We purchased 10 of the most popular cat beds on the market, and enlisted a cadre of finicky feline testers to help our team of experts find the best option for your own kitty. We spent weeks observing how cats of every size, shape, and personality type reacted to each one of these beds. We also carefully considered our own (human) impressions of each bed, with a particular focus on aesthetics and ease of cleaning. While the inherent inscrutability of our four-legged companions prevents us from being sure that your kitty will love one of our beds, we do think our in-depth review will up your chances of pleasing your furry roommate.A furry friend helps make for a happier home, and we have our fair share among us here at GearLab. Our experts have tested some of the best pet products, both feline and canine. Our in-depth reviews cover essentials like the top cat toys, as well as the best dog beds, dog toys, and top dog harnesses.
The 6 Best Cat Beds of 2023
Our Top Picks
Of the ten beds tested, our felines showed clear favoritism to the K&H Pet Products Thermo-Mod Dream Pod, which vicariously brought joy to their owners, too. One of our testers has owned this bed for several years in a multi-pet home and can attest that the rugged covering holds up over time without showing wear or tear. This bed's wide circular shape allows your cat to either curl up and get cozy or to stretch out in its 22" diameter. The main attraction is the bed's removable heated cushion. An automatic sensor in the cushion gets the head flowing when it senses your cat in the bed, and then it will match your cat's relative body temperature, creating a little heated nest to relax in. When temps warm up, remove the top and let your feline soak in the sun with the heating pad unplugged. This bed comes in a few different color choices so you can match your preferences and decor.
This bed isn't cheap — it costs twice as much as some other options. The circular design makes it more difficult to give it a good swipe with the lint roller to pick up loose hair. However, the cushion cover is easily removable and machine washable. We feel the higher cost can be justified considering the flexibility and long-lasting construction of the Thermo-Mod Dream Pod, so we encourage you to try it out if you have a few extra dollars to spare for your kitty.
The luxurious fluff of the Best Friends by Sheri Calming Donut is so warm and inviting that we wanted to bury our faces in it, but our cats always beat us to the punch. If your cat is one that likes to wriggle around and burrow into whatever surface they're relaxing on, we think they'll love this bed. Our cats consistently snuggled into this bed so hard that it was hard to tell where the bed ended and the cat began. The bed itself is completely machine washable, and the sheer fluff seemed to satisfy our cats' search for warmth despite the lack of an electric heating element.
Though a trip through the washing machine can get this bed relatively clean, the fibers still hang onto hair. Additionally, those fibers can get matted if the bed isn't washed enough or dried adequately. We also have some slight concerns about this bed's longevity, as we did notice some minor signs of wear after a few washes. Still, our cats loved this bed so much that we were more than willing to overlook these few downsides.
In our tests, the Tempcore Cat Bed provided the most cat snores per dollar, garnering strong preferences from multiple cats despite its low price. The doughnut shape allowed our cats to easily get cozy, and the fuzzy lining is plush enough to be comfy yet coarse enough to prevent matting or problematic hair accumulation. When that lining does manage to get dirty, the entire bed is machine washable.
While the lining of the Tempcore Cat Bed mostly repelled hair accumulation in our tests, there were some pockets that hung onto hair, even after going through the washing machine. Also, though our cats seemed to find this bed very cozy, it didn't appear to provide as much warmth as some of the heated and/or plusher beds available, as many of our cats showed preference towards these other beds on colder mornings. Overall, the Tempcore bed provides a lot of comfort at a low price and is a great way to spoil your cat without breaking the bank.
There's a certain type of cat that is constantly seeking out the warmest spot in the house. If your pet falls into this category, we think the K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Mat is one of the most reasonably priced ways to make their life just a bit comfier. This simple mat can easily add a dose of warmth to your kitty's favorite spot, allowing for even more lounging enjoyment. It's also a cheap and easy way to add a bastion of warmth for your pet on those winter days when you're not home and want to turn the heat down. To top it all off, the cover is machine washable, making it easy to keep the bed fresh and clean.
This bed lacks any sides, meaning it is better suited to cats that like to sprawl as they sleep, or to being added to a spot that your cat already favors. If you're looking for a standalone bed that can entice your cat to sleep in a different area, this bed probably won't cut the mustard. However, it's perfect for making your cat's favorite spot even cozier.
