If you had to pick one thing that cats love above all else what would it be?
Well, to be honest, it would probably be catnip…
But what about the second most loved thing?
We’d argue that it’s being warm. Cats will go to extreme lengths to get all cozy and warm in whatever way they can. They’ll regularly hunt out any direct sunlight they can lounge around in and they’ll often stay lying in it for hours on end.
We’re also guessing that most of you reading this have probably found your cat sitting on top of some kind of electronic device at some point or another to absorb the heat too…
There’s no two ways about it, cats love to be warm. It didn’t take long for clever inventors to put two and two together and come up with what is perhaps the most ingenious invention of our time – the heated cat bed.
Today we are going to take an in-depth look into heated cat beds to see what they are, how they work, and we’re going to tell you a few things to watch out for in our buyer’s guide. At the end of this article, we’re going to provide you with reviews of what we think are the best heated cat beds on the market in 2018.
Let’s get started.
Are Heated Cat Beds Safe for Cats? And How Do They Work?
Many people are protective of their little fur babies and want to ensure that they’re going to be as safe as they can possibly be. The idea of putting an electrical current to generate heat inside a soft material brings up all kinds of potential nightmare situations to the imagination.
However, we’re here to tell you that heated cat beds are completely safe.
The technology that is used inside these beds is almost identical to what has been used for literally decades in heated blankets. We’ve gotten very, very good at figuring out how to heat up material safely without it being an electrical hazard. You and your kitty have nothing to worry about.
Overheating and potentially burning your cat is another common concern, but again it’s completely unwarranted. The amount of heat that is produced by even the most powerful heated cat beds on the market is small. At most they become “warm and snuggly”, none of them have a setting (or the electrical capacity) to be able to burn a human or an animal.
However, all of the safety information we have given above comes with a huge caveat.
Heated cat beds are only safe if you pick a product that has essential safety features (and has been tested and approved). The main one concerns the power cable.
As you would probably expect, nearly all heated cat beds run from mains power. This means that there is going to be a long electrified cable running from your cat’s bed to the plug socket. As you can imagine, this is not something that you want your cat to start chewing on, it can quite easily be lethal.
It’s an incredibly obvious potential source of danger, and it’s something that heated cat bed manufacturers have gone to great lengths to avoid. Every heated cat bed worthy of your consideration will have a super thick layer of plastic or rubber around the entire length of the cable to prevent even the most determined kitties getting at the wires inside.
Even without the added protection of a chew resistant cable, you’ve also got to ask yourself how likely is it that your cat is going to start chewing on it in the first place? Do they normally chew up other cables lying around your home?
While we’re sure that some of you reading this will have cats that chew cables, the vast majority of them don’t.
Something else that you should be taking into account is potential problems that can be caused by moisture. If you’re going to be placing your cat’s bed inside the house then this isn’t going to be a problem.
But if it’s going to be placed in a garage or even a shed, then you’re going to need to get a specialist product that’s designed for semi-outdoor use. Never try and use an indoor electrically heated cat bed outdoors unless the manufacturer explicitly tells you that it’s ok.
Self Heating Cat Beds
Despite reading all that information above, we’re pretty sure that some of you are still going to feel that they’re a little unsafe (or are just not right for your kitty). You’re not alone, and cat bed manufacturers have created heated cat beds that don’t use electricity.
These products are also very useful for people who don’t have easy access to power where they’d like to put the bed (but want to keep their kitty as warm as possible).
The first thing that we’re very adamant to point out here is that self-heating cat beds do not work anywhere near as well as electrically heated products. As the name suggests there is no external heat source in a self-heating product, it all relies on body heat.
As such, we feel the title “self-heating cat bed” is a little misleading. All cat beds are technically “self-heating”, as they all warm up through your cat’s natural body heat.
Self-heating cat beds are reasonably similar to standard cat beds. They’re made from similar materials and they’re roughly the same size. However, there are some subtle differences that make them much better insulators, and in turn, they keep your kitty warmer.
Note: We think that it’s better if you think of these products as “insulating cat beds” instead of “self-heating cat beds”.
Insulating cat beds are actually pretty darn good at what they do. They keep your cat much warmer than a traditional bed by insulating, storing, and reflecting body heat. Here are some of the ways that they work:
Inside many of the best insulating cat beds on the market, you’ll find a layer of reflective material. This is almost always made from some kind of metal, and it’s very similar to the silver space blankets you sometimes see runners wearing after completing a marathon.
When the heat enters the padding of the bed it reaches this reflective layer which stops much of it from going any further. This causes heat to build up inside the soft padding of the bed (instead of it being lost down into the ground), and as such your cat gets warmer. This is the biggest difference between normal cat beds and insulating cat beds, and it’s an extremely effective solution.
Hoods And Coverings
One of the other defining features of many insulating cat beds on the market are hoods and coverings. Not all insulating cat beds will have a hood or a covering, but the ones that do generally stay warmer than those that don’t.
Without a hooded section, rising hot air is simply going to drift away into the room and the bed will be cooler as a result. By at least partially covering the top of the bed the heat will be trapped slightly, and while some will still escape, your cat is going to be warmer overall.
For additional heat retention, the hood sections of these insulating beds are almost always lined with the same metallic material we mentioned above. This further directs any potentially lost heat back down towards the cat.
