Cats sleep on average 12-16 hours per day, which is an awful lot of rest time for such a small creature.
So they need somewhere comfortable and safe to lay down their head. If yours is sleeping anywhere but their own bed, have outgrown their old model or you’ve splashed out on a new plush one for them, you may be having some trouble changing their habits.
Cats generally aren’t keen on unfamiliar places, especially when it comes to changing their comfort habits and sleeping patterns.
The good news is that you can take some steps to ensure they will be sleeping there in no time.
Before your cat uses their new bed
Cats don’t want to be disturbed when sleeping. And, they will not even entertain the idea of going into their bed if it is not right. This could be for any reason.
Choose a quiet spot away from any distractions where they may be bothered by noise, other animals or people. Think about whether the bed suits them too. If they like spreading out when asleep, that small restrictive doughnut bed won’t appeal to them.
Same applies to if they like to be elevated, covered up, able to see out or in a really warm spot.
How to make your cat use its own bed
Use positive reinforcement
Lure our cat to its bed by using treats or toys and reward them when they go into it. Over time, extend the duration in which they have to be in the bed in order for them to get the treat.
This will draw them towards the bed and ensure they spend some time there. And they’ll eventually realise that it is actually a very comfortable place to be.
Use comforting items
Do they sleep on your bed at the moment, all cuddled up? Do they love attention? Your smell will often be a comforting aspect for your cat, so leave an old t-shirt or jumper in the bed so they are more likely to be drawn towards it.
Make other places undesirable
Use harmless deterrents to make their favourite spot uncomfortable, such as laying down a material like tin foil or bubble wrap which they can’t lie on. You could also spray with a citrus oil which is unappealing but won’t harm them.
This means doors closing, gates installed and other ways to make it physically impossible for your cat to go where they want to. They will choose where is second best until they actually prefer it. Don’t remove their favoured cardboard box or laundry basket just yet though, as this could cause stress.
My cat won’t sleep in their bed. What can I do?
The likelihood is that the bed isn’t right for them, so they maybe don’t like how covered up they are, or they aren’t warm enough, or it is in a busy part of the house.
Cats are often very fussy creatures so won’t just put up with something if it isn’t right
You may have to experiment with a few types of bed before you hit the jackpot, as well as moving the bed around to get that place which is just right.
If you still have no luck after weeks of trying with different beds and positionings, you may just have to resort to the fact that cats are free thinkers who simply do what they want. The bed could be perfect, but they just simply don’t want to use it.