How to get your cat to love their bed
by Ontario SPCA and Humane Society | Cat Care | February 27, 2023
You’ve decided the old, worn-down cardboard box your cat adores is ready for an upgrade. After a bit of research, you’ve selected what you think is the purr-fect bed for your favourite feline. So why does she turn up her nose, flip her tail and snuggle somewhere else? Keep reading to learn how to get your cat to love their new sleeping accommodations and see how the Ontario SPCA and Pet Valu are working together to give cats their very own “cabins.”
Location is important
Consider carefully where you place the new kitty bed. Location is crucial. The best recommendation is to “put the bed in the sun,” suggests Megan Holmes, Animal Behaviour Coordinator with the Ontario SPCA & Humane Society. Holmes also advises that cats like to feel safe where they sleep so consider placing the bed in an area where small kids and other animals cannot access.
Sleep style determines bed style
Like their humans, cats have distinctive styles of sleeping. Some like to sprawl out, some like to be curled up and others like to be in an enclosed space. Keep their sleeping style in mind when choosing a new bed. A sprawler will probably prefer a large flat bed, a round bed would be for the curled-up kitty and a cave-style bed would be the preference of a cat who enjoys enclosed spaces. Others enjoy sleeping up high so they can see everything around them.
Make it safe and stable
“Many cats feel more secure when they are above the activity in the room. So some cats may feel safer and more comfortable resting higher up. If a bed is placed on a shelf or ledge, make sure it is secured so it won’t fall off with the cat inside,” suggests Holmes. If the bed isn’t in a stable spot, chances are your feline friend won’t go near it.
Appeal to their senses
“Re-using your cat’s bedding is a good idea, as is using a small article of clothing of a favourite person,” says Holmes. “Cats like familiar scents.”
Placing a treat on the bed might also convince your cat to give their new bed a try. Sprinkling catnip on the bed may or may not work, depending on how your cat reacts to catnip. It makes some cats hyper, so if that is the case, your cat may not want to sleep in the bed as they will be too busy running around the house.
Keep it paws-itive
Forcing your cat to sit or lie down in the bed will only give them a negative association with the bed. Let them come to the bed on their own. Once they step into the bed, reward them with a treat. Or leave some treats on the bed when they come back to it later.
Before spending money on that plush kitty bed that you think is awesome, try a cardboard box or a box lid and put a towel, blanket, or your cat’s preferred material in the box. Many cats are quite happy with a box.
Learn more about cat cabins, here.
If you are convinced a new bed is necessary, keep the transition positive. Ensure the location is
familiar, warm, safe, and stable, entice your feline friend with scents that appeal to them and provide treats when they come into the bed. With patience and consistency, they may learn to love that new sleeping space.
Speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves
Keep up the good work speaking for the ones who can’t speak for themselves. A society who cares for their animals is a better society. Thanks for your good work!