The Best Cat Beds (According to Our Cats)

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A cat curled up on a fluffy 4CLAWS Furry Pet Bed/Mat, looking into the camera.
Photo: Michael Hession

If your cat sleeps in weird places, or on weird objects, that might just be because it doesn’t have a sleeping surface it likes in a spot it wants to sleep in. Russell Hartstein, a certified pet behaviorist with 25 years of experience, said, “Oftentimes, cats will sleep in odd places when they don’t have a bed or place that they prefer.” So the right cat bed in the purrfect spot may help eliminate your cat’s weird sleeping arrangements.

To find the type of bed your cat prefers, consider these guidelines:

Observe its behavior: Watch where and how your cat sleeps. If it curls into a ball, look for a round bed. If your cat huddles under a basket of clothes or frequently sits under an armchair, try a cave bed. Or, if it sprawls out in a windowsill or on a couch cushion, a mat might be your best bet. “Part of the fun of being a pet parent is just experimenting with what your family member enjoys,” Hartstein said, so if one style doesn’t work you could always try another.

Consider the bed’s size: Depending on your cat’s sleeping preferences, its bed should either be large enough for it to stretch out or small enough for it to comfortably curl up and feel secure. If your cat prefers to lounge about in the open, look for a bed that’s as long as its body (minus the tail), about 18 to 20 inches long. If it prefers to curl up, a round bolster or cave bed that’s at least 15 inches in diameter is a good bet—but don’t shy away from larger beds that are enclosed, because they offer the security some cats prefer with the ability to stretch out when needed. And if your cat is a large breed, like a British shorthair or Maine coon, a bigger bed is always better.

Choose natural materials to start: Cats have sensitive noses, so opt for natural materials, such as cotton, wool, or unbleached bedding, which breathe better than synthetic and may have fewer chemical odors. If your cat isn’t deterred by synthetic materials, such as plush polyesters popular in pet bedding, feel free to experiment as your budget allows.

Keep comfort in mind: Consider your cat’s mobility level and stage of life. For example, a senior cat will need a thicker, orthopedic bed with a low entry lip, while a spry juvenile will not.

Make sure it’s easy to clean: To save your sanity, purchase a cat bed that’s machine washable, and follow the care instructions closely, because even the slightest adjustments in the washer or dryer could cause a cat bed to bunch or tear.

Where to place a cat bed: A cat’s favorite napping spot can offer clues to where you should place a cat bed. If kitty frequently naps in a sunny window, near a warm floor vent, or on the highest perch on a cat condo, consider placing the bed in those areas. And don’t forget to measure the space first to make sure the bed will fit.

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