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Are Heated Cat Beds Safe for Cats?

Cute cat in bed with electric heating pad, focus on cable

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Almost nothing is cozier than a cat curled up in their cat bed. Of course, cats can sleep just about anywhere, particularly in any patch of sunlight that they can find! But if you live in a part of the world that gets especially cold in the winter and your home is drafty, your cat might have a harder time keeping warm.

If you’ve been pondering investing in a heated cat bed but aren’t sure if they are safe, you can rest assured that for the most part, heated cat beds are indeed safe.

Here, we go over a few tips that can help keep your cat safe and cozy with a new heated bed and the pros and cons of the different kinds of cat beds available.

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Are Heated Cat Beds Safe?

Most heated cat beds have been designed specifically for cats and include safety features. The manufacturers go through many design specifications, safety tests, and precautions before making their products available.

This also includes maintaining a consistent temperature that won’t increase or become uncomfortably hot.

Why Use a Heated Cat Bed?

Not every cat has thick, fluffy fur. Some cats might not need a heated bed (like Maine Coons), but others do need that extra warmth.

Hairless cat breeds like the Sphynx or cats with short or thin hair can definitely benefit from extra heat in the winter. Cats that are underweight or suffering from an illness or health conditions, as well as senior cats and even kittens, can also enjoy a heated bed.

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What Are the Different Kinds of Heated Cat Beds?

Electric Heated Cat Bed

An electric heated cat bed is the most common heated cat bed. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a cat bed that you plug in, and it runs on electricity to warm it. Each one works a little differently, but many have a removable cover and are machine washable.

Some of these beds will only warm up to your cat’s own body temperature, so it won’t ever get too hot. There are also outdoor electric cat beds that are safe to use outside.

Self-Warming Heated Cat Bed

Self-warming beds are plush beds that have an inside layer that is designed to reflect your cat’s own body heat. Some of these beds use the same kind of fabric as space blankets. There’s nothing to plug into the wall, so no need to worry about your furry friend chewing on a wire.

Heating Pads

Man and cat in bed with electric heating pad, focus on cable
Image Credit by: New Africa, Shutterstock

An electric heating pad is similar to the electric bed but is simpler in that it’s a pad. It isn’t as large and doesn’t have a bolster but can typically be used inside or outside. There are also self-warming pads that work like the beds of the same name. Either one can be used on its own or placed on an existing cat bed.

When Heated Cat Beds Aren’t Safe

If your cat tends to chew on things, particularly wires, this could be a problem for electric beds. If your cat chews the electric cord or the pad, burns or electrocution might result.

There’s also the possibility of your cat swallowing some of the pad and needing surgery for an intestinal blockage.

Also, check that the electric bed or pad isn’t set to exceed your cat’s own body temperature. You don’t want your cat to experience discomfort or worse, burns. Your cat should be able to get up and move away from the bed, so try not to place it in an enclosed space, particularly if they are elderly or ill.

You should also ensure that your cat doesn’t play with the cord or show too much interest in it, as there’s also the possibility of strangulation. Lastly, keep the bed away from any food or water sources if it’s electric.

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7 Safety Tips to Keep in Mind

1. When Your Cat Is a Chewer

Stick with a self-warming bed if your cat chews on cords or anything similar. Or opt for an electric bed that has a chew-resistant cord.


2. Observe for the First Several Uses

When you first bring the bed home, particularly if it’s electric, observe your cat for the first several uses so you can determine how they use the heating bed. You can also double-check that the heating bed is working properly and doesn’t pose a risk to your cat.

It’s best to supervise while it’s turned on and your cat is sleeping on it. This is particularly essential if your cat has mobility issues. The last thing that you want is to have your cat try to leave the bed when it gets too warm but has trouble getting out of the bed.


3. Testing It With Your Hand

While your cat is using it, test the temperature with your hand once in a while so you can gauge that it’s comfortable. Some products enable you to set a temperature, others might activate when there’s pressure, and still others only turn off when you unplug them.

It’s best to test the temperature while your cat is using it, particularly if you have a bed that responds to your cat’s body temperature. Otherwise, checking the temperature when your cat isn’t on the bed won’t give you an accurate reading.


4. Read the Safety Instructions

Always read the safety instructions, particularly the washing ones. Don’t use an extension cord or add any extra covers or pillows unless the instructions say that it’s safe to do so. You’ll also want to unplug it when it’s not in use, especially if that’s the only way that it can be turned off.


5. When Using It Outdoors

Only use heated cat beds that explicitly state that they can be used outside. Ensure that you place it on a firm, stable surface, and keep it away from anything combustible, like dry leaves or hay. Check it occasionally for any signs of chewing or wear.

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What to Look For in a Heated Cat Bed

To sum everything up:

  • Any cords of a heated cat bed should be durable and chew-resistant.
  • A long electrical cord is best, so your cat isn’t sleeping close to the outlet and the bed can be placed away from things like water, plants, etc.
  • Look for a bed with removable covers and pads that are machine washable.
  • Electric beds with a built-in thermostat are ideal. Ensure that it enables you to check it occasionally and can regulate the temperature appropriately. A bed that only goes as warm as your cat’s body temperature is best.
  • Invest in a self-warming bed if your cat likes to chew things.

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Conclusion

Most heated cat beds are quite safe, particularly the ones designed for cats. They come in handy during the cold months and can also help convalescing cats, senior cats, and kittens.

Read the specifications before purchasing anything to ensure that it is the right one for your cat. Go over the safety instructions carefully, so your cat can stay warm, cozy, and safe all winter. Almost nothing is cuter than a happy, sleeping cat!


Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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