We've been there - you finally invest in a cozy cat bed and then your cat takes one look at it and walks away.
Here at tuft + paw, we are cat experts. We're intimately familiar with features that are most important to cats - we also spoke to actual cat and cat furniture experts to do some of the work for you.
We feel strongly that cats can learn to love their beds. Often, they just need some gentle guidance. In fact, we’re so confident in this that we’ve got a feeling you’ll soon be able buy cat items with confidence, and even pull out some of those long-lost cat beds from storage.
Getting your cat interested in a cat bed
Convincing your cat to use their bed all boils down to making the bed as appealing as possible. We know that sounds a bit simplistic, but remember, cats are very particular about their space.
Here are our best tips to help you make your cat’s bed appealing.
1. Pick their favorite spot
Cloud 9 Cat Hammock by tuft + paw
Have you noticed that your cat has a favorite spot where they like to lounge? Maybe it’s a sunny corner in your bedroom, a particularly quiet closet, or it could even be a windowsill or on a bookshelf. When possible, the easiest way to get your cat to enjoy their bed is to consider utilizing locations they already frequent.
Keep in mind, if you place a cat bed in a high-traffic area like a living room, while this may work for canine companions, your cat will likely be much happier if you make use of a quiet and safe spot they’re already a fan of. Don't try to force them into a new area by luring them with the new bed (it won't work).
For reference, most cats tend to enjoy:
- Quiet spaces
- Low-traffic areas
- Sunny spots
- Elevated locations (furniture, bookshelves, windowsills)
- On their cat tree
2. Treats are never a bad idea
tuft + paw puff cat bed
Helping your cat create positive associations with their bed increases the likelihood that they’ll use it.
You can use catnip to entice your kitty to use their bed, or you can feed your cat treats by hand when you catch them using the bed. Either way, both scenarios make the bed much more appealing to your cat.
3. Scents help
Cats have an amazing sense of smell. With that in mind, it goes without saying that you should avoid areas of the house that have heavy scents, but you can also make use of their sense of smell by placing one of your old t-shirt in your cat’s bed to help them feel comforted by your scent.
Most cats even enjoy their own scent, so throwing in a blanket or a pillow that they’ve used frequently can further help in creating those positive associations.
Be sure that if you have multiple cats, each cat is provided with their own bed. Because cats have such a strong sense of smell, they’ll be able to tell if another cat has been using their space, which will immediately deter them for using the bed. Also, keep in mind, even if they do cuddle on one bed, each cat having their own bed is still necessary.
4. Remove other “cat nap” spots
If you make it more difficult for your cat to access their go-to nap locations, there’s a good chance your cat will start seeking greener pastures. As a result, your cat may become motivated enough to try out the new comfortable bed you just got for them.
For example, let’s say your cat is sleeping on the furniture and you prefer not to have cat hair all over your brand new sofa. The easiest way to get your cat to avoid the sofa is to spray it with a smell that cats don’t like it. Most commonly, we find that apple cider vinegar and water tends to work well. But never spray anything in your home with essential oils or synthetic fragrances since these can often be toxic to cats.
Another easy way to keep your cat away from their preferred sleeping spots is to simply block them off from it. For example, if they tend to sleep in the closet, be sure the closet door is closed. If they lounge on your bed while you’re at work, be sure to close the door to the bedroom before you leave for the day.
The point isn’t to stress your cat, but gently guiding to showing how comfortable and cozy the bed can be.
5. Choose the right bed
Instead of buying the best looking bed, we recommend taking the time to see how your cat actually enjoys sleeping and making your decision based on that information.
For example, some cats enjoy curling up into tight spaces, while other cats enjoy lounging and spreading out. You’ll find that some cats favor soft, cozy surfaces, while others gravitate towards a space with a little more structure and support. Some cats like sleeping in an open space (i.e. a donut style bed), vs some like to be enclosed (i.e. in a cat cave type bed)
Our Top Cat Bed Recommendations
For those kitties who enjoy a soft, comfortable space - we'd recommend the Nuzzle bed
If you have a cat who seems to gravitate towards lounging in their bed with plenty of space, the Kip bed is our top choice.
You can find some enclosed beds that create a more cave-like setting, like our award-winning Stellar cat bed. Be careful with this option, because although it looks really cool - it's only suitable for those cats who are comfortable exploring enclosed spaces (around half of cats in our experience)
Troubleshooting: What if my cat still doesn’t like the bed?
Convincing your cat about their bed will take time and patience. Cats are known for their stubborn behaviour and they are also known for being particular about their environment. It's unlikely to find your cat immediately curled up inside a new bed.
You’ll need to keep trying different methods and tactics until your cat comes to realize that their bed is a safe and comfortable spot to curl up in for a little nap.
A combination of location, treats, scents, picking the right bed, and making those other cat nap locations more difficult to utilize should help you with getting your cat used to their new bed.