For cats that love basking in the sun and/or watching the birds outside, the K&H Pet Products Deluxe Kitty Sill is a great choice. If you have a windowsill that's at least two inches wide, this bed can be quickly and securely installed, allowing for endless comfortable hours spent staring out the window. The small cushion on the back of the platform allowed our cats to get cozier than on competing flat windowsill beds, making this one their clear preference. We also like that the cover is machine washable and soft enough to be comfortable but sturdy enough that we don't think it will matt or tangle. Perhaps the best part is that the bed itself does not obscure the window, allowing the humans to still enjoy the natural light as well.
While we found the K&H Pet Products Deluxe Kitty Sill to be quite easy to install, it is a bit more involved than many of the competing beds that quickly suction to the window. The best option is to use the two included screws to fasten the bed to the windowsill. The upside is that the bed is incredibly secure, but the downside is that your windowsill is permanently altered. However, there is a velcro strip mounting option that does less damage to the windowsill. This is good if you want to test the bed in a few different windows before making it permanent, or if you're renting and not allowed to put screws in the walls. The velcro attachment feels much less sturdy, though, and we would definitely recommend the screws. As long as you don't mind just a little bit of home DIY, the K&H Pet Products Deluxe Kitty Sill is far and away our favorite window bed.
Outdoor cats need some pampering too. That's where the K&H Pet Products Thermo Outdoor Kitty House comes in. This house offers reasonable protection from the elements and a heated pad that can get your cat through cold snaps in comfort. For even harsher conditions, there are removable door flaps to keep the two entrances covered. In this configuration, K&H claims it can keep your cats comfortable even in sub-zero temperatures, though we didn't have the heart to subject our cats to such hardships to test this claim. The mat itself feels durable and has a machine washable cover. Additionally, the heated pad only turns on when it senses your cat's weight, automatically saving electricity when it's not in use.
While this house feels fairly sturdy, it definitely wouldn't stand up to rain or snow. Therefore, its placement is limited to more sheltered outdoor locations like garages or covered decks. Also, while the mat provides comforting heat, it is flat and doesn't have any sides. Most of our cats prefer doughnut-style pads that have sides they can snuggle against, and that preference is even stronger on cold mornings. Therefore, we really wish this outdoor shelter provided such a sanctuary. Despite these minor flaws, this bed is the first that we would offer to any of our outdoor cats.
If you have two cats that are friendly with one another, the Long Rich Reversible Rectangle may be a good option. This larger than average bed is easily able to accommodate two snuggling kitties. The walls around the side allowed our cats to burrow and get comfy with ease, whether sleeping alone or with a buddy. It also features some plush fuzz that is lofty enough to be cozy, but not so much so that it can get matted down. When the bed does get dirty, it is completely machine washable.
Like many of the beds we tested, the Long Rich Reversible Rectangle does have some nooks and crannies that hang onto hair even after going through the washing machine. While this bed seems completely comfortable, it was not the first choice of any of our testing cats. It was only used when we purposefully put it in our cats' favorite spots and there was no alternative option available. Still, this is a well-constructed bed that can accommodate larger and/or a pair of cats.
If you have a smaller cat that tends to be skittish, there's a chance the Best Pet Supplies Pet Tent can offer them a space that feels safe. This relatively small cave bed will likely cradle your cat on three sides. If you've ever found your cat hiding from a lightning storm or other ominous sounds in improbably small spaces, that feeling might be comforting to them. To boot, the padding is quite soft and completely machine washable.
The biggest downside to this bed is its size — it is really only useful if your cat wants to hang out in a small space. Additionally, larger cats may actually find this bed a bit too constricting. But if your cat likes tight spaces, they may love this bed.
The MEOWFIA Premium Felt Cave is probably one of the most environmentally and socially conscious pet beds out there. The 100% merino wool fibers are purported by MEOWFIA as being fair trade and sustainably sourced. Those natural fibers have the added benefit of being both naturally antimicrobial and odor resistant. We can attest to the magic of merino both from our cat bed testing and from multiple backpacking trips completed wearing a single merino wool t-shirt the entire time — in our experience, merino refuses to smell bad.
As much as we love the idea of this bed, our cats just didn't. No matter how much we endorsed the environmental and social bona fides of this bed to our cats, they remained unmoved. The lack of plush padding, relatively small size, and absence of a heating pad left this bed largely ignored in our testing. If your cat happens to espouse a strict set of environmental ethics, or just likes small spaces even if they lack cozy padding, this bed may be a viable option. Otherwise, it may be left unused.
The Furhaven Deluxe L Shaped Chaise utilizes a stiffer, memory foam style of padding. This can potentially provide more support to your cat's joints. That possible extra support may be better for geriatric cats, though you should certainly consult with your vet to determine the best way to care for your older cat. The cover for that padding is machine washable and tends to shed hair better than most beds.
