Is it safe for a cat to use a heating pad made for people?
November 28, 2017 5:00 PM   Subscribe

My wife is achy, and has been using a heating pad a lot recently. Our cats just discovered the magical heating pad and they think it's cozy, and we feel bad about kicking them off of it all the time. Is it safe for them to sit on the heating pad? I tried to Google this but Google just gives me links to heating pads for cats.
posted by madcaptenor to Pets & Animals (30 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
If your cat is going to bite or scratch at the wires/elements/electronics it's a fire/shock hazard. Otherwise it's just a warm object which should be safe, although I'm not a vet. But presumably you let them on other warm things like people or the sun....

My friends cat would have totally eaten all the electric cords and electrocuted himself or set the house on fire, but it was an evil cat. most cats aren't that evil.
posted by TheAdamist at 5:03 PM on November 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


I would put a towel over the pad and as much of the cord as possible, just in case your cats tend to like to chew on electrical cords. One of mine plays with the cord to the waterer (but doesn't bite it, just flips it around) and I don't think the other one even knows the cord is there. Keep the setting on low and they should be fine.
posted by hollygoheavy at 5:12 PM on November 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


During the winter, my heating pad lives on my bed, stuffed into a pillowcase with a pillow. For me, it's fantastic to cuddle with as I fall asleep. For the cats, I turn it on in the morning when I get up and about 30 minutes before I go to bed. My oldest cat loves to lounge on it. When I brought it to the living room one cold evening, and left it alone on the couch for a minutes, I came back to find that the cat didn't want to give it up.

So, yeah, people heating pads are okay for cats.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 5:24 PM on November 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yes, it's fine. They're not dumb. If they get too warm they'll leave. Look for bite marks on the cord but you probably would have noticed that already.
posted by AFABulous at 5:26 PM on November 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


My cat is CONSTANTLY jacking my heating pad and pushing my feet off it to get moar heat and she's none the worse for wear after doing this for years, so there's an anecdotal vote for safe for kitties.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 5:26 PM on November 28, 2017 [7 favorites]


Besides, cats have thick layers of fur, so they're less likely to get burns than us fragile naked humans.
posted by AFABulous at 5:26 PM on November 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Not good for sick/injured/unconscious cats; never use a heating pad for a cat that can't/won't easily move off it if it gets too hot.
posted by amtho at 5:48 PM on November 28, 2017 [15 favorites]


The feline residents have decided that we humans are not entitled to the heated throw we have for lounging on the couch. Cats are all fine, till it is unplugged, and then they are sad.
posted by kellyblah at 6:00 PM on November 28, 2017 [6 favorites]




I burned myself on a heating pad, but I might be dumber than your cat.
posted by FencingGal at 6:03 PM on November 28, 2017 [16 favorites]


My cat also has stolen my heating pad with no ill effects. But, he is not a cord chewer -- that's the only thing I would be worried about. Also, obviously, do not leave it turned on when unattended -- just share with kitty when you are there to supervise.
posted by rainbowbrite at 6:11 PM on November 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yeah I think it's okay. My husband and I had a low grade argument over a month or so regarding who was leaving the heated blanket on before we went to bed at night. Turns out the cat has realized he could press the button and sleep on it overnight. He's not a chewer though, he just wants to bask. This is his third year of sleeping on the blanket basically all winter long.
posted by Bistyfrass at 6:12 PM on November 28, 2017 [74 favorites]


I helped an elderly cat make it to 19 years of age with a heating pad on his favorite chair, with a towel on top of the pad.
posted by porn in the woods at 6:18 PM on November 28, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure heating pads are meant primarily for cats.
posted by a strong female character at 6:18 PM on November 28, 2017 [17 favorites]


Yeah I think it's okay. My husband and I had a low grade argument over a month or so regarding who was leaving the heated blanket on before we went to bed at night. Turns out the cat has realized he could press the button and sleep on it overnight. He's not a chewer though, he just wants to bask. This is his third year of sleeping on the blanket basically all winter long.


This made my day.

