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How to Keep Cats Off an Air Mattress (9 Proven Methods)

Cats and air mattresses don’t mix! Not only can cats leave fur and dirt all over the mattress, but their sharp nails can easily pop them.

Of course, some mattresses are more durable than others. Sometimes, a mattress will come with a built-in protector that keeps it safe from sharp cat claws. However, most aren’t so lucky. One jump and your cat can easily pop a hole in the air mattress, leaving you with an expensive and time-consuming repair job. Sometimes, these holes can’t even be repaired at all!

Luckily, you can do a few things to keep your feline off of an air mattress. If you’ve let your cat on mattresses before, this can be a bit more difficult, especially if the air mattress has replaced a standard one.

Here, we outlined basic steps and methods for keeping your cat off of an air mattress. You don’t have to utilize all these methods, but choosing a few to try is often your best option.

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Can Cats Pop an Air Mattress?

Absolutely, cats can easily pop air mattresses, especially when they jump. It depends on the size of your cat and how big their claws are, of course. In some cases, your feline may not pop your air mattress after playing on it — that is, until their claw catches just right and busts a big hole in it.

It only takes a tiny hole for an air mattress to be completely ruined. All the air may not leak out of it at once, but you will find yourself on the floor in the middle of the night.

Therefore, we recommend preventing your cat from getting onto your air mattress at all. You never know when they may pop and ruin it.

The 9 Ways to Keep Cats Off Air Mattresses

1. Ensure That There Are Alternatives

cat in cat tree_Pixabay
Image Credit: Pixabay

If the only comfortable place for your cat to lie down is on an air mattress, it can be challenging to keep them off of it. They may be stubborn enough to ignore most of the methods on this list.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that they have alternative sleeping places available. Make sure they have a comfortable cat bed that they like to use. If they already have one but don’t use it, you likely need to invest in another option.

Some cats prefer to sleep in high places, like cat trees. In this case, investing in a tall and comfortable cat tree maybe your best option. Also, your air mattress probably won’t be elevated. So, your cat may decide that the cat tower is a better option than the air mattress without any extra interventions.

You should consider your cat’s personal needs when choosing a bed. If your cat is arthritic and has difficulty getting around, a cat tree is probably not your best option. Similarly, highly active kittens may benefit from a more interactive bed.

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2. Encourage the Use of the Alternate

Once your cat has a cat-friendly area, it’s time to convince them to use it.

We highly recommend using catnip for this step. Many cats love catnip, even if it doesn’t seem to affect them that much. You can sprinkle a bit on their bed or cat tree to encourage them to use it instead of an air mattress.

You can also use treats and play as incentives. Play is particularly useful for cat trees, but you can utilize treats for just about any sort of bed. Placing treats on the bed will get your cats interested and teach them to associate it with positive feelings.

Sometimes, even after encouragement, our cats don’t seem to like the beds that we’ve chosen for them. In these cases, it may be best to choose a different type of bed. Consider purchasing one that is enclosed (or not enclosed).

Cat trees are excellent for many active cats.

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3. Never Allow Access to the Air Mattress

You should never allow your cat on the air mattress. Restrict their access from the day that you set it up. Once your cat gets in the habit of using the air mattress, it can be nearly impossible to break them of it.

If you see your cat on the air mattress, remove them and place them onto their sleeping spot. Eventually, your cat will get annoyed at being constantly moved and may stop trying to sleep on it altogether.

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4. Make the Air Mattress Undesirable

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Image Credit: Rupert Kittinger-Sereinig, Pixabay

If your cat still wants to use the air mattress as a bed, you can do a few things to make the air mattress less desirable.

Firstly, avoid doing things on the air mattress that may attract your cat to it. For instance, don’t eat on it. The smell and promise of leftover food can quickly drive your cat to investigate it. The last thing that you want to do is draw their attention toward the air mattress.

You can also add things to the mattress, like double-sided tape. Use a few pieces of double-sided tape when you aren’t around to discourage your feline from using the mattress. Cats hate the sticky feeling and will quickly flee the scene.

Of course, you’ll need to remove this tape when you want to use the mattress yourself, unless you want to be sleeping on tape!

You can also use aluminum foil. Many cats are scared of the sound that it makes when they suddenly jump on it, and the rough feeling is quite uncomfortable. Therefore, if you lay a few pieces of aluminum foil on the mattress, your cat may decide to avoid the mattress altogether.

You don’t have to keep these things on the mattress forever. After a few encounters with aluminum foil or sticky tape, your cat will likely decide to avoid the bed entirely. Even after removing it, your cat will assume that the tape and aluminum foil are still there.

