My cat refuses to get on the couch or bed unless paper is provided to sit on. Why?

This is an interesting phenomenon which is discussed on the Reddit.com website. One of the users says that their cat refuses to go on the couch or bed unless there is a piece of paper on the furniture upon which he can sit as you see in the photograph.

Cat needs to sit on a piece of paper when on the couch or bed
Cat needs to sit on a piece of paper when on the couch or bed. Why? I answer the question in the article. They are my immediate thoughts. There is no guarantee that I am correct! What are your ideas? Image: Reddit user: u/Pegmelikeaman
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The $64,000 question is why? I can think of two possible reasons. The first is the more obvious one namely that the fabrics used for the couch and sofa are not to your cat’s liking. He might dislike them because they don’t like the smell or the way they feel on his feet. I think this is a little unlikely, but it is possible.

The more likely reason is that your cat is slightly insecure. A piece of paper has boundaries. Domestic cats like the feeling of security of being inside something which has boundaries.

We see this often with boxes of various sizes. Domestic cats like to squeeze inside small boxes both for the boundary that it provides and the pressure from the sides both of which provide a sense of security in my view.

There was a viral new story several years ago accompanied by pictures of cats contentedly sitting inside chalked out areas on the floor. Or the small areas were marked out with white tape. People scratched their heads. They couldn’t figure out why.

My immediate thought was that the boundaries of the marked-out area help to provide a sense of security to a domestic cat. It made them feel better. They saw an ‘illusory box’.

Cat stays inside illusory box
Cat stays inside illusory box. Photo: GABRIELLA SMITH

If I am correct, it means a domestic cats can quite easily slip into a sense of insecurity. I think this is quite possible. They live in the human world and no matter how good the human caretaker; it is still essentially an unnatural world.

It is only when they are outside in the garden (backyard) or in a wood behind the garden where their natural behaviours are fully expressed and where emotionally they are fully in balance with their surroundings.

This is why cat behaviourists such as Jackson Galaxy strongly recommend ‘catifying’ your home. He calls it ‘catification’. The word simply means making your home as natural as possible for a domestic cat. It means creating vertical climbing spaces and cosy platforms high up on the wall.

It means providing hiding places and scratching areas and other facilities to allow a domestic cat to express their natural behaviour. All these allow a cat to feel at home.

1 thought on “My cat refuses to get on the couch or bed unless paper is provided to sit on. Why?”

  1. We have had several sightings down through the years and have had our livestock killed as well! We haven’t really had livestock now in many years but we still have sightings of all sorts of wildlife! Just within the last week we have caught pics of a family of black bears, a couple of bucks, coyotes, and a rather large cat! It’s bigger than our full grown retriever dog! My neighbor says it is a bobcat however a bob cat doesn’t get that big and doesn’t have a tail like that. The face and ears are different as well! This was taken in the early evening and the camera shoots toward a shadowed area to a avoid the glare from the setting sun! The color appears grayish but the facial features are clear!

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