Cats have some strange tendencies that can leave you scratching your head. They can also be very frustrating when they are doing something you don’t want them to do. 

Many cat owners have trouble with their cat going behind the tv. Why do they do this? How can you stop them?

Why does my cat keep going behind the tv?

Does it seem like everytime you look for your cat, you find them behind the TV? There are a few reasons why your cat may have chosen the area behind the tv as their spot, to your dismay. 

Warmth

Cats love places that are cozy and warm. Electronics give off heat, so your kitty may choose to go behind the tv because it’s nice and toasty. 

Cats need a higher room temperature than humans do. We are most comfortable when the thermostat is around 70 degrees. This is our sweet spot, when we aren’t expending energy to cool down or warm up. 

For cats, the ideal range is between 85-100 degrees. If it’s cooler than that, as it often is in the average home, they will need to expend energy to keep warm. 

It’s no surprise your cat will crawl behind the TV to bask in the warmth given off by the device, at least when it is on. 

Positive Reinforcement

Your cat may go behind the TV because you’ve taught them to do so. “What?”, you say. “I’ve done everything I can to get my cat out of that area!” That is the problem!

If you lure your cat out from the area with toys, treats, or attention, you are actually encouraging the behavior by giving them something they want. 

Cats don’t have a concept of good and bad behavior. Instead, they are trained through cause and effect. If they claw the furniture, for example, you will likely scold them or put them in an area where they can’t access the furniture. The cat doesn’t like the outcome, so they stop the behavior. 

On the other hand, if your cat claws the furniture and you redirect them with a toy, they learn that scratching the furniture gets them something they want. If this happens, they will keep scratching to get what they want. 

It can be difficult when you need your cat to come out, for their safety as well as the safety of your devices. The easiest way to get them out is to lure them, but this will reinforce their behavior. 

The best way to remedy this situation is to discourage your cat from going behind the TV in the first place. 

Wires

Cats love wires, perhaps more than string. They love to swat at them, because they move back and forth. This also makes them fun to attack. Some cats simply enjoy playing with wires, while others love chewing on them. 

Hiding

Cats need a place where they can feel safe. Some cats prefer to be up high, while others like a small space at ground level. You may find your cat on top of your book shelf, under your bed, or behind your tv because it’s a good hiding place. 

Cats will hide when they feel scared or threatened. However, they also hide when they want to relax and have some time alone. 

If your cat is hiding often, they may have anxiety. However, occasional hiding is a normal part of cat behavior. 

Why does my cat sleep behind the TV?

It seems odd to us humans, but cats love curling up and sleeping behind the tv. Why does your cat reject its comfy bed for the TV? 

Warmth

Cats love a nice warm place to sleep, just like people do. Cats prefer the temperature a bit hotter than we do, so it’s natural for them to seek places that are warmer than the room temperature. 

You may see your cat sleeping in a ray of sun coming through the window for this reason. It’s also why they sleep behind the TV.

Hiding

When your cat is asleep, they are at their most vulnerable. Of course, they are safe in your home, but they still possess the instinct to sleep in a secure area.

This can lead them to make their bed behind your TV. It seems safe and secluded, which makes it perfect for napping.  

How to stop a cat from going behind the TV?

Many owners are not sure how to train their cat. In fact, it’s more common for the cat to train the owner! Cats do have an aloof, stubborn side that  can make them more difficult to train. 

Dogs typically have a strong desire to please their owners. A scolding voice is often all that’s needed to deter them, because they want to please you. Cats, on the other hand, are not as motivated to make you happy. They are more self-serving than their loyal counterparts. 

It’s certainly possible to train your cat not to go behind the TV. It just requires a slightly different approach. 

Block It Off

The simplest way to stop your cat from going behind the TV is to enclose the area so they can’t get in. Of course, cats are agile and intelligent. You may find that your cat is simply amused by your attempts to block off their favorite area. 

If you can’t block off the area entirely, you can get a box for the cables. This can prevent your cat from pulling on, getting tangled in, or chewing on the wires. This at least makes them being behind the TV less dangerous for them and your device.

Environmental Correction 

The best way to train your cat to avoid going behind the TV is environmental correction. If you correct your cat directly, they may fear or resent you. Because of this, most behavioral experts recommend indirect correction. Instead of you being the one to correct them, you let the environment do it for you. 

Your cat won’t know you are the one behind it. It’s simply a cause and effect that they don’t like, so they learn to avoid it. 

Scent Deterrants

Cats, like humans, have certain smells that they dislike. You can use this to your advantage. You wouldn’t want to hang out in a smelly area, and neither does your cat. 

Cats dislike citrus smells. They typically dislike orange, lemon, and citronella. These things smell great to us, but not to your cat. 

