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Home > Cats > How to Get Your Cat to Sleep in a New Bed: 7 Easy Tips & FAQ

How to Get Your Cat to Sleep in a New Bed: 7 Easy Tips & FAQ

cat sleeping peacefully in its bed

Where your cat sleeps might not matter to you, but a sleeping kitty is a major inconvenience in some houses. You want to be able to work at your desk without having a furry paperweight in the way. Or you’re tired of finding cat hair all over your dining room table.

You splurged on a cat bed, but your kitty doesn’t want anything to do with it. Before tossing the bed or passing it along to a friend, check out our tips on getting your cat to sleep in a new bed.


Before You Start

Now is an excellent time to remind yourself that cats aren’t dogs. There’s a limit to how much they can be trained. But with the right amount of patience and humor, you can probably get your cat to sleep in their new bed, at least sometimes.


The 7  Tips on How to Get Your Cat to Sleep in a New Bed

1. Choose the Right Cat Bed

Shopping for a cat bed is overwhelming. They come in all shapes, sizes, fabrics, and colors. Some are rectangles with sides, while others look like a bowl. And then there are the hooded “igloo-style” beds. How are you supposed to know what your cat will like?

Does your cat gravitate toward the same plush blanket at nap time? Do they like to hide under boxes or furniture when they sleep? Do they head for warm places like near a heating vent?

A cat that likes to burrow may like an enclosed cat bed. Most cats curl up when they sleep, so a circular or bowl-shaped bed may be better than something square-shaped. Kitties that love warmth and sunlight might appreciate a heated cat bed.

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2. Bribe Your Kitty with Treats

You can try luring your cat to their new bed with treats. Sprinkle a few treats inside their bed, so they have to enter to eat. Once they’re in bed, give them another treat, and pet them. They’ll come to associate their bed with treats and attention from you, making it a more attractive place to be.

Once they come to their cat bed on their own, you can cut back on the treats to one or two at a time. You’ll probably have a better chance of success if you use a “high value” treat that your cat only gets when they come to their bed.

3. Whip Out the Catnip

Catnip is a powerful attractant for some kitties. When cats smell catnip, it triggers the “feel good” receptors in their brain. And when consumed, catnip can cause a wired kitty to mellow out.

You can spray their bed with a catnip-infused spray or sprinkle dried catnip. They may come to the bed and rub their bodies and head on it. It could be their new favorite place to chill! Alternatively, you could also place catnip-filled toys on or in the bed.

Beautiful cat with bright orange eyes rolling, staring, playing with catnip on white background
Image Credit: Scalia Media, Shutterstock

4. Elevate the Cat Bed

Cats are like noisy neighbors; they need to know what is happening at all times. Some cats like to sleep up high where they feel safe and can keep an eye on things. Cats may prefer elevated refuges to get away from dogs, children, and a busy house.

Find a safe, sturdy area to place your cat’s bed. A wide windowsill, a platform on a cat tree, or a bookshelf can all work. Be sure to clear the area so your cat can’t knock over anything like a plant or lamp when they jump into bed.

5. Make Other Sleeping Options Unattractive

Cats are persistent and may keep returning to their favorite nap spots, even when that’s not the new bed you spent good money on. You can make their other sleeping areas less attractive.

Cats do not like certain scents, including orange and lavender. You can spray a cat deterrent spray wherever you don’t want your cat to go. They may naturally gravitate to their bed when they have fewer desirable sleeping areas.

While your cat is unlikely to eat a spring of lavender or a piece of orange, be aware that both can cause nausea and vomiting if consumed.

white and black cat lying on pet bed
Image Credit: Ryland Dean, Unsplash

6. You Might Need Multiple Beds

Some cats are more finicky than others. A cat that loves sleeping on the windowsill might suddenly start sleeping under an end table. As pet owners, we’re often left scratching our heads trying to decode kitty behavior. You might need to place multiple beds in different areas of your home and let your cat choose which one they want.

You don’t have to go overboard with this. Try placing one bed where the action is, like your living room or den. Then place a second bed in a quieter location. Your kitty can decide if they want to keep an eye on you or go off by itself for a deep sleep.

7. Make the Cat Bed Smell Like Home

The scent of a new bad may be off-putting or unfamiliar to your cat. It could smell like the factory where it was made or the store you bought it from. Cats gravitate toward familiar smells that make them feel safe. You might need a few days to make the bed smell like “home.” An easy way to do this is to place a shirt you’ve worn—but haven’t yet washed—on the bed. Your scent will transfer to the fabric on the bed and make it more inviting to your kitty.

hairless cat curious hepper nest bed liner sphynx


Frequently Asked Questions

Why Do Cats Sleep So Much?

The “drowsy cat” persona is more fact than fiction. The average pet cat sleeps an astonishing 15 to 20 hours per day. It’s a myth, however, that cats are nocturnal. They’re crepuscular, which means they’re more active at dawn and dusk.

They nap off and on throughout the day and night. Your cat’s sudden energy spurts in the evening and first thing in the morning are a matter of instinct. Wild cats hunt for prey during these hours.

sleeping cozy cat in hepper nest bed

What’s the Best Material for a Cat Bed?

Most cats appreciate a plush, soft bed. Some less expensive cat beds will have scratchy fabrics. If you don’t want to sleep in it, your cat probably won’t.

It’s worth the money to buy a cat bed that has a removable liner or cover that can go in the wash.

What Size Cat Bed Should I Buy?

Cat beds are a one-size-fits-all proposition for the most part. Cats can contort themselves and may need a smaller bed than you think. Measure the space your cat takes up when they’re napping and go from there. Cats only need a few inches of wiggle room and feel snug and safe in smaller areas.



You can make a new bed more attractive to your cat by placing treats, catnip, and clothes that smell like you on the bed. You can also make other resting spots unattractive with orange and lavender scents. Setting realistic expectations will ease your frustrations. While your cat may frequent their bed occasionally, they may not use it daily.

Featured Image Credit: Aleksandar Cvetanovic, Unsplash

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