Tip Of The Day: Your Bed Is For Sleeping, Not Playing
I think we’ve all been there.
It’s a few minutes before bed, you’re tired, and your cat is wired. All you want to do is to go to sleep, but that is impossible until you wear out your cat. Solution: Grab a cat toy and play in bed, or play a quick game of “mouse” under the covers (you know, when you move your hand under your sheets).
Unfortunately, as convenient as those solutions may be, they also reinforce a bad habit: That it’s OK to play in bed. And according to the experts, your bed is the one place where there shouldn’t be any playtime, period.
The reason is simple: Soon your cat will associate playtime with your bed. And if he wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to play, he may end up attacking a moving foot, mistaking it for another “mouse.”
Similarly, if you encourage pouncing and other types of playing on the bed, you’re sending him the message that all of that is OK – no matter the hour. If that’s the case, you can’t be too mad or upset when your cat goes through his normal playtime routine around 3 a.m.
I’ve experienced this firsthand, and have learned a valuable lesson. While I don’t let the cats play on the bed, I usually do sit on the bed while I fly their dragonfly toy around the bedroom. Sometimes the dragonfly gets caught in the sheets hanging over the sides of the bed, and the cats go ballistic for it.
While I didn’t think anything of it at the time, I’ve now noticed Ellie playing in the sheets and blankets hanging over the sides more and more. This can happen at all hours, which can be frustrating. That said, it’s my own fault for unknowingly encouraging it.
Along those lines, my cats also love helping me when I’m changing our bed sheets. It’s almost as if I’ve sprinkled cat treats all over our bed – the moment I’m ready to put clean sheets on, both race in, jump or climb onto the bed, and start playing with the sheets. While sometimes it’s a bit of a bother, it’s definitely adorable.
That said, I don’t think I’m going to make too many changes. I really don’t mind Ellie playing on the side of the bed, so long as she’s not attacking my feet. However, if you and your cat are in the habit of playing on your bed, and that’s resulting in some undesired behaviors, it may be time to reconsider your game plan. In time, it could mean a better night’s sleep for the both of you.
Do you play with your cat on your bed? Does your cat like to play on your bed in the middle of the night? Do you think you’ll change any of your habits to change your cat’s habits? Please share in the comments!