You may need to repeat this from time to time if your cat figures out that the bed is soft and cozy again. However, it’s a relatively straightforward way to prevent your cat from trying to lie on the air mattress.

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5. Use Chemical Deterrents

This step sounds worse than it is! Cats have a natural aversion to certain scents, like citrus. If you spray something that smells like citrus on the bed, your cat may avoid it due to the stench.

There are commercial deterrents available that smell like citrus or bitter apple. You can use the deterrents anywhere, including on mattresses.

The only problem with this method is that your bed will continue to smell like citrus, so be sure that you are okay with the scent. After all, you’ll still need to sleep there. The scent often must be relatively robust to keep cats away, so it isn’t exactly a light, pleasant fragrance.

Furthermore, not all cats are susceptible to smells. Some of them may avoid anything that smells like citrus, but others won’t care. Therefore, this method seems to be a bit of a hit-or-miss.

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6. Use a Deterrent Device

Many deterrent devices on the market are specifically designed to keep cats off of furniture. Often, these devices detect motion in one way or another and then scare your cat.

Some of them consist of a large paddle that makes a loud snapping noise. Others are motion-sensing blowhorns. Many products are just motion-sensing alarms.

Either way, these devices work similarly to the tape and aluminum foil. Your cat jumps on the bed, meets an unlikely surprise, and then runs off. Hopefully, after a few run-ins, they’ll learn that the bed is not a fun place to be and ignore it.

This training works great because you don’t have to be there. You can set it up and leave it. The device works entirely on its own.

However, these deterrent devices do cost a bit of money, especially considering that plain aluminum foil will likely work just as well!

We recommend trying aluminum foil or double-sided tape first. If those don’t work, you can utilize a commercial option instead.

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7. Provide More Exercise

If your cat doesn’t seem to be sleeping on the mattress, they may just be climbing on it for exercise. Cats love to climb; it’s what they do. If your feline is running around and happens to jump on the mattress, they probably aren’t interested in the mattress specifically. Instead, they’re probably just running on it because it’s there.

In this case, the previous methods can be more challenging to utilize. Your cat isn’t interested in the mattress per se. They just want something to climb on!

Luckily, adding alternative options and making the mattress less desirable often works well. Consider adding a cat tower to your home or providing more playtime. Wearing your cat out will likely reduce the amount of climbing that they do, saving your mattress in the process.

Look for interactive toys that enable your cat to run. Manufacturers make many options that you can use with your cat, like feather wands. There are also several motorized options. These can be great if your cat needs a bit more exercise than you can provide.

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8. Crate Your Cat When You Aren’t Supervising

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Image Credit: Evgeniya Tomashevskaya, Shutterstock

If your cat seems immune to these strategies, it is often best to crate them until your training has worked. The longer that they are allowed to play and lie on the bed, the harder it will be to train them not to touch it.

Of course, you can’t keep your cat crated all the time. It isn’t healthy. They need exercise and plenty of movement. However, you can crate them for a few hours while you’re unable to keep them off the mattress.

If your cat isn’t crate trained, they may complain about this new setup. However, crate training can help relieve some of their stress. Be sure not to leave them in a crate for an extended period, though, especially if they aren’t used to it!

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9. Purchase a Protector

You can get a quality, thick mattress pad to protect your mattress against your cat. Of course, this won’t prevent your cat from getting on the mattress, but it will prevent them from harming the mattress if they do get on it. It’s also a great backup option during your attempts to keep them off of it.

If you don’t care if your cat gets on your bed, a mattress cover can let you treat your mattress just like any other bed.

Many owners don’t want their feline on their air mattress because it may burst. If you get a protector, though, this won’t be a problem, so you may not need to keep your cat off your mattress anymore.

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Keeping your cat off an air mattress could be the difference between having a functioning bed and a deflated sack. Once your air mattress has a hole in it, it can be time-consuming and expensive to repair.

When a single mattress costs hundreds of dollars, it only makes sense that you’d want to protect that investment.

Luckily, there are several ways to keep your cat away from your poppable mattress. We recommend making a different sleeping spot more enticing for your feline and making the air mattress less enticing. Often, you can add things like catnip and treats to their bed, while adding double-sided tape and aluminum to yours.

This double-pronged method can easily make your cat not want to get on your air mattress.

You can also purchase an air mattress protector or mattress topper to keep your cat’s claws away from the actual air mattress itself. Using one of these protectors is recommended even if you’re doing other methods as well.

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Featured Image Credit: Paul Hanaoka, Unsplash