I bought a cat bed, basically a basket with mattress in it but my cat refuses to sleep in it.

Instead, she sleeps under plants or on concrete.

How do I get her to sleep on her bed?


6 Answers 6


Cats and dogs become very accustomed to recognizing your scent. This also applies to items belonging to you that carry your scent. If you spend a solid amount of time with your cat and it likes to play with you etc: Then alongside the catnip I would recommend placing a recently used t-shirt of yours in the cat's bed.

The catnip relaxes the cat and makes most feel playful. This makes them feel happy and knowing/remembering that they feel happy in a certain location means they will spend more time closer to said location.

On the other hand having your scent close to the kitty will make them feel safe, this is most true if the cat has been with you for many years or since its infancy. ie. it looks up to you as a parent hopefully.

Some other helpful notes I can recommend: 1. Play with your cat a little while it is on the bed or near it from time to time and give it some love :) 2. If the cat chooses to sleep elsewhere gently move the cat to the bed and stay beside it for a few minutes whilst gently petting it. If it goes right back to sleep then mission accomplished, otherwise, you may need to rinse and repeat until you get your results.

Note that all cats will get accustomed to new sleeping spots at a different pace - all depending on their own personality! =]

Also another side note, some cats do prefer sleeping on hard surfaces. If your cat is ALWAYS falling asleep on a hard surface, consider removing any cushioning from its bed or adding something to harden it.

Good luck.

  • Good thought about offering the cat something with your own scent on it. Mine react almost as strongly to a washcloth as they do to catnip.
    – keshlam
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 3:26
  • 1
    In addition to these suggestions, if possible, move the bed to one of the cat's preferred sleeping areas also. I believe one reason cats prefer one spot over another is for its "geographic" location -- like the location has a good view, it's out of the way, it tends to get a lot of sun, and so forth, and not for it being comfortable. The cat may start using the bed then. If you don't like that location for the bed, once the cat starts using it for a while, you can try experimenting with gradually moving the bed.
    – Kai
    Commented Oct 22, 2016 at 7:14

Cats don't do something because you tell them to. Cats do what they want, and you have limited influence on steering their own voluntary behavior. Cats don't scratch things because we buy them scratching posts. We buy scratching posts because our cats keep scratching things.

  1. If your cat scratches the wallpaper and you want it to stop, put a scratching post (or mat) nearby. Your cat might not redirect its scratching behavior to a post that's on the other side of the house, but will likely favor the post if it's right next to the wallpaper that it was intent on scratching.

  2. A common trick to get your cat to stop running over your keyboard and sitting between you and the screen is to give them a nearby box:

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If you were to put that box on the other side of the room, that's too far from the hotspot (the keyboard) for the cat to divert its attention.

  1. Our latest addition to the household is excessively playful. Try as I might, I can't get him to stop playing and running around when we go to bed; and we can't just close the door because we have other cats that sleep with us. So instead, before I go to bed, I tire him out by playing with the laser until he's exhausted. I can't stop his playful behavior, but I can steer it. This has dramatically improved nighttime silence.

So, about the cat bed. You can't make your cat sleep in it. You can only offer her the option to do so. If you put the cat bed in a tactical position, near to a spot where she already likes to sleep, she may consider using the cat bed.

But if she actively prefers the concrete over the bed, there's nothing you can do about that.

Although we like to take care of our beloved pets and want them to have the best life they can; you should also observe that cats are able to make decisions for themselves.

Dogs are prone to deferring to you. If you tell them to sleep in that bed, they will sleep in that bed. They'll usually only go against your wishes if they really hate the bed.
Cats won't even consider doing something that you suggest they do. They do not register your intent. They behave based on their surroundings, not based on what you're trying to communicate.


You can't.

Sleeping is their main hobby and they will sleep wherever they like or are allowed.

In all my years of having cats i can tell you this: Buy an expensive cat bed for $99 and the cat will just ignore it, put a cardboard box right next to it by accident and they will jump in it after 20 seconds and love it.

Why? because cats are like that..

  • While i do agree with your statement, I would like to add that; for daytime napping, cats will sleep wherever as you mentioned (and mine does that too). However, at night, when its sleep time, my cat comes right to my bed and sleeps at my feet, every single night and when i wake up in the morning, she is still there sleeping. :) I believe that is what Yu Zhang wished to find assistance with -since yes, it is possible to create a sleeping habit with your pets (albeit it is a lot easier with dogs since they tend to take daytime naps far less).
    – geostima
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 21:45
  • @geostima True, my cats are not allowed to sleep in the bedroom anymore so they find their own spot now. But in the past they did sleep with me and they each had their spot and 9/10 times they would also sleep in the same room as i did at night.
    – Vahx
    Commented Jun 23, 2018 at 9:33

First, as others said, you can't.

But, try to move it in some other place. Every time I move some of my cats' scratch post in a different position (maybe just few minutes to clean behind it) my cats will fight to get on it. They seem to like thing when they change position.

Also, you can try to put it in a elevated place.


Maybe her bed is not in a comfortable location. Maybe it is because of the temperature (my cat sleeps at home only in winter; otherwise, he's always under the hedge) or because of a crowd (some like to sleep with everything "on sight," others likes hidden places) or noise, maybe there's a pipe running next to her bed that whistles and she tries to avoid that noise (or maybe there's an ultrasound you cannot hear).

My solution is to try to put her "nest" next to where she used to sleep, so she may try, but anyway don't force her.

My cat took about 4 years to start sleeping in his nest, and truth be told, he still prefers to sleep outside when it is not too cold or in a box full of old clothes under my bed.


It's probably too exposed. Female cats like to sleep in secure locations.

Try putting it in a corner and covering it up with something so she is completely hidden when she is in there.

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