Heated cat beds are a relatively new luxury for house cats. Your cat might not need one, but, hey, they’ll sure enjoy having one. Think of them like the high-end hot tubs of the cat world! But what exactly is a heated cat bed, and what’s the point of getting one? Wouldn’t a cat be happy with a basic one? Let’s take a look!
What Is a Heated Cat Bed?
Well, they’re exactly what they sound like. They’re like regular cat beds – and come in all the shapes and sizes that regular cat beds come in – but they’re heated, almost like an electric blanket. The majority of them plug into an outlet to provide continuous heat. You can get a heated pet bed for every type of domestic animal you can think of, and many designed especially for cats.
Different Kinds of Heated Cat Bed
Like we mentioned above, there are all different kinds of heated cat bed. You (or, more accurately, your cat) can choose between:
- Simple mats
- Cushioned beds
- Hooded beds
- ‘Pods’ with a smaller entrance hole
- Self-heated beds that hold onto warmth
But why should you pick a heated pet bed, especially if they’re a little more expensive? Wouldn’t your cat be happy with a regular cat bed? Here are a couple of reasons why your cat might thank you for buying them an upgrade.
1) Older Cats Struggle With Body Heat
If there’s one thing we know about cats, it’s that they love being warm and cozy. But did you know that the older a cat gets, the slower their metabolism gets? This can actually mean that they have real trouble creating body heat. Since they just aren’t burning energy like they used to, they don’t generate that much heat: just think of how much warmer you feel after you go for a walk or a jog. If you’re sat around doing nothing, you’ll feel a lot colder.
So if you have an older cat that just doesn’t have the energy to produce enough heat to keep themselves warm, you should definitely consider getting your old friend a heated cat bed. Getting your cat a heated bed can really improve their health and well-being generally. Warmth can also play a big part in healing ailments and problems like arthritis.
2) It’s Good For Their Immune System!
In recent years strong evidence suggests that a heated bed can actually help to improve your cat’s immune system, which may be adversely affected by cold weather. This is especially true if your cat tends to venture outside a lot whatever the weather. The benefits of heated cat beds also help cats who are unwell or recovering from an operation or illness. By providing a warm and cosy space, this will ensure your cat is kept content and is much more inclined to stay relaxed and curled up to help speed up recovery times. Heated cat beds are probably one of the only ways to make sure your cat follows vet’s advice and stays still for their recovery.
Most heated cat beds come with a thermostat installed within the cat bed to ensure the temperature never exceeds the 102 degrees which is recommended by vets. They will also come with settings to allow you to set the perfect temperature for your cat.
Types Of Heated Cat Bed
Here are just a few of the options you have to choose from when considering purchasing a heated cat bed. The best cat beds tend to be whichever type your cat sleeps in, but it never hurts to know what’s out there.
‘Hut’ style heated cat beds
Hood style cat beds are highly recommended for cats who may feel claustrophobic in an igloo style cat bed but still like to keep their privacy. Designs such as Thermo Kitty Huts have proven popular for the flexibility of their hoods which can be positioned to preference. Have an awareness that the high sides of these beds may not be suitable for older cats. The sides can be quite tall and firm, so if your cat’s best climbing and jumping days are behind them they may struggle.
‘Cuddle Up’ beds
If your cat likes to curl up into the smallest of places a rounded fleece lined bed may be the perfect choice for your cat. Our cuddle up beds come with removable covers which is perfect for washing. Their design incorporates both comfort and practicality. If you opt for a bed which is 16” in diameter, this will easily accommodate a 15-pound cat. Cuddle Up beds often receive high acclaim in customer reviews from cat owners that are astounded their cats have actually used their cat beds! Almost every cat makes a beeline for anything which remotely radiates heat.
Outdoor Heated Cat Beds
If your cat has a habit of staying out all night, investing in an outdoor heated cat bed can help put your mind at ease that your cat has somewhere cosy to retreat even if they do like their freedom. It’s recommended to leave your outdoor heated cat beds in a garage, shed, porch, barn or anywhere else that your pet may have access to. If your cat tends to head out while you’re at work all day a cat heating pad or bed is perfect for providing the same level of warmth and comfort your cat would gain from curling up to you.
Outdoor heated cat beds are also highly recommended by vets if your cat is in advanced age to keep your cat’s joints healthy in damp or cold weather. This is an especially good idea if your cat suffers with arthritis. Also, think about other cats (don’t pretend you don’t feed other local cats, we all do!) If you have noticed feral cats in your area, why not help keep them warm in the winter with a safe bed when the temperature plummets?
