Catnap Approved: How to Choose the Best Cat Bed for Your Pet

You know your cat loves to sleep, but do you know what type of cat bed they’d prefer for their catnaps? There are many to choose from, including hanging cat beds that attach to windows (perfect for bird-watching), covered cat beds for shy felines who dig privacy as they snooze, and heated beds to help soothe achy bones. Felines can be picky, and the best cat bed for one pet may not work for another. To find the perfect cat bed for your pet, you’ll want to take their personal preferences into account as well as other factors, like their age and size. Then find a bed that meets the criteria.

It’s also a good idea to get a few different cat beds, not just one, to give your cat options. They love choices, says Jennifer Van de Kieft, a certified advanced feline training and behavior professional in Brooklyn, New York. “Anyone who’s had a cat knows—one week they want to sleep on your bed and then the next week they’re sleeping on the box in the living room. It’s like they’re always changing spots.”

Ready to find the cat bed of your kitty’s dreams? First, let’s cover the questions you should be asking yourself before you even start shopping.

What to Consider Before Buying a Cat Bed

You don’t want to waste your hard-earned money on cat luxury beds your kitty will spurn, so ask yourself these questions as you shop around for the purr-fect picks for your pet.

  • What does your cat like to snooze on in general? “Cats have individual preferences. They definitely like things that are soft and plush, but then they also like cardboard boxes, paper bags and packing paper,” Van de Kieft notes. So look at where your cat likes to go to doze and try to replicate that in at least one of the cat beds you pick. Remember, cats like variety.
  • How big is your cat? The best cat bed is one that’s just a few inches longer than your cat, explains Van de Kieft. Cats feel more secure in small spaces, but they also need room to change positions and move around, she notes. So measure your cat and get a bed that will let your cat curl up comfortably but still feel cozy.
  • How firm is the bed? Cats generally don’t like to feel as if they’re sinking, says Van de Kieft, but they also like to knead—it’s their way to self-soothe. So you’ll want to find a cat bed that’s on firm side but still has a bit of give to it. It can be difficult to tell just how firm a cat bed is when shopping online, so be sure to read the reviews to get a good sense.
  • How thick is the bed? Some cats like softer, plusher fabrics to nap on as long as the bed is firm enough to avoid the sinking feeling, says Van de Kieft. Look for a cat bed that’s between one to three inches thick, depending on your cat’s taste. Bonus points if the bed has an extra pillow or padding.
  • How cozy is the bed? Cats crave heat, says Van de Kieft, which is why self-warming cat beds or ones with removable heating pads are like catnip to felines. Or go for a Sherpa-lined bed, which will also make for a cozy and warm resting place.

Now that you have a better understanding of cats’ preferences in general and your cat’s individual tastes, you’re ready to check out your options.

Heated Cat Bed

Heated cat beds run on low-wattage electricity and have an internal thermostat, so they warm cats up without overheating them. K&H Pet Products Mother’s Heartbeat Heated Cat Bed also provides the soothing sound and vibration of heartbeats—a plus when easing stress in new or nervous cats.  

Self-Warming Bed

The special materials in self-warming beds use your kitty’s own body heat, not electricity, to stay toasty for as long as they doze. Van de Kieft recommends self-warming beds to clients, especially if their home is on the cool side. Frisco’s Round Self-Warming Cat Bed has the added bonus of being machine washable. 

Cat Cave Bed

Cat cave beds offer enclosed spaces for timid cats that want a hidden place to snooze. Frisco Felt Removable Hood Cave Cat Bed is like two beds in one—the hood gives your cat privacy, but comes off when your pet craves a change of pace. The plush cushion is washable. 

Cat Window Bed

“Cats love to see what’s going on outside,” says Van de Kieft. Cat window beds satisfy that urge because they fasten securely to the window or sill, with some able to hold up to 50 pounds. Attach K&H Pet Products EZ Mount Thermo-Kitty Window Cat Bed to a sun-filled window with these industrial-strength suction cups.

Elevated Cat Bed

Cats like to be off the floor, which tends to make elevated cat beds a winner. And unlike tall cat trees or cat shelves, they’re not so high to make them unreachable by elderly cats or small kittens. This one from Frisco has a cushion made of soft, eyelash yarn for comfier catnaps. Plus, you’ll like its chic look.

Orthopedic Cat Bed

Orthopedic cat beds have foam bases designed to give pets more support and relieve pressure on the joints—and they don’t lose their shape. The foam base plus a comfy Sherpa-covered cushion makes this Frisco Sherpa Orthopedic Cat Bed a good pick for cats who like bolstered edges to rest their heads.

Pillow Cat Bed

Pillow cat beds are cushion-shaped beds that can be placed anywhere around the house. They don’t have bolsters or brims, so your kitty can stretch out to sleep. At 10 inches high, Frisco Sherpa Cube Pillow Cat Bed allows cats to get off the ground while dozing on a Sherpa-covered, poly-filled bed. Zip off the cover when it’s time to wash it.

Bolster Cat Bed

“Cats like to be able to snuggle up against the side [of beds] and feel secure,” says Van de Kieft. That’s why she recommends bolstered beds, which have raised sides that cats can their rest heads and necks against. The Casper Bolster Cat Bed also has a durable memory foam base, which makes ideal for cats who like firmer beds.

Quick Cat Bed Tips

Choosing the best cat bed for your cat’s needs is only part of the puzzle in ensuring a good catnap. Van de Kieft suggests scattering the cat beds around your home in various sunny spots. Just don’t put the cat beds on the floor (unless it’s an elevated cat bed). “Cats don’t like to be on the floor. If you put the cat beds on a vertical space, like on a shelf or on your bed, then it’s much more attractive because cats like to be up high,” she says.

If your pet ignores their bed, it might be because it’s new or smells unfamiliar, says Van de Kieft. To speed up the acclimation process, she suggests trying the following:

  • Moving the bed(s) around to new spots
  • Placing the bed on the sofa or side table since cats like high spots
  • Putting cat treats, catnip or silvervine on the bed to lure your pet over to the bed
  • Throwing a cat toy onto the bed or playing near it so your cat associates the bed with something fun and positive

Cats spend a lot of time sleeping, so a cat bed—or two or three!—is a worthy investment. Taking the time to understand your cat’s individual needs and preferences before you buy will make the shopping process a lot less overwhelming—and ensure your cat will log plenty of catnap hours in their new bed.

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