Originally desert animals, cats enjoy warm and sunny weather. But they’re actually not any better at tolerating heat than us humans, according to PetMD. When temperatures rise to extremes they can become uncomfortable or dangerously warm.
Early signs that your cat isn’t doing well with the heat include restlessness while they try to seek out cooler spots, panting, sweaty feet, drooling, or grooming excessively to try to cool off.
If you constantly find your cat camped out in front of your fan or A/C unit, you might consider a pet cooling pad. Cooling beds are most commonly used for dogs on hot days, but they can also be a great tool for cats.
A cooling bed is usually filled with either gel or water and works best when kept out of direct sunlight. Most cats will take a few days to get used to the pad.
Please note that with any of these beds, it’s best to keep an eye out for damage and remove it as soon as (or if) your cat starts tearing it up. Gel pads are filled with nontoxic material, but even so, can cause loose stool and stomach upset when ingested, and more problems in rare cases.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite cooling pads for cats to chill out with when it gets hot.
This solid-gel cooling mat is activated by your cat’s weight. It provides up to three hours of continuous cooling, even on stifling summer days. And talk about low-maintenance: the pad 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 and it easily folds away for storage during cooler months. Made of non-toxic materials, the mat is safe for every member of the family.
Helpful review: “We’ve had a heat wave hit this week in Northern California…mid to high 90’s. We have 2 cats approximately 10 lbs. each… They love it…Plenty of room for both and to stretch out, they are both long cats. Good size. The mat is very well made, worth the $$. I’m very happy. …..Shhhh….. I want one for me!”Buy Now on Amazon for $49.95
This affordable, non-toxic gel mat stays five to 10 degrees cooler than room temperature, so your cat can cool off but not get too cold. 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.
Helpful review: “With no AC in my house, the heat this summer was unbearable. I like that it cools to the touch and no freezing is necessary. So far no rips on it and haven’t seen any other damage from the cats. At first my cats were apprehensive but quickly learned how “cool” this is…hehe. Only problem is that they don’t like to share it.“Buy Now on Amazon for $29.99
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 cooling technology, it stays cool for up to three hours and recharges in 15-20 minutes of non-use.
Helpful review: “We have a very furry breed, an Eurasier. He gets hot easily, and then moves around a lot…He goes to these cooling pads all the time and they are his favorite places to lay. He’s never chewed on the edges or scratched through the top, so we’re very happy with the quality and functionality of this product.”Buy Now on Amazon for $71.57
If your cat needs a little more cushion with their cooling, this memory option may be perfect. This ultra-durable mat comes with two protective covers, an outer machine washable cover in the color and fabric of your choice and a waterproof internal zipper cover. The cushion makes it a good option for older cats or cats with joint issues.
Helpful review: “OMG! I love this product – it’s amazing!!! My older dog is big and this product stays cool and he lays on it perfectly – he’s a large Queensland. Really helps with his sore joints. The cover is amazing – comes right off – goes right back on. We went through so many products – non-slip so he can lay on it without it moving. THANK YOU!!”Buy Now on Amazon for $45.95
Unlike the other mats on this list, this pad uses ice to cool your cat and gets up to 10 times cooler than gel mats. The Hydro pad consists of three layers to help cool your cat quickly: an insulating foam insert, a FlexiFreeze ice sheet and one waterbed cushion to distribute the cold from the ice. It’s surrounded by a washable cover and is made of rip-stop material. Use it indoors or outdoors without worrying about a tear or a leak.
Helpful review: “The Hydro Cooling Mat is well designed and constructed: The three layers provide a nice cushion for our dog and the pad remains very cool for hours. We use the mat both at home and in our dog’s car crate. I recommend buying an additional FlexiFreeze Ice Sheet so it can be replaced while the used one is put back in the freezer.”Buy Now on Amazon for $89.99
This silk mat won’t get your cat cold but will let them cool down, as it stays three degrees cooler than other fabric. With silky cooling fabric on one side and breathable mesh on the other, this mat is a great piece to put on cat beds and other plush places so your cat can still enjoy them in the heat.
Helpful review: “My two small dogs love these. They are cool to the touch and the fabric feels comfortable. I just wished it hadn’t taken so long to deliver. With my nightsweats, I could use one myself.”Buy Now on Amazon for $17.72
If you want to invest in something more year-round than a cooling mat, try this one. This pet bed has a removable cooling gel to keep your cat cool and comfortable in the summer while still being a cozy bed come winter. The bed is machine washable and the gel insert wipes clean. If your cat turns out not to be a fan of cooling mats, you can remove the gel pack and keep it as a cozy cat bed. It may not be the coldest pad on the list, but it’s probably plenty to keep most cats comfortable in the heat.
Helpful review: “The cooling pad is under mesh that makes it a little less effective than other cooling beds, however it makes it super simple to clean. Love this bed and so does my pup!”Buy Now on Amazon for $39.99