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How much do you love your cat? If you don’t really care that much about your feline friend, this article is not intended for you. This article is intended for those who see their cat as a small, furry human.
Five Best Cat Beds
Now that you have taken a look at the candidates, let’s analyze their key features for a more exact picture of their pros and cons.
Smiling Paws 2-in-1 Cat Bed
Perhaps the most important step in choosing a cat bed is the choice between an enclosed bed or an open bed. Some of this will depend upon your cat’s habits.
A cat that likes to hide will no doubt prefer an enclosed bed, while a sociable kitty that doesn’t usually hide will probably prefer the open box.
Weather plays a role in this choice also, as an enclosed bed will always be warmer due to its ability to hold your kitty’s body heat. With the Smiling Paws 2-1, you don’t have to make that choice at all.
This bed converts easily from an enclosed cube to a traditional open box design.
When I first looked at this thing, I figured that there would be a zipper or some velcro to separate the top from the bottom. However, the process of switching the beds is much easier than I thought.
To convert the cube to a box, you just pull out the cushion and crush the top down. Set the cushion on top and the kitty has a new bed.
The convenience factor made a big difference here, and I like the fact that there are no zippers or velcro. This means that my cat will not lose hair as a result of snags and hangs.
The bed is relatively large at 13x13x13 and is made of denim on the outside. The cushion and inner lining are made from faux sherpa. This mix of fabrics provides both durability and comfort.
My only real concern with this one is that the design seems too good to be true. Repeated crushing might eventually make the top lose its stiffness, but time will tell about that issue.
- Two beds in one
- Easy to switch modes
- Thick and durable
- Waterproof bottom
- Machine washable
- Repeated crushing would almost have to wear it down over time
- It May not large enough for some cats
- Not necessary for some cats/climates
- A little expensive
If you live in a cold climate, you have probably considered the use of a heated cat bed. As far as we can tell, this is the best one on the market. This product from K&H is pretty simple in its design.
It is a standard topless cat bed with a built-in heater. The heater comes in the form of a small heating pad that is inserted into the cushion and plugged into the wall.
Right away, some of the more overprotective cat owners might be thinking of a scenario where the heater malfunctions and turns your pretty kitty into a crispy kitty.
However, this doesn’t seem possible with a heater that can only use 4 watts at once. However, I would still recommend unplugging this bed when you leave the house, just to be on the safe side.
Remember, many pets are injured or even killed by their tendency to chew on electrical cords, according to PetMD.
These beds are nice and thick, with high walls and 16-inch diameter. I can’t make any real complaints in the durability department. However, I could make a few complaints about this bed.
The first and main flaw is that the heater doesn’t make enough of a difference. Although the product is supposed to make a difference of 10-15 degrees, it doesn’t seem to produce a whole lot of warmth. Still, even a little bit of warmth will make a big difference in the cold of winter.
The other flaw is that this bed is a pain to wash. You have to remove the foam lining from the inside and replace it after washing. This is a pain because the foam never seems to want to fit back in place properly.
- A built-in heater which seems very safe
- Available in multiple sizes
- Thick and durable
- Very soft interior
- Good for older cats
- May not provide enough warmth
- Difficult to reassemble after washing
- Zipper breaks easily
- Inner crease makes it dangerous for small kittens
- Will slightly raise your electric bill
Aspen Self-Warming Bed
This excellent bed, manufactured by Petmate, aims to fulfill the same function as the Thermo Kitty bed, but without electricity. This makes it a lot cheaper, which is a great start.
Not only is its retail price usually cheaper, but you will also avoid any increase in your electric bill. The company claims that the bed contains a special heat-reflective fabric that does a superior job of redirecting and retaining your pet’s natural body heat.
Upon hearing these claims, I had to open the bed up and take a look at this miracle fabric for myself. When I did so, I found that it was the same kind of material that is found in a survival blanket AKA “space blanket”.
For those who have never used one, this is a silvery foil-like lining that is added to sleeping bags and blankets to help them retain body heat more efficiently. They were originally developed by NASA.
Having tested these in the past, I can tell you that they are not effective when used on their own. However, they are not meant to be used alone, so that isn’t really a deal-breaker. Although this material isn’t rare or special, it does perform as advertised.
As for the bed itself, I have no major complaints. It has an attractive suede corduroy exterior, and the interior is a thick, plush faux wool pad. To be honest, I almost want to roll this thing up and use it as a pillow.
