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Are Heated Cat Beds Safe? Can They Be On All the Time?

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Heated cat beds are becoming increasingly popular, but are they safe for cats?

The short answer is yes, heated beds are safe and there are a wide range of options available on the market. But before you run out and buy one, there are a few things you should know. Heated cat beds are safe for cats, and they can be helpful in keeping your pet warm in many circumstances. Read on to learn more about heated cat beds!

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5 Reasons Why Heated Cat Beds Are Beneficial

Some people might think that heated cat beds are a bit too lavish for the average housecat. However, here are five reasons why you should consider getting a heated cat bed for your feline friend:

  • Heated cat beds can help keep your pet warm in winter
  • Older cats can benefit from heat to help circulation as their bodies age
  • Hairless cats or cats that are shaved can benefit from the extra heat
  • After an operation or illness, a cat can use a heated bed for healing
  • Outdoor cats like a safe and warm place to sleep

Risks of Using a Heated Cat Bed

It’s no secret that cats like to sleep in warm places. In the wild, they’ll seek out sunny spots to curl up in, and even domestic cats enjoy a warm bed on a cold day. Nevertheless, there are some risks to watch out for before using a heated cat bed.

Cats can easily overheat or become dehydrated on an artificially heated bed, and this can be dangerous or even fatal. Cats regulate their body temperature through their hair, and when they get too hot, they will pant and sweat through their paws to cool down. On a heated bed, a cat may not be able to sense when it’s getting too hot, and can easily overheat. This is especially true for young or old cats or those who are overweight or are recovering from surgery and are unable to move around easily.

a cat staying warm
Image Credit: TORLEY, Flickr

Make sure your cat can move away from the bed if they feel too hot, and if your pet has a difficult time moving independently a heated cat bed may not be the right choice. Do not use the bed in a confined space or a crate where the cat cannot choose to move away from the heat source. Careful monitoring of the heat inside the bed, or using a bed with a thermostat are good ways to ensure that your pet remains safe and healthy.

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The 3 Types of Heated Cat Beds

There are three types of heated cat beds: thermal self-heating pet beds, microwaveable heating pads, and electric pet beds. Thermal self-heating pet beds have a heat-retaining material inside that warms up when it comes into contact with your pet’s body heat. Electric pet beds have a heating element inside that warms up when you plug them in. Microwaveable heating pads can be microwaved to provide heat. There are pros and cons of each to consider.

1. Thermal Pet Beds

Generally speaking, the safest option for your cat is a thermally-heated cat bed. These beds use radiant heat, which is a type of heat that comes from objects that are warm to the touch. This is different from other types of heating methods, like electricity or heating elements, which can be dangerous if not used correctly.

The materials used in the bed reflect your pet’s body heat back at them, which means that the bed will not rise above the body temperature of your cat. This allows for natural self-regulation of the overall temperature in the bed. A thermal bed means there is little risk of your kitty becoming accidentally overheated.

Another benefit of this type of cat bed is that it does not use any electrical wiring. This means that it can be used safely around pets who are prone to chewing on wires, and it also makes it easy to move from room to room.

cat sleeping in bed
Image Credit: Deyan Georgiev, Shutterstock

2. Electric Pet Beds and Heating Pads

Electric cat beds or heating pads work by using electrical elements to produce heat that warms up the bed or pad. This can be a great way to keep your cat warm in an extra chilly room during winter, or if they need to be kept at a certain body temperature for medical reasons. An electrical pet bed is the best option when you need to raise your cat’s body heat to keep or to keep a bed warm over a long period of time.

Most beds will have a thermostat so that you can easily set and monitor the desired temperature for the bed. Never set it higher than a cat’s natural body temperature and check the manufacturer’s suggestions for the correct heat settings. This is important so that you avoid the risks of overheating mentioned before. Even with a thermostat, it is important to make sure you periodically monitor the temperature of the bed to make sure it is safe for your cat or at the very least observe your cat for the first few hours in the bed.

Most importantly, only use an electric bed intended for cats! Do not use a human heating pad for your cat. Humans are much larger than cats and have different requirements for temperature regulation. Beds designed specifically for pets have been tested for safety and correct temperature levels.

cat lying on heating pad
Image Credit: Anelo, Shutterstock

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3. Microwaveable Heating Pads

Another option is to place a microwavable heating pad into your pet’s bed. These pads are filled with rice, gels, or other thermic materials that are designed to retain heat for an extended time. These are a low-tech and simple method to give your cat an extra boost of cozy heat and kick-start heating their bed for the night before their body heat gains time and energy to warm the bed. The heating pads only stay hot for a limited time though, so this option is better for times when you do not need constant heating.

Microwavable heating pads can become very hot when heated and it is difficult to adjust the temperature to a specific degree. Make sure you test them with your skin once you have heated them. Once it has cooled enough for you to maintain direct contact with your skin without feeling too hot, it is safe to put it in your pet’s bed. Also try using a fabric cover or a thin blanket between the heating pad and the cat. If the heating pad is too hot it can burn your cat’s skin which is especially true for hairless cats or cats that have been shaved due to surgery.

tired sick cat lying on bed
Image Credit: Natata, Shutterstock

Can You Leave an Electric Bed On Overnight or While You Are Away?

The answer to this question depends on the design of the heated cat bed. Leaving the cat bed on overnight is typically safe, especially if the bed has a thermostat. Some heated cat beds have automatic shut-offs that will turn the bed off after a certain amount of time, whether it is overnight or while you are away. Other heated cat beds do not have an automatic shut-off and should be unplugged when you are not home. If you are unsure whether your heated cat bed has an automatic shut-off, it is best to unplug it when you are not home.

The main risk when using an electric bed is if your cat is chewing at the cords or is scratching at the surface that holds the heating elements. This can pose a fire hazard if any of the electrical elements become exposed. Check the bed often to make sure your kitty keeps any destructive behavior in check. This is another great reason to unplug it when you are away.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, just like your cat loves to cuddle up next to you to keep warm, heated cat beds are a great way to provide your cat with a cozy and safe place to rest and relax. They can also be healing and soothing for sick or older cats. Each cat has their own unique needs and circumstances so if you are considering purchasing a heated cat bed, be sure to do your research to find the best one for your pet.

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Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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