Tall Beds: The Bane Of Your CH Cat’s Existence?
I’ll admit it. I don’t think I’ll ever own a “grown-up” bed.
By grown-up bed, I mean one that consists of more than a mattress and box spring on the floor. One that has legs, a headboard, and – dare I imagine – a fancy comforter that makes me feel like I’m living in a hotel or a magazine.
But to be honest, I’m willing to give up all of that.
After adopting CG and later Ellie, I came to the realization that when it comes to beds, lower is better – not to mention that any comforter I own would be peppered with claw holes immediately and ripped apart eventually.
Such is the life of someone living with cerebellar hypoplasia cats. Or so I thought.
But I’ve learned that my solution to this overall issue isn’t the only choice. In fact, there are many options available to folks who do have a “grown-up” bed and want to accommodate their CH cats, too.
This realization happened the other day when Dori posted on Facebook:
“Need some suggestions. We have a very high bed and the kitties love coming in for a kitty snuggle fest… Problem is, Charlotte is constantly wanting to get down to explore or do her thing. She has a tendency to fall and fly across the floor and I’m fearful she’s going to hurt herself. It makes for an unrestful night because we are always listening for her. I could use pillows on the floor but is there anything else besides $50 worth of pillows I could use? I hate to ban them from the room but I’m considering.”
The trouble is, how do we enable our special needs cats to get on and off our beds safely?
The community was quick to come to Dori’s aid. A number of people offered great suggestions, and it made me realize that I’m not the only one dealing with a similar issue – not to mention finding ways to come up with solutions.
So let’s say you have a “grown-up” bed, which from now on is going to be called what it is: A bed. How do you accommodate your CH cats? Here are a number of solutions:
If your cat has a favorite landing spot, consider laying a padded mattress topper, folded comforter, or dog bed in the area. That way your cat’s landing will be padded.
However, that may or may not work, depending on your cat’s personality. Some cats will welcome the padding. Others will be curious or suspicious and avoid it. Still others will decide they don’t want to jump off that way any more and will decide on a new route, mid-leap (or slide/fall – depending on your cat’s ability).
To cut back on your cat’s number of exit options, one idea is to push the bed into a corner of the room, which limits the number of sides your cat can choose to jump off.
But sometimes even that may not be enough. Even if it does work, those ideas focus only on how to safely help a cat off your bed, not how to empower him to get on your bed on his own.
One solution that accommodates both scenarios is to place an ottoman, set of doggy stairs, or a ramp on one side of your bed. While your cat may be hesitant at first, with a little training she’ll learn to use them.
In our home, we have a small cylindrical cat condo next to our bed. It’s only about a foot high, so it’s a good “step” for our cats when they want to get on or off our bed. If you have a taller bed, slightly taller cat condos may be helpful.
And of course, you could always go my route: Put the mattress and box spring on the floor. This may not be the most ideal solution, but it is the lowest solution.
That said, “low” can mean very different things. When Matt and I moved in together, we each brought two twenty-something mattress sets to our marriage. About a year in, we decided to splurge for a new mattress set. We were thrilled, but soon realized the new mattress set was several inches taller than what the cats were used to. Consequently, they started to climb onto the bed more often – as well as asked to be pulled up.
We’ve inhibited their ability to get on and off somewhat, but they’re good sports.
One best practice I’ve learned from my own day-to-day, is that carpeting on the floor around your bed can be essential. It provides a secure, somewhat padded landing spot. And if a cat’s plans of getting off the bed do go south, at least there’s a little something between them and the floor.
Without a doubt, this will be a work in progress. Even if I don’t ever have a “grown-up” bed, I do want to make sure that our cats can safely maneuver their ways on and off our bed.
How have you helped your CH cat get on or off of your bed? Please share in the comments!