In general the best cat beds are off the ground, in sunny and quiet locations, and there are several options with varying textures. The perfect resting spot for your cat may not even be a bed, but a folded towel or cardboard box depending on your cat's preferences.
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Elevate the Bed
Each of my 5 cats have several different favorite sleeping and resting spots. What they all have in common is that they are not on the floor. This is a common mistake I see when touring a client's home. Lots of cat beds on the floor that the cat does not use. Take that same bed and elevate it onto a shelf and all of a sudden, you might find a cat inside. Lily's calming donut bed, pictured above, is on a table. That same bed on the floor would not be occupied.
For seniors and cats with mobility issues, you might keep the cat bed on the ground. If you do elevate it, ensure it's still easily accessible. A few inches off the ground may make a difference in the level of attractiveness to a cat.
Every now and then, one of my cats is resting on the floor, typically on the rug.
Cardboard, wool, fleece, paper, denim and cotton are some favorite options. Offering your cat choices is important. Lily likes to sleep in the window hammock or her calming donut bed. Oscar likes his cardboard box (free from Chewy with a case of canned food) or his tunnel (see below pic). Maya sleeps in the Sleepypod Pet Bed (also a carrier) or on a wall shelf. Each of my cats has several favorite spots, different from the other cats. These beds are comforting because they retain your cat's scent. Every now and then, they might share a few spots, but they each have beds that are just theirs, which they seem to respect.
Where is the best spot? Many of my cats like to be by the window in the sun, bird watching. Cat trees like the one pictured below, are best in front of windows. Adding a window hammock is great too, as long as it's safely secured.
Other good spots are on your bed or couch. During the day, I put Oscar's donut tunnel on my bed and that's where he likes to hangout. Our living room has approximately 20 different possible resting spots. There's cardboard boxes on a table, a towel on a chair, and by the windows, there's several cat trees and boxes as options. Wall shelves can also make great resting spots.
Quiet areas should also be considered since your cat spends a lot of their day sleeping.
The best way to find out what your cat likes is to give her options and see what she chooses. Cats will sometimes spend a lot of time in one spot, maybe months, then move on to the next favorite spot. It took Oscar 6 months to go inside that donut tunnel, but it's now his favorite. Be patient, provide options, and let your cat decide.
Jennifer Van de Kieft is a Certified Advanced Feline Training & Behavior Professional residing in NYC and providing virtual behavior consultations worldwide.