We continue our series of recommendations for new cat owners. See the entire new cat shopping list here.
Bedding choices for cats rival those for humans. There are beds of all shapes and sizes that come covered, uncovered, fuzzy, fluffy, soft, hard--you name it! Just be aware that what appeals to you may or may not appeal to your cat. You have to try and see the world from your cat's point of view in order to make good choices.
Our top recommendation for a cat bed is a small, folded, fleece blanket. It's soft and warm and it has the advantage of being easy to clean. However, some cats feel more relaxed when they sleep in a bed that has a bolstered edge that runs around the outside. Something like this:
You want to pay close attention to the size of the bed. The best cat beds are those that your cat will barely fit in when curled up. Your cat will feel the most secure there because he'll be able to feel the bed all around him, like a nest.
You should also pay attention to the material the bed's covered in. You don't want lots of loose fibers that your cat may lick up when cleaning herself. Some cats respond well to fleece material because it reminds them of their mother's belly. In fact, the material itself can inspire a cat to knead the bed. Other cats like something cooler. Unfortunately, there's a bit of trial and error involved, but don't be discouraged if your cat doesn't embrace the new bed right away. Cats often dislike change, even when it's a new, fluffy bed. Give them time to adjust before drawing any conclusions.
You're going to see lots of beds marketed to dogs first with cats listed almost as an afterthought. Don't let that put you off. Your cat won't know that you bought her a dog bed unless you slip up and tell her!
The placement of a cat bed can make all the difference in whether or not it gets used. Some cats prefer the feeling of safety that being hidden away gives them. These felines may want to sleep under a bed or inside a closet. Other cats feel safer being perched up high. Observe your cat's preferences and cater to them as best you can.
Of course, you may find that your cat enjoys sleeping anyplace other than the one you've designated for him or her. Such is the life of a cat. They enjoy making choices, and many of them will switch to a new sleeping place periodically. Don't take this as a sign of dissatisfaction. It's simply safer for a cat in the wild to sleep in a different spot from time to time. Don't forget that cats in the wild are not only predators--they're also prey. They want to feel safest when they're most vulnerable, which usually means the places where they eat and sleep.