Do Cats Really Need Beds?
Because sleep is so important to cats, providing multiple sleeping spots is crucial to your cat's health. Just think how hard it is for us to function if we don't get a good night's rest, and we don't sleep as much as cats do!
Every cat is different. When they're not sprawled across our chest, some prefer to sleep on high perches, others like enclosed spaces. Cats are also territorial, and in a multi-cat household, cats will claim certain sleeping spots as their own. Like big cats in the wild, your cat will gravitate toward places that are warm, comfy, safe, and quiet.
Sure, cats may enjoy sleeping on our furniture, but giving your cat his own bed is a necessity. Try placing a fleece blanket on your couch or a cardboard box on the floor and watch how fast your cat claims it as his own. Ever have a cat sneak into a drawer or a laundry hamper for a cat nap? Cats will always instinctively seek out comfy places to sleep, even if it may not be the most ideal place for you or your cat.
Providing your cat with his own bed satisfies his primal need for a sleeping place to call his own. It will also keep you from going crazy. A cat bed can be washed, meaning it's easier to get rid of cat hair and dander. And while a friendly cat will always enjoy being around his human, your cat will still have his own space to go to when you're too busy to be a warm lap for him to sleep on.
My Cat Won't Sleep on His Cat Bed!
Buying the right bed will go a long way toward encouraging your cat to sleep in it. However, you may sometimes have to think like a cat in order to get him to do what you want. There are two things to think about: location and smell.
You'll want to find a place that's away from foot traffic, partially hidden, yet still allows your cat to observe the room whenever he wants. For example, behind a curtain, under a table, or beside a chair. If your cat likes to lounge in high places, put his bed on top of a dresser or cabinet. Bonus points for finding a spot that's also near a source of warmth, like a patch of sunshine or a fireplace during the winter.
Once you find a good location, the next step is to encourage your cat to claim the new bed as his own. To a cat's sensitive nose, a brand new bed smells unfamiliar and strange. Making it smell safe and comforting will go a long way toward getting your cat to sleep on it. You can use treats or toys to pique your cat's interest in the bed and praise him when he steps inside it. Catnip will encourage him to rub his scent on it. If he is already sleeping on a favorite towel or blanket, turn it into the bed's lining. For cats who are particularly bonded with their human, tuck an old shirt into the bed. Anything that smells like his favorite human has to be a good thing, right?
How Do You Choose the Right Cat Bed?
The purrfect cat bed is warm, comfy and safe. Look for one made with a quality material that is not only soft and easy to clean, but can also keep your cat warm during the winter and cool during the summer. Many cats instinctively like to burrow into enclosed spaces like under a blanket, inside a drawer or even a box. A bed with high walls or a fully-enclosed cat den will satisfy their need for that extra sense of security. Size matters, too. If you have a big cat, you'll want to get a larger bed. For older cats with mobility issues, look for beds with extra padding and a low enough side so he can easily step into it.
Smiling Paws Pets sells a cat bed that has high, rounded sides. It's perfect for cats who like to rest their chin on something or prefer to sleep curled up with their backs against a soft support. It's washable and made from organic cotton. For cats who burrow under blankets, consider purchasing this cat cube and bed. Not only can they play or sleep inside it, you can also convert it into a bed by pressing the top down. The inner Sherpa material will keep your cat warm when it's cold outside, and during summer months, the fabric will remain cool and airy, making it a great year-round bed.
Does your cat like sleeping low on the ground or high up on a perch? If your cat has a bed, does he prefer sleeping in a rounded one or an enclosed den? Let us know in the comments!