To answer the question, sort of: our vet said it was OK for our DOG to use the heating pad, so I would imagine as long as the cat isn't eating it, it's probably fine?
posted by ancient star at 6:44 PM on November 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


We used to have a heating foot rug thing. The cat loved it. As it happened, it was broken when a human adult left a plastic washing basket on it (broke it, and deprived the kitty of one last day of basking). So I think cats would argue it's the hoomans that can't be trusted. And arsehole hoomans never replaced it.
posted by kitten magic at 6:48 PM on November 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'd keep it on low.
posted by theora55 at 6:49 PM on November 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


I’ve done this for years. We put it under a blanket positioned directly in front of the TV so there is always a cat available for us to admire.
posted by something something at 6:50 PM on November 28, 2017 [6 favorites]


Cats' body temperatures are a few degrees higher than ours, so a heating pad made for people should be fine.
posted by Knowyournuts at 6:51 PM on November 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Sounds like there’s consensus here, but if your wife ever wants the heating pad back, there’s also this, which can stay plugged in all the time, wipes clean, and doesn’t require the cat to operate any buttons. Our urban community cats endorse them as a no-frills alternative to human laps.
posted by armeowda at 7:04 PM on November 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Thanks for all your answers! They are cord-chewers, so we'll keep that in mind.

Here they are snuggling.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:14 PM on November 28, 2017 [25 favorites]


For cordless cat heating, Snuggle Safe heating pads go into the microwave and stay warm for hours. They're like big Frisbees. They can get very hot, so be careful handling them and put them inside a folded blanket. (We use them at the shelter where I volunteer.)

On preview: those fluffy bellies!
posted by swerve at 7:16 PM on November 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


FLOOF!

Our cats also enjoy our human-intended heating pad and are plenty bright enough to get off it if they aren't perfectly comfortable, bless 'em.
posted by merriment at 7:32 PM on November 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Snuggling is clearly important to these individuals so I would encourage (semi-supervised) heating pad time.
posted by kapers at 7:46 PM on November 28, 2017 [3 favorites]


“Just like with humans, if your cat falls asleep on the warming pad, it could result in internal damage. The area touching the warming pad can get very hot when the heating pad is left in place for too long. If you must use a warming pad, only do so under supervision and never allow your pet to lay on the pad for long periods of time. Limit heat to 15 to 20 minute intervals.

“Some cat parents have wrapped heating pads in towels for the cats. If not monitored and kept on the lowest setting, there’s a good chance your cat could get burned. It’s better to invest in a heated bed made especially for pets.”
posted by tzikeh at 7:57 PM on November 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


I use a heated bed size pad and all the humans and cats love it. It's under a mattress pad and a sheet so kitties cannot claw it and cords are out of sight of kiitehs, You can set all kinds of zones such as warmer feet and cooler head. I keep the foot the warmest and the most heat seeking of my cats always stays down there but the other one moves between warmer and cooler areas as the spirit moves him. It doesn't get HOT so no scorched fur. Plenty of warm comfort for everyone!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 8:59 PM on November 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


My house gets pretty cool during the winter, so I've had a heating pad on 24/7 the last two winters for my cats. I got one that has high/med/low settings and I always keep it on low or medium with a towel folded on top so they aren't directly laying on the pad. Haven't had any issue at all.

I got one of those special cat heating pads too that turn on when you lay on them, but the cats universally prefer the human one. Because of course they do.
posted by zug at 11:09 PM on November 28, 2017 [4 favorites]


Not just cord-chewing, but if they make biscuits you may want to look out for claw-punctures in the circuitry, which would be a fire hazard.
posted by oblique red at 9:33 AM on November 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Another alternative would be something like the Mysterious Purr Padd. I have a knockoff version of this that my cat loves. It's soft and what it does supposedly is reflect the cat's body heat back on the cat, thereby warming them without any wires/equipment needed.
posted by possibilityleft at 12:17 PM on November 29, 2017


I second the recommendations for the Snuggle Safe microwaveable heating disc and for the self-warming mats like this one; IIRC they're lined with a thin plastic layer that reflects body heat, like the material in emergency space blankets. Don't rule out the electric beds designed specifically for cats, either, since every cat I've met has loved them.
posted by nicebookrack at 1:17 AM on November 30, 2017


« Older Where can I find cool shirts matching for toddlers...   |   Mic that plugs into an iPhone S Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.