A cat’s normal body temperature is in the range of 100.4oF to 102.5oF. While we’re likely to worry if our cats are running a temperature, we tend to assume that because they have fur coats, they’re less susceptible to the cold. When temperatures drop outside, that’s certainly true of most healthy, well fed cats. But cats that are ill, feral and outdoor cats that may have weaker immune systems because they aren’t well fed, fit and healthy can suffer more when it’s cold outside. And when the temperature drops below freezing – which is 32oF on the thermometer – then even the hardiest cat can fall prey to hypothermia and frostbite.
Some owners opt to buy generic heating pads and wrap them in a blanket or towel to keep their pets warm. This isn’t ideal: the pad will need constant monitoring and checking to ensure it stays at a sufficiently low temperature to ensure the cat doesn’t get burned.
If you want your cat to stay warm and have peace of mind that she’s safe while she sleeps, then check out these five beds designed especially for cats below.
Best Heated Cat Beds Buying Guide & FAQ
There’s a bewildering array of cat beds on the market now, both heated and unheated versions. And cats can be contrary creatures, making their own decisions about where they sleep when it’s cold outside. But take into account the factors below and you should know whether a heated cat bed is a good choice for your cat; and be able to purchase one that appeals to your fussy feline.
Reasons Why You Should Consider Getting a Heated Cat Bed
- Being cold depresses a cat’s immune system, making him more susceptible to germs and illness. Heated beds, especially in winter, will prevent that.
- If your cat is under the weather or convalescing after an illness or operation, then providing a warm and cozy place to sleep will encourage him to rest and sleep – the one thing that’s absolutely essential for his recover.
- Older cats who are suffering from stiff joints or arthritis will benefit from a heated cat bed, as the warmth will help to ease the condition.
Important Considerations When Buying a Heated Cat Bed
Remember that cats have thin skin and so are likely to burn easily if exposed to any heat that’s too intense. They’ll know themselves when to move away from a roaring fire or other heat source. But if you’re choosing a heated bed for your feline friend, make sure it’s designed with cats in mind and that they can easily walk away if they get too warm.
If you are stuck between various choices of cat bed for your pet, then opting for ones that most closely resemble their existing favorite sleeping places is a good idea. Perhaps she likes curling up and snuggling down where she can’t be seen? In this case, a semi-enclosed structure might appeal to her. If she’d rather stretch out or see what’s going on around her, then one of the flat mats with heaters included would probably be her bed of choice.
Cats are also alert to danger from every source and many prefer to sleep with their back against something – if you’ve noticed that’s the kind of place she tends to choose, then one with walls to lean up against might appeal more than open ones. If the bed is to go in a shed or garage for an outdoor cat, then the walls will also cut down on drafts.
However, don’t forget to consider your cat’s own physical condition. If she is stiff from arthritis or sore after an operation, make sure you choose one that is easily accessible – one with high sides probably isn’t going to be practical for her to access.
It’s important to have a cat bed that you’re able to keep clean easily, so seek out one with removable covers for washing or that can be washed in its entirety. Of course, you need to be able to remove any heat pad before throwing it in the washing machine!
Benefits Of Heated Cat Beds
There’s a good reason why so many cats love snuggling up on their owners’ knees. And if you look at any sleeping cat, you’ll probably see them curled up into a ball with their tail wrapped around their paws and body. This helps them retain and maximize body heat.
So the main benefit of a heated cat bed is, of course, that it helps keep your cat warm. They’re especially useful for cats that spend long periods of time alone and/ or outdoors; are recuperating from or susceptible to illness; or suffer from muscular or joint pain.
Positioned correctly, they also give your cat somewhere safe and secure to sleep, which together with the warmth, will improve their temperament too.
A: A better question to ask might be is your cat vulnerable to the cold? Factors that might lead you to seriously consider a heated bed include the following:
- Has your cat had a recent illness or a serious operation?
- Is your cat an older one, with mobility problems like stiff joints and/ or arthritis?
- Does the cat you are considering buying a cat bed for have access to appropriate shelter and regular access to water and food? This applies mainly to outdoor and feral cats, who can be more vulnerable to cooler temperatures because they aren’t generally in fighting fit condition.
- Are you out all day, leaving your lap cat alone? If you prefer to turn the heating down low in winter to save energy while you’re at work, then a cat bed can help your cat stay warm when temperatures drop and she doesn’t have an owner to snuggle up to.
Q: Will Using a Heated Cat Bed Push Up My Electricity Bills?
A: Customers report that the cost of running one of these beds is minimal. The 4 Watt versions mentioned above, for instance, are said to use as little energy as the standard night life. Built with energy efficiency in mind, many are also controlled thermostatically, meaning they only heat up when they are in use. Check the manufacturers’ description before you buy if you’re concerned and always follow the instructions for use.
Q: Are Heated Cat Beds Safe?
A: Generally speaking, if you do your research; buy a bed from a reputable manufacturer of pet products; and follow the instructions to the letter, then yes, these types of bed are safe.
Look for one that meets current safety standards. Also ensure that the one you buy guarantees that it’ll only heat up to the cat’s own body temperature, no higher. As mentioned about, cats have delicate skin, and you don’t want to run the risk of burning her.
If you’re still concerned about the dangers of electrical heated cat beds, or are determined to save on utility bills, then the self-heating options in our selection above will probably appeal to you.