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Originally desert animals, cats enjoy warm and sunny weather. But they can have just as much trouble dealing with high heat as their humans, according to PetMD. When temperatures rise to extremes, cats can become uncomfortable and even dangerously warm. That’s where cooling pads for cats come in. You’ll often see them used and marketed for dogs.
Early signs that your kitty is suffering from the heat include restlessness (as they try to seek out cooler spots), panting, sweaty feet, drooling, or grooming excessively in an effort to cool off.
Most cooling beds are filled with either pressure-activated cooling gel or water and work best when you keep them out of direct sunlight. Don’t worry if it takes your cat a few days to figure out and start using the new bed; cats are creatures of habit.
While these beds are scratch-resistant, please note that it’s best to keep an eye out for damage. You’ll want to remove the pad right away if your cat starts tearing at it. The gel pads are filled with nontoxic material, but ingesting the filling could cause stomach upset—and other problems, in rare cases.
The Best Cooling Pads for Cats
If your cat is camped out in front of your fan or air conditioner, you might consider a pet cooling bed. We’ve rounded up 7 of our favorite cooling pads for cats to help your kitty chill out when temperatures rise.
This solid-gel cooling pad for cats is activated by your pet’s weight. It provides up to three hours of continuous cooling, even on stifling summer days. And talk about low-maintenance: The mat recharges in 15–20 minutes of non-use and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. The puncture-resistant shell means it won’t be easily shredded by your cat’s claws; you can fold it away for storage during cooler months.
This affordable, non-toxic gel mat stays 5 to 10 degrees cooler than room temperature, so your cat can cool off without getting too chilly. It’s easy to care for, wipes clean and keeps cool by itself—no need for refrigeration. You can also use it on a cat bed or inside a carrier to keep your cat comfortable in their favorite spot.
This mat comes in a variety of sizes, from small to extra large, so you can find the perfect size for one or multiple cats and other pets. Another gel mat with pressure-activated cooling technology, it stays cool for up to three hours and recharges in 15–20 minutes of non-use. It’s a great cooling pad for cats that have to travel in a carrier.
If your cat needs plenty of cushion with their cooling, this memory foam bed may be perfect. This ultra-durable mat comes with two protective covers, an outer machine washable one in the color and fabric of your choice and a waterproof internal zipper cover. The added softness makes it a good option for older cats or cats with joint issues. It’s large—ideal for multiple-cat households.
The latest update to this water-cooled pet bed features a tough nylon/vinyl exterior. To use, fill it with the recommended amount of water, adjust the pad’s air valve, and place it away from direct sunlight. The bed is intended for use in temperatures below 95 degrees F. The water remains at ambient air temperature, keeping the bed cooler than the cat.
Unlike the other cooling pads for cats on this list, this mat uses ice, getting it up to 10 times cooler than gel mats. The Hydro pad consists of three layers: an insulating foam insert, a FlexiFreeze ice sheet and one waterbed cushion to distribute the cold from the ice. The washable cover is made of rip-stop material, so you can use it indoors or outdoors without worrying about a tear or a leak. Tip: Buy additional FlexiFreeze Ice Sheets so you always have one ready in your freezer. This mat was Modern Dog magazine’s Editor’s Choice in 2019.
This one from Best Pet Supplies pulls double-duty as both a regular pet bed year-round and a cooling one when the heat’s on. The removable gel mat keeps your cat cool and comfortable in the summer and simply cozy come winter. The bed is machine washable and the gel insert wipes clean. It may not be the coldest pad on the list, but it’s probably plenty to keep most cats comfortable in the heat.