You want to give your cat a comfortable, warm bed to sleep in, but finding the best cat beds can be a bit of a challenge. Because your cat spends so much of her time sleeping, you want to choose a bed she loves. Many types of cat beds are currently available on the market. It’s important to take several factors into consideration when choosing beds for your cat. Carmine and Tylan have several beds in our apartment, and I have found that the location of their beds is as important as the type of cat bed they prefer. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of cat beds, ideal places to put cat beds in your home, and the types of cat beds you can purchase.
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The Importance of Cat Beds
If you’ve ever watched your cat settle down for a nap, you’ve probably noticed that she can fall asleep anywhere. I often find myself being jealous of Carmine and Tylan because as soon as they lay their heads down, they drift right to sleep.
You may wonder why your cat needs her own bed if she can fall asleep anywhere. Not only does a cat bed give your kitty her own safe space, but cat beds are also beneficial for several other reasons as well. First, the best cat beds will provide your kitty with a comfortable place to sleep, one that supports her muscles and joints. Imagine how difficult it would be for you to sleep on the floor night after night. Over time, your muscles and joints would become achy and stiff. The same goes for your cat.
Finding a bed that supports your cat’s body is especially important as she ages. Osteoarthritis is incredibly common in senior felines. An arthritic cat might appreciate an orthopedic bed.
Second, a cat bed can help your cat regulate her body temperature. There are actually heating and cooling beds that can help your cat stay warm in winter and cool in summer.
Third, a cat bed gives your cat a place to hide. Cats hide for a number of reasons. Cats hide instinctually; in the wild, cats are both predator and prey. Hiding in the wild allows cats to find food and protect themselves from predators. Additionally, your cat may hide to get a reprieve from the humans or other pets in the home or to take an uninterrupted snooze. Your cat may also hide when she isn’t feeling well, so it’s important to watch her for any other signs that she may be feeling under the weather if you notice her hiding more than usual.
You may need more than one cat bed in your home even if you only have one cat. A heated cat bed probably won’t be appealing to your cat during the summer months. Additionally, while beds for kittens are great for your cat when she’s young, they probably won’t suit her needs as she grows into an adult.
Find the Best Cat Bed for Your Cat
The most important thing to finding the best cat beds for your cat is your cat’s preferences. Every cat is unique, and what one cat may like, another might not. Your cat’s preferences may change over time as well. For instance, Carmine loved a low-sided round, pink cat bed we have when he was young, but now, at the age of 17, he prefers the heated cat beds over any others in the apartment.
It may take a little trial and error to find the best beds for your cat. Make sure you like whatever cat beds you purchase as well. You want to be comfortable having your cat’s beds out in your home. Your cat may prefer to have her bed in the living room where visitors may spend time instead of in your bedroom out of a visitor’s sight. There are plenty of stylish cat beds available today that will look nice in your home.
There are several types of cat beds you can purchase.
Round Cat Beds
Round cat beds are probably what you think of when you hear or read the words, “cat bed.” These beds are circular with a cushion in the middle. They can have low or raised sides. Some have one low side and one high side. When choosing a round bed for your cat, you should consider her size. You don’t want the bed to be too small for her to fit comfortably in it. You also don’t want the bed to be too large. Cats like sleeping in small spaces. It’s also important to consider your cat’s mobility when choosing a round bed. A kitten or a cat with arthritis may not be able to get into a bed with higher sides very easily.
Lorianne Miller, mom to six kitties says, “The cat beds in my house heavily depend on my special needs cat, Evan. He’s the main cat in the house who uses cat beds, and he’s also hind-limb paralyzed. His cat beds need to have at least one low, soft side that allows him to easily pull himself in, as cat beds with too high or too stiff of sides are difficult for him to comfortably access. He also needs the bed to have decent padding, as he has scoliosis and is approaching an age where arthritis is imminent. The beds also admittedly have to be easily washed, as Evan happens to have urinary incontinence as well. I had to search around at different stores to see the various options, but I now have a handful of cat beds that all meet Evan’s criteria. The other cats in the house occasionally use some of the cat beds, and they especially show an interest in the beds if they are regularly moved around and thereby seem new and exciting.”
Cushions are soft plush beds with no sides. They come in various shapes, including circular, rectangular, square, and oval. A cat cushion is great for cats who like to sprawl out when they sleep. If you decide to purchase a cat cushion, find one that is appropriate for your cat’s size. You may also want to buy a cushion that has a slip-resistant bottom, especially if you plan to put it in a room without carpeting. A cushion may be a good choice if you have a kitten or an arthritic cat who has trouble climbing into a bed with sides.
Covered Cat Beds
Covered or enclosed cat beds are the perfect place for your cat to spend time when she needs to hide. Cubes, tents, and caves are prime examples of covered cat beds. All of my cats have enjoyed using cushioned cat cubes over the years.
Consider your cat’s size when choosing an enclosed cat bed. You want her to be able to fit inside of it comfortably. Purchase one with a low entrance if your cat has mobility problems or if you have a kitten. If your cat is skittish, you may want to consider purchasing an enclosed bed with one entrance rather than multiple entrances to help her feel safer while she sleeps.