Alternatives to Heated Cat Beds
Radiator Beds If you’re looking for an alternative to a heated cat bed which you must plug into the mains, you can always opt for cat radiator beds to save on the energy bills, allowing your cat to warm themselves whilst the central heating is running. There are zero running costs with radiator beds, however the downside is that there’s no way to regulate the temperature unlike with the thermostat in heated cat beds.
Thermal Beds Thermal cat beds are perfect for energy efficiency, they require no source of power only the insulation materials inside which reflect your cats body heat. The warming effects of thermal cat beds can be felt within minutes of your cat curling up.
Microwavable Heating Pads Whilst microwavable heating pads don’t provide a sufficient long-term solution to keeping your cat warm, they have been proven to be invaluable for cats who need to stay warm for an hour or so, which is perfect if your cat needs to travel reasonable distances in the car. Heating pads are filled with a non-toxic substance, so even if your cat has a nibble there’s no risk of poisoning.
Are There Downsides To Heated Cat Beds?
Not really. We suspect you wanted a longer answer than that though, so we’ll explore the negatives for you. There aren’t very many; cat beds are as safe as electric blankets for humans are. You may come across a couple of minor issues though, depending on the type of heated cat bed you opt for. The only ones we’ve identified come with electronic heated cat beds.
Positioning: If you opt for an electric heated cat bed, you have to think about where you’ll put it. Unless you’re going to run an extension cable to it, it will have to be close to a power outlet. This may be an issue for you and your cat. As we already know, they can be very choosy about where they sleep! If your can’t current preferred bed is close to a power outlet, you’ll have no problems. If it isn’t, think about alternatives!
Fire Hazard: We’ve said a couple of times that heated cat beds are as safe as electric blankets for human, and we mean it. That doesn’t change the fact that electrical cat beds contain a risk that regular cat beds don’t, though. As with anything plugged into your mains supply, there’s a risk of electrical failure, and fire. It may not be any more prominent than the risk of your phone charger exploding. It’s not really any more prominent than the risk of leaving your TV on ‘stand by’ mode. However minuscule it is, though, it’s a risk and it’s there. Be aware of it, and make sure you’re happy to take it on.
Comfort: High quality heated cat bed manufacturers do everything they can to avoid this problem. Some have more success than others. The introduction of an electronically heated element means that there will be a lump somewhere in the bottom of your cat’s bed. There will also be a layer of thermal material, which is likely to make noise and shift around under the fabric. Your cat may not like the feel of it. Your cat may also not want to sleep on something that’s lumpy! If you’re considering making a purchase, do a thorough ‘comfort test’ with your hands before you buy. If you can feel uncomfortable lumps, your cat definitely will!
Cost: This is an obvious one, but we’re covering all the downsides here, and so we’re listing it. If you introduce a new electrical appliance to your home and switch it on, you’re adding to your power bill. It probably won’t be a significant cost, and you may not notice it at all, but it will be there. We know not every reader has the budget for luxury items. The last thing we’d ever do is make recommendations for items you can’t afford. If you’re finding things financially tight as it is, adding to your costs in however small a way may not be a great idea.
Should I Buy One?
That’s completely up to you. Your cat might be perfectly happy with its current sleeping arrangements. If it is, there’s no reason to change them! Think about the reasons you’d consider getting a heated bed or blanket for yourself, though. You might not use it all year, but you’ll be glad of it when it’s colder. We know cats like to be snuggly and warm, so they’d likely appreciate the extra heat too! Obviously this won’t apply if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that stays warm all year.
As we went into a little detail about above, there are also cat health reasons for considering a heated cat bed. It’s a scientific fact that older cats don’t maintain body heat as well as they used to. Their metabolism slows down and they feel the cold more, just as older people do. If you have an older gentleman or lady feline friend, they’ve earned a comfortable ‘retirement’. A heated cat bed is a great way of helping them out with that!
Our balanced opinion is that we think heated cat beds have plenty of upsides, and few downsides. Those downsides that do exist are largely confined to plugged-in, electrical models. If they concern you, you could simply choose an alternative form of heated cat bed. If you can afford it, and you can find a comfortable option, we think every feline friend deserves a warm and comfy bed. We’ve looked in detail at the best cat beds before, so for more specific ideas, why not check out our selection of cat bed reviews?