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Updated Sep 17, 2023 8:25 PM
Cats are perfect, drowsy creatures who deserve beds fit for royalty. They sleep an average of 15 hours per day (boy, that sounds nice), sometimes even up to 20 hours a day (okay, maybe that's a little excessive). That's a lot of time lying down! Yet they do it in the most inconvenient spots … right on top of your DVD player, on a bathroom rug, or maybe smack dab in the middle of that laundry you really should have put away. Before you know it, your cat is curled up on your pillow, and you have to wrestle a snoozing beast when you need to get some sleep of your own. One of our top cat bed picks is what you need.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with letting a cat sleep in your bed. But depending on your cat's habits, it may be disruptive to your wellness if you have a cat that starts zooming around the bedroom in the middle of the night or waking you up too early in the morning by pawing at your face. One good way to lure cats away from spaces in the way or dangerous is to ensure they have comfortable, appropriate spots to sleep. But with so many options, how do you choose? Never fear; we'll break it down and show you the best cat beds for felines of different ages, sizes, and personalities.
How we chose the best cat beds
We publish a lot of dog content, from dog beds to invisible fences to deep dives into the importance of letting your dog sniff. America's second-favorite pet deserves some love, too. We looked at critical reviews and user recommendations and tested with our own fuzzy friends to find the best cat beds.
The best cat beds: Reviews & Recommendations
Even if your cat prefers sleeping in duffle bags and boxes, a proper bed is an excellent gift for a cat parent or can lure your cat to finally sleep on something that's not yours. One of our choices should suit a plethora of cat manners, from those who love to hide to kitties with a perch preference.
Best overall: Tuft & Paw Nuzzle Cat Bed
- Dimensions: 22 x 7 x 22 inches
- Material: Molded foam, faux fur
- Machine washable: Yes
- Perfect for cats who love to rest their head, peek, and hide
The cat runs the house. Pay respect to them in the form of an incredibly luxurious cat bed. Its plush exterior is perfect for making biscuits, and a raised edge allows your cat to rest their head or enter peak donut mode. An ultra-suede base prevents slips and slides on hard floors. Even better, it will spruce up your regular decor. It's expensive, but your cat deserves it.
Best cave: MEOWFIA Premium Felt Cat Cave
- Dimensions: 19 x 19 x 12 inches
- Material: Wool
- Machine washable: No; hand-wash only
- Wool keeps the cat's temperature regular and muffles sound
These handmade cat cave beds are approximately 19 inches by 19 inches by 12 inches with an 8-inch opening and can be collapsed into a more traditional open bed, or used popped up into their intended cave shape. They're roomy enough even for big cats and provide privacy and comfort. They're felted in Nepal and come in several colors and designs to complement your room's decor.
Best wicker: D+Garden Wicker Cat Bed
- Dimensions: 18 x 19.5 x12.5 inches
- Material: PE wicker
- Machine washable: Round cushion is machine washable
- Wide opening
With a removable (and washable) pillow, this is a low-maintenance option that just needs to be wiped clean from time to time. Faux rattan blends into your home decor, and its shape is perfect if Fluffy likes to hide. It's sturdy and dense, so it won't break because of a cat race collision. Plus, a wide opening gives your cat plenty of room to enter and survey the area.
Best plush: BODISEINT Modern Soft Plush Round Pet Bed
- Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 8 inches
- Material: Polyester; faux fur
- Machine washable: Yes
- Comes in four sizes
- Machine washable
- Water-resistant and non-skid bottom
- Risk of fur cover getting matted
This donut-shaped marshmallow cat bed is made of high-loft recycled polyester fiber covered in faux fur, and it comes in four sizes (small, medium, large, and extra-large) and eight colors (mostly neutral tones … and pink!). It's machine washable and dryable; in fact, the manufacturer specifies that it should not be air-dried or you risk matting the faux fur.
Best domed: Tempcore Cat Sofa
- Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 16.5 inches
- Material: Plush, faux suede, plastic
- Machine washable: Yes
- Built-in cat toy
- Comes in multiple sizes
- Reviews note it's a little flimsy
An attractive design, this Tempcore cat bed has many features going for it: there's a removable pad that you can wash separately from the main bed, there's a hanging toy to keep your cat occupied, the bottom is moisture-resistant and non-slip, and it comes in two sizes (small for cats up to 12 pounds, or medium for cats up to 18 pounds). It's soft but well-made, has an accommodating shape, and the whole thing can be machine-washed and dried.
Best budget: Furhaven ThermaNAP Quilted Faux-Fur Self-Warming Mat
- Dimensions: 22 x 17 x.25 inches for small
- Material: Polyester
- Machine washable: Yes
- Options for self-warming and waterproofing
- Machine washable
- Can place on the floor or on furniture
- Crinkle can scare cats if they aren't a fan
A self-warming cat bed means that it helps a cat retain its body heat. This one has a reflective thermal sheet insulated in between polyester fiber layers to reflect heat back to the cat's body. It's just a simple rectangular pad, no raised sides or covers, and it's machine washable. It comes in small (17 inches by 22 inches) or large (36 inches by 24 inches) and has a quilted faux-fur sleep surface. The bed itself crinkles—perfect for attracting your cat. On the flip side, the crinkle could cause cautious cats a bit of stress.