This bed is offered in both rectangular and circular forms, but the flexible walls make the difference unimportant.
- Provides superior heat retention
- Provides heat without electricity
- Easily machine washable
- Non-skid bottom
- Very thick and soft
- Doesn’t get as warm as an electric heat bed
- Walls are not very rigid
- Some reviews say it rips easily
Paws & Pals – Cat Bed Cave House Bed
The Kitty Shack is another multi-purpose bed with multiple interesting features. It looks like a short, fuzzy piece of tubing. When unzipped, it becomes a padded mat.
Like the first item on our list, it can be adapted to the situation at hand. Your cat may prefer to hide in the tube or lounge on the mat, but either way, they are covered.
This bed has an interior space blanket lining for superior heat retention and is made with a special electrostatic fabric that holds cat hair and keeps it from getting all over your couch or bed.
This bed seems to have it all, but there are a few downsides. First of all, the space blanket material is very crinkly and makes a lot of noise when the cat is using it.
Sometimes, this will even scare cats away. Also, it won’t provide the best warmth because the back is open. Imagine sleeping in a tent with no front and no back!
I wouldn’t recommend these for someone in Alaska, but for most users, they will work nicely.
- Can be used two different ways
- Electrostatic fabric catches and holds shed hair
- space blanket liner helps to retain body heat
- Raised edges provide a pillow
- Makes a loud crinkling noise
- Open back reduces heat retention
- May scare some cats
- Unlikely to stay firm over time
Our final item is a little different from the others. Where our other competitors are standard cat beds, this one is more like a hammock. In fact, it is a hammock, but it is a very specialized kind.
The Cat Crib has four velcro straps that allow you to secure it to the underside of a chair or table. This gives your cat a place that feels hidden but isn’t.
Not only does this make the cat feel secure, but it also eliminates the need for extra floor space. This bed was inspired by an incident much like this one:
The hammock is rated for cats up to twenty pounds, which means most of them. I like the fact that the straps wrap around the legs of the chair more than once, as it makes me feel better about the security aspect of things.
Of course, your cat is unlikely to be injured if their hammock breaks since it will be so close to the ground and they always land on their feet anyway.
If I were to criticize this bed, I might point out that it will do nothing whatsoever to keep your cat warm on a cold night, and that the material seems relatively thin and easy to claw through.
- Fastens securely in place
- The material is strong enough for most cats
- No thermal protection
- The thin fabric isn’t very durable
- Some cats seem to really dislike it
What Does Science Have To Say About This?
Let’s take a look at some research that may be relevant to your choice. First, take a look at the following study from the Journal of Physiology.
This study shows that the paws of a cat are very sensitive and can detect heat variations as small as 1 degree Celsius.
Since your cat’s behavior will affect your choice of bed, it might surprise you to know that there are accepted standards of cat behavior, which are published by the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
While such a guide can never be exactly correct for all cats, it will give you an idea of how “normal” your cat’s behavior may be.
You should also be aware that destructive behavior is normal for cats, according to a study from Cornell University. This is why durability is so important when choosing a cat bed.
What Criteria Should I Use When Selecting A Cat Bed?
When it’s time to hit the store and make that big decision, you probably don’t want to copy this entire article and take it with you. As such, I have prepared a shortlist of the criteria by which to judge any cat bed that you may encounter.
- Versatility (i.e. does this bed do more than one thing?)
- Body heat retention
- Presence of zippers and buckles
- The Presence or lack of electrostatic fabric
- Ease of cleaning
- Your cat’s behavior
Your Cat’s Personality And How To Test A Bed:
As stated earlier, every cat has a different personality, and these traits will have some role in determining the best cat bed for your feline friend.
A study published in the Public Library of Science noted five personality types that most cats fall will fit. You can make guesses based on your cat’s general habits and overall temperament, but you won’t really know if a bed is right for your cat until you test it.
To test a cat bed, you simply place your cat into the bed and begin doing whatever would normally make them happy. pet them, tell them they are a good kitty, etc.
Now, walk away and leave them for a while. If your cat immediately snuggles in and falls asleep, the bed is approved.
If they fidget around and/or jump out of the bed, it probably isn’t to their liking. Knowing how finicky a cat can be, I wish you all the best of luck in finding just the right bed for your furry little friend.