Help keep Mr. Crazypants warm this winter!
October 22, 2010 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Anybody know anything about heated/self-warming cat beds?

We have two cats, and the younger of the two loves nothing more than sitting on top of the dryer when it's running, or tunneling under the bed blanket/comforter to get warm. He loves warm spots, and we wanted to give him one last year, so we bought him a heated cat bed.

He hates it. We thought he didn't like the texture of the cover, so we got a different cover, but he hates that too. He'll get in, sniff around, then dive out like his life was in danger. The older cat? He likes it, but still doesn't spend a lot of time in it.

So, hivemind, I was hoping you could help me find either a heated cat bed or something like this, that our kitties would like and use a lot. Have you used heated cat beds or mats? Any particular type or brand that your kitty loves?
posted by pdb to Pets & Animals (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
FWIW, your younger cat may like the dryer as much for its vibration as its warmth. He may also like burrowing in your bed because it's enveloping as much as it's warm. We learned from out vet that you can soothe a feisty cat by basically swaddling him in a blanket.

Have you tried putting something in the cat bed that's more familiar to him, like a throw blanket you use? It may acclimate him more easily to the new bed.
posted by mkultra at 11:05 AM on October 22, 2010

I will share some of my experience with the understanding that if you do follow this and your house burns down or you are all killed by terrible sky-fire, then it's not that I didn't warn you...

My cats also spurned the kitty-specific cat beds and what they really like is a human heat pad, on the lowest setting. You're not supposed to use human heat pads this way, which is why I caution it, but I've never had a problem (knock wood).

They also like (and this may be safer?) an electric blanket or mattress pad, on the bed or in the case of an electric throw, draped over the couch or whatever. Most of these shut off automatically after 10 hours or so, which is a dubious feature, but they also are something you can use too.
posted by The otter lady at 11:07 AM on October 22, 2010

What does Mr. Crazypants look like? This is key to developing an accurate warming strategy. Especially if he's cute.

My cats are all heatseekers; they argue over who gets the dryer or gets to curl up next to the portable sealed oil radiator. However, they disdain anything explicitly designed as "cat bed." I tried both the plug-in bed and the Purr Pad type of thing, as well as a few different beds with sides - no luck, so other kitties with less discriminating tastes got hand-me-downs.

Cheap IKEA fleece throws or remnant fleece pieces from the fabric store work best for my crew. As with little kids, the nondirective nature of a big square piece of fabric means it can be smooshed up into a nest, hidden under, bunnyfooted in extreme happiness, or used as a hiding place to ambush someone. (Plus they go in the wash.)
posted by catlet at 11:09 AM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Find a cat bed he likes and uses. Put an electric blanket beneath it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:09 AM on October 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I keep a cold house (hey, I live in the country) and I have two cat beasts. Initially I bought a small sheepskin for my older cat. He hates the sheepskin and rejects it entirely but the younger cat loves it and cuddles up on it when it is on a chair. The older cat decided he liked a wool blanket the best.

Both beasts also make little nests in the flokati rug.

Wool really does keep heat nicely and it doesn't get too obviously hairy.

I'm not sure you need a self heating solution as the spot they sit in will get warm. Also a spot off the ground (couch, chair, bench) and away from windows/doors will be warmer than sleeping on the floor. You might also try taking something the beast already sleeps on or something that smells like you and move it to the bed you want the beast to sleep in.

Also, if you are using the floor, can you put the cat bed on the top of the heat register (or near it)?
posted by countrymod at 11:11 AM on October 22, 2010

I'd try a covered cat bed, like this, if he's not too huge. here's another and another.
posted by amtho at 11:27 AM on October 22, 2010

mkultra -

He definitely likes the vibration as well as the heat. We tried to put his three favorite cat toys in the new bed, and he would get in the bed, grab the toys, and leave again.

Otter lady/cool papa -

Those are both interesting ideas. We might give 'em a shot, and if we do we will hold you harmless if our house burns down. :-)

Catlet -

he's a smallish yet full grown (~7 lb) tuxedo cat, who is completely adorable.

countrymod/amtho -

The spot in which we want this bed to be situated is, sadly, nowhere near a heat register. The cat's not too big for those, amtho, but our house is too small - that would be HUGE in our little house.

Thanks for the great ideas, keep 'em coming!
posted by pdb at 11:41 AM on October 22, 2010

The sides of the bed might be trapping in more heat then the cat wants or the padding is just too squishy. I have one of these, which is just a heated mat covered in a thin fleece covering. It's pretty popular with our cats, most of whom favor lounging on hard surfaces over soft. I've noticed that it's very rare for any of them to have their entire body on the mat, they prefer to sprawl half on/half off the mat with regular rotations to flip sides.
posted by jamaro at 11:45 AM on October 22, 2010

It (the first link, green "pyramid") may look bigger than it is -- it's just over a foot high (15"). You could put it on the bed, or in a little nook somewhere, or even under a bed maybe. Most cats fit inside pretty snugly. But if your house is that small, it's that small.