Elevated Cat Beds
Many cats like sleeping in elevated spaces. This is an instinctual behavior for cats. In the wild, cats are both predator and prey. Being up high allows cats to feel safe from predators. Cats are able to survey their environment from above and see any potential threats when they are off the ground. Sleeping in high places also helps keep a cat warmer since heat rises.
If your cat enjoys being up high, an elevated cat bed might be a good choice for her. Tylan loves sleeping in the soft basket on his cat tree every day. The basket is perfectly situated by the window where he can sunbathe while he naps. Carmine also enjoyed sleeping in beds up high when he was younger. For the past several years of his life, though, he has preferred to sleep in beds placed on the floor.
An elevated cat bed probably won’t be the best choice if you have a cat with mobility issues. Small cats or kittens may also have some trouble getting into an elevated bed, depending on how high off the ground it is.
Beds specifically made for kittens are difficult to find. The best beds for kittens are those with at least one low side so they can step into it with their small legs. Try to find a smaller cat bed so your kitten feels she can snuggle down into it for a nice nap.
While this cat cube may be a little roomy for a kitten, it has a nice low entryway. This cat cave bed is made specifically for smaller cats. This cat bed has one low and one high side, which may be good for kittens. If you purchase a bed that’s too roomy for your kitten, you can help make the sleeping space smaller by putting a fleece blanket or towel in the bed.
Heated Cat Beds
Heated cat beds help your kitty stay warm in the cooler months. There are heated beds you can plug in and those that are self-warming. A heated bed may be especially appreciated by a cat who has arthritis. My boys love their heated beds and spend hours sleeping in them every day. My cat, Lita, who was never particularly fond of cat beds, even loved these heated beds.
If you are afraid of your cat overheating in an electric heated cat bed, you may want to consider purchasing a self-warming bed instead. Of course, they also make heated cat caves if your kitty prefers an enclosed space for sleeping.
Orthopedic Cat Beds
Orthopedic cat beds typically contain a thick cushion that conforms to your cat’s body when she lays on it. Some orthopedic beds are made with medical-grade orthopedic foam or memory foam to support your kitty’s joints and eliminate pressure points.
A Few Things to Consider When Choosing a Cat Bed
In addition to your cat’s size and mobility, there are a couple of other things you might want to consider when purchasing the best cat beds for your feline friend. First, if you plan to put a cat bed in a room without carpeting, you might want to purchase a bed with a non-slip bottom. Second, you may want to purchase a washable bed. Cats are fastidious about cleanliness, so your cat will appreciate it if you wash her bed occasionally. Most beds are machine washable. Some cat beds have cushions you can remove and wash. Beds with removable, washable covers are also available.
Where to Place a Cat’s Bed
You should have enough cat beds for every cat in your home to have at least one bed. So, if you have two cats, you should have at least two cat beds. While your cats may choose to share a bed at times, it’s important that every cat have her own space. When there are too few beds, fights are more likely to break out over the lack of available resources. I only have two cats, but I have several cat beds throughout the apartment. That way, Carmine and Tylan can choose what type of bed they’re in the mood to curl up in for a snooze, and there are plenty of beds for both of them.
Where you choose to place the cat beds in your home should depend on your cat’s preferences. You can try to place beds in the places you want them, but chances are your cat won’t nap there. Instead, observe your cat to see where her favorite napping spots are. Does she have a favorite spot on the floor where the sun shines every morning? Does she like sleeping on your desk? Does she prefer to sleep on a windowsill? Place your cat’s beds in her favorite napping spots, and she is much more likely to actually use them.
When Carmine and Lita were young, they both enjoyed their beds being up high. I had one on my desk and another on a bookcase. Both were used frequently. Your cat’s preferences may change over time, so pay attention to where she sleeps, and move your cat’s beds if needed. If you place a cat bed on a slippery surface, such as a floor without carpeting, a desk, a bookcase, or a dresser, make sure the surface is sturdy and that the cat bed contains a non-slip bottom.
It’s also important to place your cat beds in places your cat has more than one escape route. This is especially important if you have a multi-pet home. Your cat needs to be able to escape real or perceived threats when they occur. For instance, if Carmine is in one of his heated beds and Tylan approaches the bed from one side, Carmine can easily get up and go out the other side if he wants to. Thus, you probably don’t want to place your cat’s bed in a corner or another spot that blocks her in. If you live in a multilevel home, you should probably place at least one bed on each level.
Finally, you should place your cat’s litter box relatively near, but not right next to, your cat’s bed. For instance, if your cat likes to sleep in the living room, you might want to consider placing her litter box in the room next to it. Your cat shouldn’t have to travel from one side of the house to the other to use the bathroom.
Finding the best cat beds for your kitty may take a little trial and error. Placing your cat’s beds in places she already loves to nap will help ensure that your cat will actually use them. If you live in a multi-cat household, it’s important to have enough cat beds for each cat to enjoy her own space.
What types of cat beds do you have in your home? Where does your cat like to nap? Please share your recommendations for the best cat beds with us in the comments section!
About the Author: Sierra M. Koester has been writing in the pet industry since 2006, and she has written for several online publications. She shares her home in Colorado with her two cats – Carmine and Tylan. In her free time, Sierra enjoys reading, penpalling, and spending time with friends.