My Cat Stopped Sleeping On My Bed

Many cats like to move their prime sleeping spots around from time to time. For some, this happens daily and for others it might only happen occasionally. Tammy G. writes:

My cats, Camo & Shuga, ALWAYS slept with me. Since our move from the East Coast to Central America, Shuga refuses to sleep on the bed with Camo and I, despite my efforts to get her up on the bed. What do you think would cause her to be defiant?

Tammy, you have to begin by reframing your own thoughts on this matter a bit. Shuga isn't refusing anything and she's not being defiant. She's being a cat. Cats like to make their own choices about where they sleep. Trying to force her to sleep on the bed with you will only result in her being less likely to sleep there. You have to give Shuga the gift of allowing her to be her. Just like with a person, the less you try to force your desires on her, the more loved she will feel and the more she will bond with you. In this case, it may seem counter-intuitive, but it really isn't. You remember the old adage, "If you love something, set it free", right?

Cats choose their sleeping spots in a variety of ways, but the choice is mostly governed by temperature, comfort, scent and security. Those last two are closely tied. If there's a strange new scent or a new detergent being used to launder the bedclothes, some cats will avoid it because it doesn't fit the "safe" profile in their scent rolodex. 

There could also be a bit of a power struggle between Camo and Shuga for prime space in the new place. Cats like the time-share model for sleeping spots, so maybe they've decided that Camo "owns" the bed space at night. Watch the two of them interacting and you'll probably see them negotiating for prime real estate - the sunny window seat or the highest spot in the room. You want to make sure there are plenty of equal spaces for them to "own" so their subtle competition doesn't escalate.

So, Tammy, our advice is to relax and enjoy your two cats on their own terms. Isn't that what you'd ask of your friends? We wish you all the best!