Tips and Tricks
Has your cat ignored your new Cat Ball® or Cat Canoe® cat bed? Sometimes this happens. Here we share tips and tricks we have learned from our customers regarding these concerns.
Catnip! Some people have dusted the interior with catnip. You can always vacuum it out later on (try turning the bed inside out and shaking it first. Go outdoors to do this!)
The Bed Moves: Some people have reported that their cat seems to be afraid of the Cat Ball because it rocked or moved when the cat first started to enter it. This is a very reasonable response for a cat to have, as they are an animal that is constantly on the alert and aware of anything that is potentially threatening. We've heard of two great ways to deal with this:
Use a towel: Take a towel and roll it up into a long log, and then wrap this around the underside of the Cat Ball, creating a base that will prevent the bed from rocking when a cat enters.
Inside a bolster bed: A "bolster style" bed is the type of pet bed that has a padded, raised border all around the bed. Some people have had success placing the Cat Ball into a bolster style bed that they already had. The idea is that the padded bolster would work to reduce the amount of shifting or rocking that the Cat Ball does when a cat steps into it. You may need to reposition your bolster bed, or add a pillow or towel to get the best level of control.
Put the cat bed up high: The location must be stable so the cat does not fall off. One customer used the dining table and the cats used the bed quickly. Another customer happened to put her Cat Ball® up on the cat tree while she was vacuuming and she forgot it was there. Later on she realized it was still on the cat tree – and there were feet hanging out of it! She leaves it up there now. Our own cats also like this, so now we only select cat trees designed with a wide platform that has a raised rim. The tall, raised border helps to prevent the cat from accidentally rolling off while in the Cat Ball® cat bed.
Photo courtesy of Instagram user @greysonboo
Put the bed in a favorite place. Ideas include: sunny spot on the floor, the cat's favorite chair, your bed, a hidden place, inside a box, under a table or chair, the dining room table.
Put the bed in a socially significant location. If you watch Animal Planet's My Cat From Hell, you have heard Jackson Galaxy talk about "socially significant" locations. These are places that are important to all of your pets. Often, such locations are at intersections, such as doorways and stair landings. In my house I realized some of the socially significant locations are at places where the carpet ends up getting most worn and dirtiest. Other locations have been up high and close to activity, but not in the middle of activity. For example, Retro likes the back of the couch. He's up high, on the edge of activity, he can see what is happening- actually he can see both doorways and the stairway from this spot, and I think that is probably really important to cats. Finally, if anyone goes to fill his food he will know about it right away.
When your laundry basket is full of clothes, put the bed on top. We’ve received customer photos with this scenario a few times.
Put the bed in a warm place. One family reported that their cats would move the Cat Ball so that the large opening was in front of the floor register: the cats would reposition it so the warm air blew inside!
Put the bed next to a bed that the cats are already using. Basically you are trying to identify locations that have social significance to the cat. Another area to try is the landing of the stairs. I’ve noticed that cats often like to hang out on the stairs landing and just watch the household activity from there. If your cat does this, try placing her Cat Ball® cat bed there.
Turn it inside out. Why does this work? Maybe because it makes the thing different and therefore “new” again. With the Cat Canoe, the shape gets wider, so it might look more inviting to the cat.
Try a combination. Twix came to stay with us for a while, and I was trying to think of how to help him adjust. I realized he was hiding in our bedroom closet so I took a big, wide, solid box, put a blanket from his home on top of it, then put a Cat Ball® on top of that blanket. Then I tucked the whole thing under the clothing, so that the Cat Ball® was partially hidden behind hanging clothes. The next day I peeked in and saw his legs hanging out of the Cat Ball®! I think this worked because I selected a place he was already using (he was clearly comfortable with the closet) and I just added a comfortable, private cave that was slightly above ground.
Twix hiding in the closet inside the Cat Ball®, as described above
Do not allow children to harass the cat while she is using the bed! The Cat Ball® seems to become a place where some cats may feel safe and secure. Imagine that you are so feeling safe and comfortable that your body falls into a deep, relaxed sleep, and then suddenly a toddler comes over and starts grabbing your cave, or beating on the sides. This could be terrifying, and has potential to completely frighten the animal and could create a complete aversion.
Does your cat sit on your chair when you leave? Your chair may have social significance to a cat (plus – it is warm now!) Put the bed on your chair - and sit on it! You might need to do this several times, and do it at times when your cat is there and paying attention to you. If you are working at your desk and the cat is getting on your desk and asking for attention, this might be a good time to try the switch. Will she sit on top of the flattened Cat Ball® after you leave the chair? Next time, try opening the Cat Ball® back up, restoring the shape. Position the bed on the chair again and leave the room. Will she get into it now?
Use the bed as a toy, or as a fort. When your cat is in an active mood (typically morning and evening) and wants to play, use the bed. How? We like to use string or a fish pole toy. We suggest pulling the string slowly through the bed, or getting the cat to chase the string, then pull it through the bed. The cat should be paying attention to the string, and want to catch it so much that the cat is not thinking about where she is going and she will follow the string anywhere. See how the cat is hiding inside the Cat Ball® in this photo? He's using it like a fort, and we are encouraging him to play by dangling this string.
Another toy idea: Cats like to watch their prey move, and usually watch until the prey disappears behind something, and then they pounce. Use your Cat Ball® cat bed to hide the string. Slowly pull the string so it disappears behind the bed. Is your cat watching? Pay attention to your cat. You may need to adjust a little, just pay attention and see if you can guess the cat's behavior.
We’ve heard from some people that their cat simply does not use our cat bed design, and then eventually the cat suddenly starts using it. Cats can be mysterious.
Try these ideas and see what happens! Let me know what worked for you.