Unfortunately, this bed received very little love from our cat testers. They seemed not to like the stiffer padding, and the fact that there are only side supports on two sides of the bed appeared to present a less cozy situation. However, if your cat likes firmer surfaces and an unconstrained space where they can sprawl out, they may like the Furhaven Deluxe L Shaped Chaise.
Why You Should Trust Us
To find the best cat bed for every situation, we thoroughly researched the market, considering over 50 beds before purchasing ten of the best for hands-on testing. Our testing was half-human (assessments of material, build quality, softness, and ease of cleaning) and half-feline (a weeks-long observation of different cats' reactions to and preferences for different beds). In the end, we feel our testing results can help maximize your chances of finding a bed your cat will love.
Authors Michelle Powell and Max Mutter are both life-long pet owners and currently own three cats between them. Adding in the seven other cats owned by Michelle and Max's coworkers results in a large and diverse group of both humans and felines that can offer thoughtful critiques of cat beds. Additionally, this isn't the first pet-focused review to be conducted in this company — this review leans on the lessons learned from testing more than 70 pet products.
Analysis and Test Results
We divided our testing into a human appraisal of comfort, build quality, and ease of cleaning, as well as an observation of the preferences of multiple cats. Below you can read more about the standout performances in each of these categories.
We assessed comfort by feeling the padding of each bed to ascertain both the overall softness and the plushness of the material. For beds with heating elements, we checked to make sure they did, in fact, get warm (since most pads adjust to the temperature of the cat laying on them, we did not measure specific temperatures). While we didn't specifically take our cats' preferences into account in these tests, we did find that our assessments of comfort generally lined up with the majority opinion of our cadre of testing kitties.
The K&H Pet Products Thermo-Mod Dream Pod earned top marks in our comfort testing thanks to a cozy heating pad and a cave design that we felt cats would like to snuggle into. The Best Friends by Sheri Calming Donut is also at the top of our comfort list, thanks to an almost ridiculously plush lining and the titular doughnut design that many cats tend to love.
To ascertain build quality, we looked at the core materials of each bed. Specifically, we considered how well it appeared that the padding and any structural elements would stand the test of time, if any fuzzy linings could potentially become matted or tangled, and the overall integrity of any heating elements and their associated wiring. For machine-washable models, we put them through a cycle in the washing machine to see how they fared.
In our opinion, the K&H Pet Products Thermo Outdoor Kitty House is one of the best-made cat beds out there. It is meant to be used outdoors, and this shows in its construction. Whether used inside or in a sheltered outdoor location, we think it is built to last. The indoor K&H Pet Products Thermo-Mod Dream Pod is similarly well built. The rigid exterior feels strong and durable. One of our testers has owned one for a few years now, and it shows no signs of wear and tear.
Ease of Cleaning
The best cat bed can be quickly and easily cleaned and returned to service before your cat even notices it's gone. To test the ease of cleaning, we washed each bed per the manufacturers' instructions, whether that be by hand or in the washing machine. We then assessed how well that cleaning turned out and whether we had to do any more cleaning beyond what the manufacturer recommended.
The easiest cat beds to clean feature removable, machine-washable covers that allow you to wash the dirtiest part of the bed without risking any breakdown of the actual padding from putting it in the washing machine. Additionally, a cover alone can be thrown in the wash with other items, whereas a cat bed padding takes up a lot of washer space. The K&H Pet Products Thermo-Kitty Mat, the Furhaven Deluxe L Shaped Chaise, and the K&H Pet Products Deluxe Kitty Sill employ such a design. Accordingly, we found these models to be the easiest to clean.
We enlisted five different cats to lend their opinions to our group of cat beds. For multiple weeks we gave the cats access to all of our beds, constantly changing their positions to keep things fair. We observed each cat's preference for and use of each bed and tabulated that into scores.
Paws down, our cats preferred the K&H Thermo-Mod Dream Pod over any other bed. The heated pad lured them in and the security of the cave design kept them relaxing for hours. Without exception, it was every cat's first choice. The Best Friends by Sheri Calming Donut was a close second in our cats' hearts. They loved to burrow into its lush padding and snuggle into its doughnut design.
A happy, comfy cat can be an almost inexhaustible source of joy and comfort, and the right bed can be pivotal in enjoying a well-tempered kitty. Though specific preferences may vary from cat to cat, we hope our detailed testing results can help you find the perfect throne for your feline royalty.
— Michelle Powell and Max Mutter
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.Learn More