How Do I Get My Cat to Use a Cat Bed?
With as many different cats as there are in the world, there are also many different owners and different ways that people may treat their cats. Some owners are almost entirely hands-off, only providing food, water, and attention as necessary and otherwise letting their cats do as they please. While this might lead to one of the more relaxed relationships between pet and owner, it can become problematic when the cat learns behaviors that it shouldn’t. Similarly, some owners might try to influence their cats to behave in a certain manner. This can be as simple as teaching your cat that it shouldn’t jump up on tables or counters, or it might be that you want to coax your cat to sleep in its new cat bed so the bed doesn’t end up being a waste of both space and money.
Trying to coerce a cat into behaving in a certain manner can be tough, and it will eat away at your patience if you expect quick results. No matter what method you choose to work with when you are trying to get your cat to use a cat bed, you are always going to want to be patient. When you are patient and supportive of your cat, your cat will likely be more inclined to do what you are urging it to do, helping you to get the results that you want.
There are a few different ways that you can go about trying to encourage your cat to use its brand-new cat bed. Some methods might work a little bit better with some cats, rather than others, while other cats might be more responsive to certain methods of coaxing. The method that will work best for you will be entirely dependent on your cat and what your cat responds best to.
Think About What the Cat Wants
One of the best ways that you can help your cat feel inclined to use the bed is to place the cat bed in a place that would be appealing for your cat to sleep. Parts of this method will only work if you have already owned the cat for a little bit and the cat has settled into finding places that it enjoys sleeping in. If you are preparing for a new cat that you have not yet adopted yet, you will want to skip to another method.
First things first, you are going to want to keep a close eye on where your cat already enjoys sleeping. Most cats enjoy sleeping in places that offer some degree of warmth, seclusion, and often have a good vantage point so that the cat can see over the rest of the house. If your cat has a favorite spot it enjoys sleeping, you shouldn’t place the bed directly onto that spot quite yet, as this might feel intrusive to the cat. Instead, you will want to place the bed close by, so that the option is there and visible to your cat, but it will not necessarily be in the cat’s way.
If your cat doesn’t have a particular place that it enjoys sleeping, you should think about areas that cats tend to be drawn to relax in. Most cats will prefer to have their cat beds in a low-traffic area of the house. If there is too much foot traffic from either people or animals, the cat might feel as if the area you placed the bed is not “safe” because the cat will be too visible. Instead, you will want to opt for an area that is a little bit out of the way, but still offers the cat the chance to peer across the corner to keep an eye on what everyone else is doing. A good example of a place to put the cat bed would be in a spare bedroom, where the bedroom isn’t often used, but it will be close enough to the center of the house that the cat would feel as if it can keep an eye on everyone.
If your cat is like most cats, it will also appreciate both heights and areas where the sunlight streams in through the windows. These are also prime locations for a cat bed. If you notice that your cat isn’t taking an interest in the cat bed, you may have to make a few different attempts to move the bed into a more desirable spot for the cat. It can take a bit of guesswork but it will be worth it in the end.
Getting the Cat Used to the Bed
Chances are that when you purchase a cat bed, the bed itself is going to be filled with all sorts of unfamiliar scents. If your cat has never had a cat bed before, the entire concept might seem strange to the cat. There will be a period of breaking in the bed to the house, as the smells from the manufacturing of the bed fade away and the bed gradually begins to absorb the smells of the house. There are ways, however, that you can speed up this natural process.
First, you will want to give the bed as best of a wash as you can when you first get it. This will help take some of the edge off the strange smells the bed might be carrying from the production process. Once the bed is fully washed, you will want to place some of your cat’s favorite toys in the bed. These should be toys that your cat frequently plays with, as the goal of this step is going to be to add your cat’s scent to the bed so the cat can familiarize itself with it. Even if you are impatient, do not pick up the cat and carry it to the bed. You need to let the cat explore its new cat bed at its own pace. When you notice the cat going into the bed and resting there, you should give it treats, pets, and praise. This helps the cat to associate being in the bed with positive experiences, helping to reinforce your cat’s desire to rest there. Before you know it, your cat will be resting in its brand-new cat bed.