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Now for some really useful advice on the subject of cat beds...
How to Get a Cat to Sleep in a Basket
If you are a cat owner you have undoubtedly chanced upon a basket that you thought your cat would look charming in. You picture the wee beastie curled up, purring softly and drifting into dreamland in the charming wicker bed you found at a pet emporium or import store.
But it doesn’t always work out the way you planned.
If you did purchase that beautifully made (and very pricey) basket and presented it to him, cooing in your most loving voice, it is quite likely that he gave it a perfunctory sniff and flashed a look of thinly veiled contempt at you before stalking off to the kitchen to check the kibble bowl.
You may have tried sprinkling the interior of the basket with catnip, or arranging one of your favorite older t-shirts in the bottom to make it more appealing. But these measures rarely have any effect on the cat’s total disregard for the thing.
You are going about this in the wrong way.
What you need to do is find a basket in a second hand store, or one that is on sale for a fraction of its original price. I don’t know how cats know when you have spent a fortune on something for them, but they do. And it is almost certain to render the thing contemptible in dear old Fluffy’s eyes. So. Rule one – get it cheap. It also helps if you feel it doesn’t go with the rest of your things.
Next, when you get the thing home, don’t show it to the cat. That is, pretend it’s something that you don’t want cat hair on, and put it somewhere that the cat isn’t supposed to go. Waggle your finger in an admonitory fashion if you see him casting curious looks in the direction of the basket. Move it to a place he’s really, really not supposed to go. Arrange some dried sunflower heads in it, or try putting in a bunch of back issues of Architectural Digest. Be sure to hum a happy tune and voice expressions of delight with the results of you’re your efforts. Something like “Ah! Doesn’t that look lovely,” will do nicely. Then take whatever you’ve put in the basket out and walk out of the room.
If you have done your work correctly, and avoided throwing surreptitious glances at the cat to ascertain if he’s watching, (he absolutely will be, rest assured) he will immediately go to take possession of the thing that has been hogging your attention – which of course, is rightfully his. But don’t be hasty. Wait a bit before returning to the room that contains the basket. Restraint will yield gratifying results. When you do go back in, there is one very important thing to remember. Under no circumstances should you appear pleased at his having got into the basket. On the contrary!
Cross your arms over your chest. Here he is, sitting in the very basket for which you had such high hopes for as a receptacle for your things. You should say something moderately to seriously grumpy. (Each cat is different – some require more resistance than others.) “Oh Fluffy, I did so want that basket for my Beanie-Baby collection,” for instance.
At this point, if you have followed my instructions, your cat will narrow his eyes in that self-satisfied manner that indicates he is experiencing the pleasure having got one over on you and will subside into a posture of slumber and complete the picture you had envisioned when you first laid eyes on his new bed. Victory is yours! Congratulations!
photo © Geonni Banner