I find that no matter how practical and warm the cat beds I bought for my two cats, they will not get into it on their own initiative. Conversely, they just love to hide into the boxes. That drives me to explore it. Why some of cats like boxes instead of a cozy cat bed?
Claudia Fink, a veterinarian at Utrecht University, The Netherlands, who is one of the cat stress researchers, has done a related experiment in an animal shelter. She divided the newly arrived domestic cat into two groups, providing boxes for one group and none for the other. She found a significant difference in stress levels between the two groups of cats. In the new environment, the cats who got the boxes clearly adapted faster and had much lower stress levels, and were more willing to interact with humans.
When cats encounter tension, the first reaction of almost all them is to go backwards and hide. Claudia Fink said: "Hiding is a cats behavioral strategy that cats take when they encounter environmental changes and stress." This is true for both cats in the wild and cats living in your home. However, the cats in the wild will hide in the tops of the trees or in the caves, and the cats in your house will seek peace in the shoe boxes.
Avoid Problems in A Safe Area
There is a key issue to point out that cats are actually not very good at resolving conflicts. Citing the words in " Domestic Cat: The Biology Of Its Behaviour": "It seems that cats don't develop conflict resolution strategies like other more gregarious species, so they may avoid fierce wars by avoiding each other or reducing activity.
Therefore, cats are more inclined to evade problems than to solve problems. In this sense, a box often represents a safe area, a place where all anxiety, hostility, and unnecessary attention disappear.
Witty observers will find that cats not only like boxes, but also relax in many quirky places. Some will lie in the sink, while others prefer to hide in shoes, bowls, shopping bags, coffee cups, empty egg boxes and other narrow spaces. This leads to another reason why cats like small boxes (and other seemingly uncomfortable spaces): they feel cold.
According to a study by the Chinese National Research Council in 2006, the thermoneutral zone of domestic cats (The thermoneutral zone refers to the ambient temperature range when the metabolic amount is minimum in the relationship between the metabolic mass of the warm-blooded animal and the ambient temperature.) is 30 to 36 degrees Celsius. Within this range, cats will feel comfortable without generating unnecessary heat to maintain body temperature, or to consume metabolic energy to cool down. This temperature range is just about 6.7 degrees Celsius higher than the human thermal neutral zone, so in a summer, you don't be surprised if a neighbor's cat lie in the middle of the asphalt road.
This also explains why many cats like to lie in small boxes and other strange narrow spaces. Corrugated cardboard is a good insulation material, and the narrow space makes the cat have to huddle, which in turn helps it to retain heat. In fact, the Chinese National Research Council's study also found that the temperature around most cat cave bed is around 22 degrees Celsius, which is about 10 degrees Celsius lower than the lowest temperature of the cat's hot neutral zone.
In this ways, the reason why cats don’t like to sleep in the cat bed may be lack of security or not enough warm.
The cat bed styles are novel and diverse, and all kinds of colors, shapes and functions are available. I always think that my two cats must like it very much if I purchase one. However, contrary to expectations, my cat's brain circuit looks very different from me. I’m seeking the methods to make my two cats love the cat bed I bought for them.
I have tried many ways and now show you some of effective one as follows:
- Put catnip in the cat bed. (★★★)
- Buy a semi-enclosed cave bed to keep it warm and make it feel safe. (★★★★)
- Put its favorite snacks into the cat bed. (★★★★)
- Put cat bed where where it likes to lie and let it get used to it. (★★)
- When you cat is in a deep sleeping, put it into its bed. (★★★)
Well note, If you choose the 1st method, please make sure that your cats are crazy about catnip, and if you try the 4th way, please be mentally prepared, the cat may wake up at the moment you release the hands. If you are going to purchase a cat bed, I propose you buy a emi-enclosed cat bed or cat cave, which can keep you cats warm and make them feel safe, especially in the cold winter.
It is normal that your cats are not used to the cat cave at first due to the unfamiliar smell. You can leave it ventilated for a while until the smell dissipates. If it still doesn't work, try other ways put in above. All of the above methods need a process of adaptation for your cats. You know patience is important.
Cats are so cute and naive, they deserve the best. Lots of cat parents like me are always concerned about the health and safety of own cats. Thinking of yourself as Santa Claus , preparing a warm comfortable cave bed as a Xmas gift for you lovely cats is all parents’ aspirations.
Do you have any other methods to help your cats fit the cat bed?