Friday, June 22, 2012
By Julia Williams
If your cats are anything like mine, they’re probably allowed to sleep anywhere they want. Actually, ‘allowed’ is not the right word; it’s not like you can really stop a determined cat from sleeping somewhere once they decide it’s where they want to be. But I digress. If your cat likes to sleeps on the bed, sofa, your favorite chair or in the linen closet (on your clean towels, naturally), why do you even need a cat bed? For starters, cat beds provide a comfortable, cozy, soft and warm place they can curl up in for those 16 hours of beauty sleep. If you slept for two-thirds of your life, wouldn’t you want your naptime to be as comfy as possible? I thought so.
Aside from the comfort issue, cat beds can also help to keep the cat hair and dander off your furniture and carpet. Cat beds are also easier to clean than the furniture – just try throwing your sofa into the washing machine! If fleas are an issue where you live, a washable cat bed can really help to combat that awful pest. One last reason I buy cat beds is not for them, but for me. You just can’t beat the ‘awwwww’ factor of a cat curled up all snug in their little bed. It’s a sight that warms my heart no matter how many times I see it.
Choosing the Purrfect Cat Bed
There are so many styles of cat beds available, that trying to pick the best one can make your head swim. Price is all over the map, too. Size, materials, quality and maker all influence the price, as will where you buy it. Sometimes, a cheap cat bed can be just as comfortable as a higher-priced one, though beds with special features like luxurious fabric and cat-safe heaters will obviously cost more. Ideally, you should shop for cat beds in person rather than online, so you can see and feel the fabric and check for quality, construction and safety issues.
Cat beds come in a myriad of shapes including round, oblong, cube, tunnel, ball and pyramid. Some cat beds are open on the top, while others offer a cave-like hideaway. The ‘sleeping bag’ cat beds are perfect for felines who like to get underneath the bedcovers. Heated cat beds are wonderful for older, arthritic cats or kitties recovering from an illness. Remember those plush beanbag chairs from the seventies? Slumber balls have the same spherical shape but they’re sized for cats, who can burrow into them to create a cozy nest. You can also find fancy cat beds in fun designs, but they’re more costly. One I covet is a leopard print kitty-sized ‘loveseat’ that looks like the coziest place ever for a catnap.
Does Size Matter?
Most cat beds are roomy enough for the average feline. However, if you have a big cat such as a Maine Coon, be sure to choose a larger-sized bed. Conversely, a petite kitty like the Singapura or the hairless Sphynx will be cozier in a smaller bed.
Things to Consider
Is the entire cat bed machine washable, or does it at least have a removable outer cover that’s washable? Cats are fastidious creatures and they like a clean bed, so washability is definitely something to consider. Is the cat bed soft? Does it have padding? Is it well made? What style is best for your cat?
When Kitty Shuns the Cat Bed
There’s a scenario that plays out in cat homes every day. People buy the cutest cat bed and stick it in the oddest, out-of-the-way place—like stuffed in a corner, or on the floor between the couch and end table. Then they wonder why their kitty won’t sleep in it. Just as ‘location, location, location’ is important in real estate, so too does it matter to the cat where you place their bed.
Another thing that keeps the cat out of the bed is the way it smells. When I see my cat do a quick sniff test and walk away, I know it’s time to wash the bed. Sometimes they just don’t like the way it smells, period. A trick I’ve learned to entice them into their bed is to place one of my t-shirts in it. Works like magic! This trick also helps if you have finicky cats like my Annabelle, who won’t use her bed after Mickey or Rocky sleep in it. Apparently they have cooties, and my shirt somehow makes it all better.
Does a kitty really need a cat bed? I suppose not, but my cat beds do get a lot of use, especially in winter. And when I get my next check, I’m going to splurge on that leopard print kitty loveseat!!
Read more articles by Julia Williams