with physical barriers like pet gates, and even using cat-safe natural citrus oil spray to ward them off, as cats tend to dislike the scent of citrus.
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!
Do you have any tricks you use to get your cats to use their new bed?
Cover Photo via REDDIT