Like any good cat bed, insulating cat beds are packed full of a variety of plush padded foams and materials designed to provide a little comfort and to insulate them from the ground. In these “self-heating cat beds” the materials are often picked for their excellent heat retention properties to keep your kitty warm throughout the night.
Overall Best Heated Cat Bed:
K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Cat Bed, Mocha
We absolutely love this heated cat bed from K&H, in our opinion, it’s the best product on the market in 2018.
K&H is one of the most well known and respected cat bed manufacturers in the world, we regularly recommend their products (and today will be no exception). This product lives up to their exceptional reputation and provides great quality at an affordable price point.
It’s an electrically heated product that uses a very gentle 4 watts of electricity when in use. This means that even if you left the bed heating 24/7 you’d barely notice the impact on your energy bills (and it’s eco-friendly too). The bed has no adjustable thermostat (like most heated cat beds) and instead, it will automatically heat up to around 10 to 15 degrees hotter than room temperature. This creates a lovely warm and toasty feel without being too hot or uncomfortable.
The heating elements are tucked deep inside the thick comfortable foam layers of the bed for maximum efficiency. K&N have used high-quality orthopedic foam as the base of this product which is known for being an exceptional insulator (while being super comfortable at the same time). The foam is surrounded by a super soft and fluffy outer layer that provides more insulation and also feels great for your kitty to lie down on.
It’s available in 2 different sizes to suit both large and small cats and the heating unit is completely removable. This makes cleaning the bed exceptionally easy as it’s machine washable too.
We’re not being hyperbolic when we say that you’re going to be super jealous that your kitty gets to sleep in this bed. It’s probably going to be the most comfortable thing in your home. In our opinion, it’s the best heated bed on the market right now, and it should be at the very top of your shortlist.
We just wish they made it in human size.
5 other Heated Beds We Recommend
In this section, we’re going to take a look at 5 other excellent products that are more than worthy of your consideration. They are all technically runners-up, but to even be included on this list in the first place makes them winners.
Pet Magasin Thermal Self-Heated Cat Bed
This is a self-heated cat bed that’s one of the better products on the market. It uses a triple layer insulation hybrid design that’s designed to store heat in the upper layers, and reflect it back towards the cat when it reaches the lower layers.
The top layer of the bed is made from a super soft and comfortable velvet like cover that your kitty is going to love lying down on. Underneath that is a thick padded layer of hypoallergenic foam which makes up the bulk of the support and comfort that the product provides.
The most interesting and important layer is underneath that and is made from an insulating and reflective Mylar film. This will do an excellent job at keeping your kitty warm through their own body heat alone.
The very bottom of the bed is made from a durable layer of rubber that serves two very important purposes. It stops the bed from slipping and sliding (making it safe for older cats), and most importantly it’s a barrier between the warmth of the bed and the cold of the floor.
All this technology combined makes it one of the warmest cat beds on the market. And if you don’t like the sound of an electrically heated product – this should be a product you seriously consider.
K&H Pet Products Self-Warming Hooded Cat Bed
This is another excellent self-warming product from K&H and its defining feature is undoubtedly the innovative hood that runs the entire length of the bed. When in use it will trap much of the warm air that would otherwise be lost in the room. If you wish you can detach the hood as it’s attached to the main bulk of the bed by a sturdy zipper
The bed itself is made from a combination of various insulative foams and the inner lining is made from a soft and furry material (that has an adorable paw print pattern on it). The base of the bed is made from a super plush cushion (covered in the same furry material) and we’re certain that your cat is going to love sleeping on it.
K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Deluxe Hooded Cat Bed
This product is one of the most expensive on our list, and it’s extremely similar to the product we picked as our overall recommendation. It’s an electronically heated cat bed that uses the exact same heating mechanism as we mentioned before. It will heat the bed around 10 to 15 degrees warmer than room temperature, and it’s completely removable for easy cleaning.
The main difference between this bed and our top pick is that this one has a thickly padded hood covering half of the bed. This creates a super cozy place for your kitty to snooze and will keep them even warmer as less heat is ambiently lost into the room.
It’s a hybrid product that’s made from the same variety of foams as our first product. The only difference between them in terms of materials is the outer covering layer. This one has an adorable leopard print pattern and is perhaps a little plusher and softer to the touch.
K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Dome Cat Bed, Chocolate
The final product on our list is called the Thermo-Kitty Dome, and it’s a very accurate description. It’s an almost entirely enclosed bed that only has a single small opening to allow your kitty to get in and out (and breathe). This enclosed nature means that a very small amount of heat is going to be lost ambiently through the air into the room. The bulk of it will stay inside and warm the bed (and your kitty).
If your kitty is only going to need the additional warmth the insulative hood provides during the evening, then it can easily be unzipped and removed during the day to create a more traditional bed
It’s made by K&N again and its got the exact same heater as the other electrically heated beds we’ve talked about today. It’s still removable, and it still heats to roughly 10 to 15 degrees above room temperature. This is probably the warmest product on our list, and if you live in a super cold climate – your cat will love you forever if you buy them this.
So there you have it, a little bit of an introduction into the world of heated cat beds.
Regardless of if you choose an electronically heated product or a self-heating product – all of the beds we have recommended today are going to keep your kitty warmer during the night. They are all excellent choices, and they are all more than worthy of your consideration.