What to consider when buying the best cat beds
So let's say you pick out the perfect cat bed, you bring it home, open it up, and enthusiastically show it to your cat, and … your cat looks at it quizzically for a few seconds before snubbing it and going right back to sleep in the middle of the floor. It happens. It's possible you just have a stubborn pet who doesn't like that bed (you may have to try a couple of styles before landing on just the right one), but it's also possible that you just need to do a little extra coaxing and prep work to figure it out.
To start, make sure you're placing the bed in a place the cat already likes. If you have to start in the middle of the floor, then that's where to start—and then slowly work it over to a better spot over the course of a few days or weeks once the cat becomes attached to it. If your cat typically likes being up off the floor, then try it on top of a couch or chair. There are also hammock styles that can lift your feline just a few inches off the ground. You'll also want to associate the bed with positive things: good smells, treats, and affection. Sprinkle a little catnip on it, and offer treats when the cat hops into the bed. You can also try putting a piece of the cat's favorite human's clothing in the bed to start—a T-shirt, scarf, or something similar that smells like that person—to lure them in.
Curious cat? We've got you covered with cat beds …
Covered cat beds are best for felines who crave some “alone time.” Especially if you have an active household with other pets and children or guests, a shy cat may take to hiding under a couch or another weird underfoot place to sleep—and that can be a recipe for danger. Another benefit to beds that have some sort of cover is that it can be easier to introduce new cats or kittens to a household if they have a spot of their own to escape to, rather than fighting for territory with other pets.
Would your cat like a cozy nook?
Covered beds can take different forms: some are structured, like a cave bed, and some are more like sleeping bags. Others nestle in your home like a piece of modern furniture, offering your pet a safe haven without providing an eyesore.
Your cat may go nuts for donuts
This marshmallow-inspired pick is extremely soft and furry and can be easy on joints for older cats. Cats often like to knead these types, and they're usually machine washable.
Domo arigato this cat spot-o …
Depending on your cat's preferences, you might look into covered or uncovered options, heated or unheated beds. You can also look into a hanging cat bed, or cat window bed, to provide your cats with a higher-up view, especially if they like peering outside or stretching out in the warmth of the sunlight. Or just give the cat a personal “sofa”—somewhere impossibly plush to stretch out.
Your cat will be floored
Cats love to play it cool, but they don't like to get cold. Don't be fooled: all that fur isn't the end-all and be-all of warmth retention. A thermal pad can help.
Q: Do cats like their own beds?
Cats who aren't used to their own space may be skeptical—they're creatures of habit and tend to stake out their favorite spots on their own and stick to them. A new bed with unfamiliar scents and textures may not be an immediate hit, so it's important to help them get familiar with the bed by using treats and other positive associations. But most cats are very happy to have their own space once they take to it. Be patient.
Q: What kind of beds do cats like best?
There's no single right answer to the type of bed most cats like best. Some cats like to sleep curled up, while others prefer to be sprawled out, so pay attention to that when selecting a size and shape. Some cats want to feel as enveloped as humans do under sheets and blankets—that's when a sleeping bag style can come in handy. Others prefer to be hidden away in a tent-like structure or cat cave bed, and others prefer to be out in the open in something like a marshmallow cat bed or simple pad. And if you have more than one cat, sometimes they like to share their beds and snuggle up together, while others definitely do not! There can be some trial and error involved in finding the best cat beds.
Q: Are heated cat beds safe?
There are two types of heated cat beds: self-warming and electric. Self-warming beds just include a thermal layer in the middle to reflect and retain warmth; there's no electricity or other heat source involved, so there's nothing potentially unsafe. With electric heated cat beds, they are generally safe with a few caveats: You'll want to look for one that turns on only when your cat is in the bed and turns off afterward. Heated cat beds use low-watt, low-temperature heating elements that are meant to get warm, but not hot. Still, there is a risk of burn injuries if something goes wrong, such as if there isn't enough padding surrounding the heating element. Watch carefully to make sure padding layers have not shifted or degraded over time. Cats that have very limited mobility should not use heated models because they may be unable to get up and move if it gets too hot. Also, look for chew-resistant cords, and be sure the heated bed has earned safety certifications.
Final thoughts on the best cat beds
Giving your cat a spot of its own to rest can be a great gift for your beloved pet. Just like with humans, cats get better sleep when they're feeling comfortable and secure. Also, just like with humans, the best selection for one cat may not be right for another—they have different needs both physically and psychologically. But whether you wind up with a cave bed, a marshmallow cat bed, a self-warming option, or something else, your furry friend will drift off to slumberland in cozy contentment.
Why trust us
Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.
Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we're reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don't know everything, but we're excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don't have to.