They are also repelled by menthol smells. Peppermint, wintergreen, and eucalyptus should keep them out of the area. 

One way to use these smells is with essential oils. Apply to a cottonball and place around the area. You can also use fresh mint or citrus peels as a natural cat deterrent. 

Another option is a store bought deterrent. There are many cat repellant sprays on the market. These are designed to be safe for your cat, but use smells they find unpleasant. 

Texture Deterants

In addition to smells, you can deter your cat with textures. Cats paws are very sensitive, and there are certain textures that they don’t like. Aluminum foil can be an effective deterrent for this reason. The back side of a plastic carpet runner is also effective, because of the nubs. Heavy plastic or sticky paper are other options you can consider. 

Sound

Sound can also be used as a deterrent. Some owners prefer to shout “No” when their cat ventures behind the TV. This can be effective, but it won’t deter more determined cats. 

It can also cause a strain on your relationship with your cat, particularly if the relationship is in the developing stages. 

One way to use sound as a deterrent is to create a situation where a sound results when they go behind the TV. 

One way to do this is with motion. Stack soda cans into a pyramid that must be knocked over for your cat to reach behind the tv. This is particularly effective if you add some pennies to the cans, because it makes more noise this way. 

A soda can with pennies can also be thrown in their direction when they begin to go behind the tv. The object is not to hit or hurt your cat, but simply to startle them with the sound. 

You can also use a motion detector paired with a sound machine, or even your cell phone. Of course, this method is really only effective when you can avoid triggering the alarm yourself, so you’ll need to place it carefully. 

A bell, foghorn, or a whistle can also be effective. Your cat may or may not connect the sound with you. If they do, they will likely not be happy with you. If they don’t, it’s an effective method. Just be sure to only use the noise. Don’t use your voice if you choose this method. 

Positive Reinforcement and Options

Your cat is going behind the TV for a reason. Do they need a place to feel safe? Do they enjoy the warmth given off by the TV? Once you know why your cat goes behind the TV, you can give them a suitable alternative. 

A cat house may be the perfect solution. Perhaps a simple blanket in a box or basket is all that’s needed. Placing their bed in the sun or near something warm can also be helpful. 

Combining Methods

For best results, combine these methods. Pairing a sound deterrent with a smell deterrent, for example, can help deter your cat from venturing behind the TV.

Combine deterrents with positive reinforcement for best results. Praise them when they go to their space, rather than behind the TV. 

How to stop my cat from chewing TV wires?

The biggest concern with cats hanging out behind the TV is all the cords. Many cats love chewing on cords. Perhaps it’s the way they taste. Maybe it’s the smell, or the texture of the cord that draws them. Whatever the motivation, it can be difficult but essential to prevent your cat from chewing on them. 

Detterrants

Many pet owners use smell or taste deterrents to prevent chewing. These can be effective. However, they do need to be reapplied occasionally. They will not harm your cat, but the taste or smell is off putting to them. 

The smell deterrents listed earlier are also effective here. These include citrus and menthol scents. 

However, when it comes to wires, you can also use taste-based deterrents. Many repellant sprays include unpleasant scents and tastes to keep your cat from chewing. Bitter apple spray is the most popular store bought spray for this purpose. 

Citrus based products, menthol products, and aloe gel will also deter your cat. However, these can be toxic to your cat. If you have a determined chewer, you may inadvertently make them sick.

It’s best to use tastes that are unpleasant but safe for your cat. In addition to bitter apple, hot sauce is highly effective. It will not harm your cat, but they will not enjoy the burning. 

Cord Box

A cord box will prevent your cat from accessing the wires. It’s a plastic box that closes around all the cords. In addition to protecting the wires, it can keep the area neat and organized. 

Cord Protector

Cord protectors can also be effective. These are plastic sheaths that go around the wire. They are infused with bitter apple. They provide an extra layer between your cat and the wire, while also deterring them from chewing due to the taste. 

Duct Tape

It’s not the ideal solution, but it may do in a pinch. You can use duct tape to attach the wires to the floor, and cover them. This makes them harder to chew, and provides some protection if they do chew. 

Combining Methods

Again, it’s wise to combine methods for the best results. You can combine a noise deterrent with a smell or taste deterrent, for example. The more unpleasant the area becomes, the quicker your cat will decide to find another pastime. 

Don’t forget to provide other chewing options as well. This is an aspect of positive reinforcement. Praise your cat when they chew on the “right” things. 

Author

I created and currently run Kitty Cat Tips, the website that you can go to when you have questions about your cat's behavior. It's my hope that you find Kitty Cat Tips to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your cat. You can read more about me and my website here.