The others are about the same size. If you have a PetSmart or PetCo nearby, they usually have some in stock.
posted by amtho at 11:57 AM on October 22, 2010

Agreeing with catlet that for some reason kitties seem to outright eschew any pet-specific bed purchased for them. Sure, they'll use store-bought scratching posts and climbing towers and eat packaged cat food, but when it comes to comfy napping places they prefer to call the shots. And for some reason they are immediately suspicious of any pre-fab specially-made widget. *You* don't lay on a cat bed on the floor, so why should he? Besides, your blanket/afghan/duvet comes equipped with your comforting human smell on it. The dryer? It's up off the ground, it vibrates, and, best of all, you seem to not want him up there, which makes it all the more appealing. With 20-plus years of cat ownership under my belt, the best advice I can give you is: Mr. Crazypants will snooze wherever he wants to.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:57 AM on October 22, 2010

Oriole Adams has an excellent point about location, I forgot to mention the heated mat that I have is up on a desk, not on the floor. It's under here somewhere.
posted by jamaro at 12:03 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Ours seem to LOVE IT when we have one of those rice-filled heat packs under a blanket. It doesn't last forever, but they enjoy it, and it can go anywhere.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:03 PM on October 22, 2010

Oriole -

I don't mind him being on the dryer at all - but he's only up on the dryer when it's on, and as much as I love my kitty, I'm not running my dryer 24/7 just to keep him happy! I'm fine with him snoozing wherever, I just want him to be comfortable when he does and we're trying to see if we can provide more options for an additional happy spot for him.

If we put some sort of other warm bed type solution in the spot where the one he currently doesn't care for is, and he still doesn't like it, maybe this just isn't a spot where he wants to snooze, either warm or at room temp. But I'd like to spoil him as much as I can while I find out.
posted by pdb at 12:09 PM on October 22, 2010

Heated cat bed? My friend, that is you.
posted by elder18 at 12:12 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

This same question was recently asked about dog beds; some of the answers there may be helpful.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:13 PM on October 22, 2010

elder18 -

It is indeed, and I am more than happy to provide said service; as with running the dryer 24/7, though, I can't be an on-demand heated cat bed, as much as I would like to be.
posted by pdb at 12:18 PM on October 22, 2010

I keep my thermostat at 50f at night in the winter, and what I do for the cats is put a piano bench over a floor heating grate, and throw a blanket over the bench. They love it.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:32 PM on October 22, 2010

I have used the following:

- A "kitty condo" type setup with a heated pad on top. Three out of three cats gave this a "two paws up." In fact, they'd sometimes squabble over who got access to it.

- A kitty cushion with some space-age self-warming material underneath a faux fur cover. I put it in a secluded corner and my oldest, most arthritic cat loved it. However, my one remaining elderly cat ignores it completely.

Current cat also loves my down comforter and will make a beeline for warm laundry fresh from the dryer.

I got both of mine from the Drs. Foster & Smith site. The kitty condo was spendy, but it has the advantage of looking nice, wearing well, and supporting the weight of cats up to 20 lbs. without tipping. IME, you get what you pay for with kitty condos - the cheapie ones you get at Target or wherever are eyesores that tip over easily and don't fit large cats.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:59 PM on October 22, 2010

Try to make it seem like your cats are not allowed in the cat beds. Put your newspaper over it while you're reading it. Sit in it yourself. Remove the cat from the bed when he walks in. Cats love to do things only when they are not allowed to.
posted by jeather at 1:57 PM on October 22, 2010 [3 favorites]

catlet: "What does Mr. Crazypants look like? This is key to developing an accurate warming strategy. Especially if he's cute."

I can't answer this question without this information. We need photos!
posted by gingerbeer at 2:47 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

Try to make it seem like your cats are not allowed in the cat beds. Put your newspaper over it while you're reading it. Sit in it yourself. Remove the cat from the bed when he walks in. Cats love to do things only when they are not allowed to.

Seconding this. Try placing an open book on there. That never fails to attract Sammy Katz (a laptop works, too, but I'd worry about heat damage).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:59 PM on October 22, 2010

For research and analysis purposes, here's Mr. Crazypants. His real name is Spike but when he's not napping he's an overcaffeinated Energizer bunny, thus the nickname.
posted by pdb at 3:17 PM on October 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I got a sheepskin for my eldest, which she loathed on sight. However, two vigorous applications of catnip later, I couldn't get her off of it with a block-and-tackle. I think it was just the smell, initially - once the catnip lured her onto it she realized just how snuggly-warm it was.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:49 PM on October 22, 2010

i bought one of these. it is very cool. people 'ooh' and 'aawww' over it whenever i use it for transport. i bought it because we live in an area where we occasionally have to evacuate. the kitties, of course, hate the carriers. so i thought i'd get something *more* than a carrier. motto: more than a bed, it's a lifestyle. it has a (fake) fur lined interior, and an optional warming element, which, naturally, i bought.

the kitties hate it. they associate it with trips to the vet, and avoid it as much as possible. *

so i have a purr pad (verdict: meh) a sheepskin throw (one of them loves it), and several kitty mats (they especially love the one on the cabinet in front of the window). my assessment: it's a cat. get a cardboard box & put a blanket in the bottom. much more cost effective, and that appears to make mine as happy as any fancy schmancy gadget i've bought.

*yes, they hate it but i love it. it is the king of pet carriers/pet beds, although their association with carrier means they refuse to use it as a bed. i still think they find it more comfortable than standard carriers, though.
posted by msconduct at 5:59 PM on October 23, 2010

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