With a new generation of consoles arriving this week, gamers are faced with a slew of questions. “How fast are the loading times?” “How does the ray tracing work?” “Are the controllers better?” “Which console should I get?” You can find plenty of information on these are other queries about the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series here and elsewhere. But one critical question has yet to be answered: “How do I introduce my new game console to my cat?”
A New Box? For Moi?
Every cat owner knows that nothing is more appealing to a sleepy feline than a self-heating box full of complex electronics. Not to mention it even comes with toys attached — long, attractive wires perfect for batting and gnawing on.
Months after I got my first cat, Gumball — or Gum for short — I learned this the hard way. Once Gum hit a certain age she developed a habit of playing with my phone and computer chargers. I scolded her, gave her some actual cat toys, and thought that would be the end of it. But it was only the beginning.
Soon after, Gum discovered my Xbox 360, a magical white box that did everything she could ask short of feed her. It was a warm bed, had a toy that popped in and out (the disc tray), and provided a perfect perch in the middle of the room. Or at least, that’s what I imagine she was thinking.
Of course, console vents and cat fur don’t mix well. So I picked Gum up, moved her away from the console, and told her that it wasn’t a place for cats. But clearly there was a communication issue, because she was back napping atop my Xbox just a day later.
So, I took to the internet like any concerned pet and console owner would do. I found all kinds of recommendations scattered about different forums and social media sites — some good and some laughably bad.
CatBox Series X
The suggestion I came across was to put a blanket over the console and foam over the wires. I even remember the post saying, “They’ll still pick at them/sleep on it but at least it won’t damage anything.” But if I did that, I’d only be encouraging her. And covering up the vents seemed counterproductive, too.
Next, I found the genius idea of coating the cables that she tended to bite on with a bit of dish soap. It was funny — if a little sad — to see Gum try to chow down on a cord, stop, lick her lips, and walk away. Now I just had to fix the sleeping issue.
The first real solution I went for was to move the console to a more confined space — under my television entertainment stand. Of course, my cat is so small that she managed to fit inside that little space and made her new napping spot right next to the warm back vents of my console. Mmm, toasty.
A while later my mom surprised Gum with a big cat tree — another popular recommendation to get a cat away from your consoles. Cats love laying in high, soft places, so surely she’d stop sleeping on the Xbox in favor of her new little house? Well, it kind of worked. Sometimes she’d sleep in her new tree, but she’d soon return to the familiar comfort of the 360.
When substitution and concealment failed, my research suggested I attempt deterrence in the form of a spray bottle full of water. But not only did this seem kind of cruel, it also didn’t work. Gum would back down for a minute, but kept coming right back when I wasn’t looking. This cat was either fearless or just stubborn.
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At this point I was running out of options — and I was not going to try the more out-there ideas like taping a slinky across the top of my systems or wrapping them in tinfoil either. I was just about ready to give up. But then something unexpected happened.
Gum completely stopped laying on my consoles just like she stopped messing with my wires. She had found other, even more appealing spots to sleep in — boxes. Ordinary cardboard boxes.
Leaving out delivery and shoe boxes was the perfect solution, providing Gum a range of different beds to choose from. Of course, I soon learned another critical lesson about cats — you truly cannot convince a cat not to do something they set their minds to. I caught Gum laying on my PS4 and messing with my phone charger just like she used to.
Nowadays I catch her back at these old antics every now and then, but not nearly as much as she used to. Thankfully, all it takes now is for me to call her name and give her a look to get her to stop. I guess she learned English and the nuances of human facial expressions after all these trials and tribulations.
I wish I had more helpful information for you, but what it comes down to is this: if you have a cat, just put your new Series X or PlayStation 5 somewhere they can’t get to. And maybe leave the box out next to it, too — your feline friend will get as much enjoyment out of it as you do out of your next generation games.