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How to Keep Cats Off an Air Mattress: 9 Proven Methods

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

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 has a built-in protector that protects it 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, the holes can’t even be repaired!

Luckily, you can do a few things to keep your feline off an air mattress. If you’ve let your cat on mattresses before, it 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 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?

Cats can easily pop air mattresses, especially when they jump. It depends on the size of your cat and how big their claws are. In some cases, your feline may not pop your air mattress after playing on it 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. You never know when they may pop and ruin it.

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The 9 Ways to Keep Cats Off Air Mattresses

1. Ensure That There Are Alternatives

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 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, comfortable cat tree may be 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.

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 affect them 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 any bed. Placing treats on the bed will interest your cat and teach them to associate it with positive feelings.

Sometimes, even after encouragement, our cats don’t seem to like the beds we chose for them. In these cases, choosing a different type of bed may be best. Consider purchasing one that is enclosed.

Our Favorite Cat Bed Is ...

Paying close attention to where your cat enjoys sleeping is part of the magic in finding them a bed that's suitable to their individual needs. Factoring in their comfort requirements, length of naps, and where they prefer to be when they rest are considerations you must take when choosing the purrfect bed! After plenty of research, this was our top pick for practicality, design and comfort.  

The Hepper Nest Bed 

Hepper Cat Nest Bed
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Hepper Cat Nest Bed
  • HAPPY COZY CATS - Your kitty will bask in luxurious sherpa-lined comfort while feeling warm, safe,...
  • MODERN DESIGN - Contemporary styling with upholstered fabric construction; just like your human...
  • WARM FLEECE LINER - Self warming, thick sherpa fleece with microfiber trim.

Cats are known to be particular about their beds which is why finding the right one often poses a challenge for pet owners. The modern design of the Hepper Nest Bed was thoughtfully created for maximum coziness that many cats cannot resist. Molded into a comfy bowl shape that cradles your cat with a self-warming fleece insert, you’ll have a hard time getting your cat up from their daily naps. One of the Nest's best features is that is portable - meaning you can easily provide your cat with a comfortable place to sleep, regardless of where they plan to catch some zzz's!

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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 keep them off it.

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

4. Make the Air Mattress Undesirable

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. First, 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 you want is to 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 to discourage your feline from using the mattress when you aren’t around. Cats hate the sticky texture and will quickly flee the scene.

Of course, you’ll need to remove this tape when you want to use the mattress 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.

You don’t have to keep these materials 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 remain.

You may need to repeat this occasionally if your cat realizes 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.

ashera cat on the bed
Image Credit by: Pierre Aden, Shutterstock

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 you are okay with the scent. After all, you’ll still need to sleep there. The scent must be relatively robust to keep cats away, so it isn’t 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.

6. Use a Deterrent Device

Many deterrent devices on the market are designed to keep cats off furniture. Some consist of a large paddle that makes a loud snapping noise. Others are 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 mattress 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, deterrent devices 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.

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.

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 you can use with your cat, like feather wands. There are also several motorized options. They can be great if your cat needs more exercise than you can provide.

8. Crate Your Cat When You Aren’t Supervising

If your cat seems immune to these strategies, it is often best to crate them until your training has worked. The longer 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 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, especially if they aren’t used to it!

9. Purchase a Protector

You can get a 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 bed 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, it won’t be a problem, so you may no longer need to keep your cat off your mattress.

Devon Rex cat with a wavy coat looks at the camera with a window in the background
Image Credit by: Heather Raithby Doyle, Shutterstock

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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, it can be time-consuming and expensive to repair. When a single mattress costs hundreds of dollars, it only makes sense that you want to protect your 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 catnip and treats to their bed while adding double-sided tape and aluminum to yours.

You can also purchase an air mattress protector or mattress topper to keep your cat’s claws away from popping the air mattress. Using one of the protectors is recommended even if you use other methods.

Featured Photo Credit: Paul Hanaoka, Unsplash

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