It’s no secret that cats are naturally drawn to heat, and heating pads are an amazing way to keep your furry friend cozy. The best cat heating pads are designed with safety top of mind, and they can be warmed by electricity, a microwave, or self-heating materials like mylar.
Are Heating Pads Safe For Cats?
Overall, heating pet mats are considered safe for cats when used on a feline-friendly temperature setting — they can even offer extended benefits beyond comfort, such as boosting your pet’s immune system and relieving joint stiffness. But there are a few safety concerns to keep in mind. According to Denise Lott, a veterinary assistant and client liaison at Hello Ralphie, “a cat heating pad should not be allowed to heat higher than your cat's body temperature,” which ranges from 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, usage should be limited to 15- to 20-minute intervals to prevent overheating (if your kitty had its way, it would probably stay on the pad all day), and in most cases, you’ll want to supervise your cat — especially if they have mobility issues that might keep them from getting up off the mat. You’ll also want to take specific precautions depending on which type of pad you choose (more on that later). As a final note, Lott states that it’s important to make sure that you’re buying a heating pad that’s designed specifically for cats, as a heating pad for humans may have certain settings that are unsafe for feline use.
Types Of Heating Pads
There are three types of heating pads for cats — here’s what to know about each:
- Electric heating pads: Similar to heating pads designed for humans, but with feline-specific temperature and safety settings, these plug into the wall and have either manual temperature controls or intelligent thermostatic technology, the latter of which will match your cat’s natural body temperature. While these pads are very effective, you’ll want to be sure the cord is reinforced with steel so that your cat can’t chew through it, and you’ll also want to keep your kitty from playing with the wires in order to prevent accidental strangulation — i.e., supervision is important.
- Thermal heating pads: If you prefer a non-electric alternative, thermal heating pads warm up using your cat’s own body heat with the help of special materials — such as mylar — that reflect warmth back to the body. While they might not provide the same powerful results as an electric heating pad, supervision is less important, since the pad can’t get any hotter than your cat’s body temperature.
- Microwaveable heating pads: These are filled with heat-retaining materials and stay warm for hours on end, and you don’t need access to a wall outlet. However, you’ll want to make sure that the pad doesn’t exceed your cat’s body temperature when it first comes out of the microwave — either allow it to cool, or place it underneath a thick blanket to act as a buffer between the pad and your cat’s body.
With proper precautions, a heating pad can provide your kitty with a greater sense of security all year round. Here are the best cat heating pads that will keep your furry friend toasty and warm.
1. The Best Electric Heating Pad With Intelligent Temperature Control
Powered by an electric cable, this heated pet mat automatically warms to a temperature designed to be safe for cats, ranging from 95 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. The soft flannel cover is removable and machine-washable, and layered with IP67 waterproof PVC as well as a fireproof sponge. The pad comes with a chew-resistant steel cable for extra safety, but be sure to supervise your cat so that they don’t get tangled up in the cord. If you like this design but would prefer to have more control over the heat, a manual option is available as well.
According to a reviewer: “My cats love this. Living here in Wisconsin, with very cold winters, my cats will make use of this every day. [...] I would definitely recommend this to any pet owner, especially someone with an elderly cat, or a cat with tender joints. I have a 3 legged cat who really appreciates the gentle heat.”
- Available sizes: 12 inches x 15 inches, 12 inches x 16 inches, 15 inches x 20 inches, 15 inches x 27 inches
- Available options: Auto Control, Manual Control
2. The Best Thermal Heating Pad
This self-warming cat bed from Furhaven doesn’t require any electricity to use at all. The mat is constructed with a layer of insulating fiber batting and mylar, which reflects your cat’s body heat through the cozy quilted faux fur cover. It only self-warms when your cat is lying on it, and the cordless design means there’s no risk of tangling. Lightweight and portable, this is a great, low-cost option that can easily be brought with you while traveling. This pad comes in several size, color, and pattern options, so you can pick the one that’s best for your home, and it’s machine-washable for easy upkeep. It’s not listed as being water-resistant, and it should be noted that the pad won’t get as hot as an electric one, but it may offer some peace of mind since you won’t have to monitor use as closely.
According to a reviewer: “I absolutely love this for my cats!! Both are indoor/outdoor cats but one used to spend the majority of her time outdoors. Now she is always inside napping on this! I saw how much she hoarded it so I bought another one for our other cat. [...] Needless to say now they are both incredibly warm and snuggly happy nappers.”
- Available sizes: Small — 3X-Large
- Available colors and styles: 24
3. The Best Heating Pad For Outdoor Use
Made from durable waterproof vinyl, this electric warming pad is ideal for use in outdoor or otherwise unheated spaces like barns, garages, and patios. Equipped with a 5.5-foot-long steel-wrapped cord, this pad meets U.S. electrical safety standards, so you can feel confident using it out in the elements. Designed with a thick layer of orthopedic foam, the mat comes with a removable and washable fleece cover for added comfort. When your cat lies on it, the mat automatically warms to 102 degrees Fahrenheit (the natural body temperature of a feline), then turns off automatically when your kitty gets up. Even though this mat is designed for the outdoors, supervision of your cat is still recommended as it is electric and corded.
According to a reviewer: “Our very spoiled indoor/outdoor cats far prefer spending their days (even in winter) sitting outside on their "comfy mat" keeping an eye on the back yard to staying in the nice warm house. The build quality is very robust and they seem well suited for outdoor use provided they are kept dry.”
- Available sizes: Small — Large
4. The Best Microwaveable Heating Pad
Another non-electric option, this microwaveable heating pad from Snuggle Safe stays warm for up to 10 hours at a time. The removable and machine-washable cover is made from soft flannel and has an adorable paw print pattern, while the pad itself is filled with a nontoxic Thermapol compound (a type of plastic) that retains its heat after being microwaved. This pad is a bit smaller, making it best for kittens and small cats — but if you layer it underneath a bed or blanket, larger cats can use it as well. While there’s no mention of water resistance, this pad is a great alternative to electric heating pads for those who don’t have convenient access to an outlet or don’t want to deal with the associated risks of electric heat or cords. You’ll just want to be extra careful to follow the heating guidelines, and to let the pad cool down a bit if it feels too hot coming out of the microwave.
According to a reviewer: “These are the best heating pads around. You can heat them up for 3-4 minutes in the microwave and they stay warm for around 10 hours. Perfect for neonatal kittens! We use them daily! They are super easy to clean [...]”
5. The Best Heating Pad Insert For A Bed
If your cat is attached to one bed, you can still add warm comfort to their naps with this electric cat bed warmer. The pad has a smooth vinyl surface with no fabric cover, as it’s designed to be inserted into your pet’s favorite bed or cushion (and keep in mind that this option should never be used on its own for that reason). Once your kitty is lying on the pad, it automatically warms up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, and when they get up, it automatically shuts off — so you don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving it on for too long (but be sure your cat doesn’t use it for more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time, even with this automatic feature). There’s no mention of water resistance, but it comes with a steel-wrapped cord that’s chew-resistant. As with other electric heat pads, you’ll want to keep an eye on your kitty to make sure it doesn’t get tangled up in the cable.
According to a reviewer: “The K&H pet warmer is absolutely perfect and just what I was looking for. I put it under the cushion in my cat's bed and he LOVES it. It stays just warm enough to be comforting, but not too warm to make him get up and leave the bed. I keep it plugged in 24/7. Cleanable with a moist paper towel or washcloth. Perfect! I bought 2 and highly recommend it.”