Cats love to play and they’re usually ready for a game at any time. While a pre-bedtime playtime session is a great way to encourage your cat to sleep through the night, the one place you shouldn’t conduct that game is on your bed. Consistency is important in training and if you send the message that it’s ok to leap, pounce and play on the bed then she may also feel it’s ok to jump on your wiggling toes when you’re sound asleep in the middle of the night. If she begins to associate the bed as a giant playtime trampoline, then you can’t blame her when she sits on your chest in the wee hours of the morning and paws at your face in an attempt to rouse her favorite playmate. She may also learn it’s acceptable to attack your feet under the covers and trust me, having your cat biting your toes in the middle of the night isn’t a fun way to wake up.
In addition to the typical areas you may choose for playtime, such as the living room or family room, you can also use the opportunity to help your cat associate a particular location with a positive experience. If your cat gets nervous in the front hallway near the door, for example, you can gradually work your way up to playing in that area so she associates having fun and feeling confident in that spot.
Playtime location can be an important factor in behavior modification so use it to your advantage and don’t set your cat up to receive mixed messages. If you want the bed to be a place where you can enjoy cat cuddles, petting and napping, don’t use it as a feline playground. Additionally, if you don’t want your cat on the kitchen counter or dining room table, don’t encourage playtime there. Be consistent in your messaging.
For more information on how to effectively play with your cat, refer to any of Pam’s books.