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Cats love to lounge in the sun. But when temperatures rise to extremes, even our sun-loving kitties are at risk of overheating. That’s where pet cooling mats come in. The best cat cooling mat will offer relief from the heat while keeping your cat comfy all summer long.
The thing is, most cooling pads are geared towards dogs, leaving cat parents puzzled over how their own kitty might fare with one. And with several different types of cat cooling beds to choose from—gel mats, water mats, and mats that use ice—the decision becomes even more muddled.
How to Choose The Best Cat Cooling Pad
After completing our own hands-on testing, speaking with veterinarians, and examining every last feature and review we could find, we discovered that the best cooling mats for cats will have some key features:
- Scratch-proof materials: Naturally, you’ll want something durable that will hold up to sharp nails. Mats made with rip-stop material or tough nylon or vinyl are good options.
- Non-toxic materials: Speaking of sharp nails, always go for non-toxic gel—in case your cat happens to puncture a hole. If your cat is a professional chewer, it’s a good idea to avoid gel mats altogether, since ingesting large amounts of even non-toxic gel can upset a kitty’s stomach.
- Size: Again, because most cooling pads are designed for dogs, make sure you’re not getting one intended for a Great Dane. Check all dimensions carefully.
- Washability: Most gel mats can be easily wiped down with a damp towel. But if you’re concerned about serious messes, some models, like the Green Pet Shop Cooling Pad, come with a removable cover that can be tossed in with the laundry.
- Ease of Use: In terms of convenience, gel mats get our vote. They don’t require refrigeration, water, or electricity. They’re lightweight and portable, whereas water- or ice-filled mats tend to be heavier and trickier to transport. (Though they do get significantly colder than most gel mats—so if your kitty likes a serious chill, that’s the place to start.)
If your cat is camped out in front of the fan or air conditioner, they’ll probably appreciate the addition of a cat cooling mat. Keeping in mind that every cat (and cat parent) has different needs, we’ve rounded up six of our favorite cat cooling pads to help your kitty chill.
Best All-Purpose Mat: ArfPets Self-Cooling Pet Bed (Verified Review)
If you’re looking for a simple, easy-to-use mat that suits a range of scenarios, this ArfPets model is up to the task. Activated by your pet’s weight, this solid-gel pad provides up to three hours of continuous cooling.
With foam-based bolsters circling the perimeter, this cat cooling mat doubles as a comfy cat bed. And talk about low-maintenance: our testing found the mat recharges with 15 to 20 minutes of non-use and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth. It comes in three sizes, and the small would be ideal for a cat.
- 100% non-toxic materials
- Foam bolsters add a comfy sleeping surface
- Cooling top gel layer is supported by foam mattress
- Available in three sizes
Coldest Mat for Super Hot Kitties: CoolerDog Hydro Cooling Mat (Verified Review)
For ultra-cooling power, you can’t beat the CoolerDog Hydro. Unlike the other cooling pads on this list, this mat uses ice—getting it up to ten times colder than most gel mats. It’s an ideal solution for cats who like it really cold, provided you can remember to freeze the ice sheets before you need them. We recommend buying additional FlexiFreeze Ice Sheets so you always have one ready in your freezer.
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 sturdy rip-stop material makes this mat a solid choice for cats who can’t help scratching. And it also means you can use this bed indoors or outdoors without worrying about a tear or a leak. However, our testing found the Hydro mat does get slightly damp to the touch, so water-averse kitties might appreciate a towel placed on top.
- Ten times colder than gel mats
- Additional mats can be attached together for a larger surface
- Mat cover is machine-washable
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Best for Travel: The Green Pet Shop Cool Pet Pad
When you and kitty are on the go, you can stash this lightweight cat cooling mat along with your other feline travel essentials (like a cat harness or a cat-friendly backpack). This gel-based pad is ready to go whenever you are: no ice or refrigeration required. It folds up for easy transport. Plus, it’s on the thin side, so it won’t take up valuable storage space—though that does mean it offers a little less padding, and senior kitties may prefer cushier options like the ArfPets model.
- Patented “green” pad uses non-toxic gel
- Affordable price
- Folds up easily for travel
- Minimal padding
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Best for Outdoor Use: FurHaven Deluxe Oxford Cooling Cat Bed
Need to spruce up your outdoor catio? We suggest checking out this indoor/outdoor bed from FurHaven. Protected with a durable coated poly-canvas cover and water-resistant base, this mat holds up well to the elements. The cover is also removable, so you can wipe down each component.
- Three-inch memory foam base provides orthopedic support
- Water-resistant sleep surface
- Cover is removable, but is NOT machine-washable
Best for Senior Cats: SEALY Lux Orthopedic Cooling Bed
For senior kitties whose joints could use a little cushioning, this Sealy cat cooling mat features orthopedic memory foam. It’s also a smart pick if incontinence is an issue: the foam core is protected with a water-resistant liner, and the cover is removable and machine-washable. A textured non-skid bottom keeps the bed in place for your older cat.
- Four-layered design offers comfort and cooling power
- Bolsters give your kitty a place to rest their head
- On the more expensive side
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Best Water-Based Cooling Pad: K&H Cool Water Bed III
For cat parents concerned about gel (especially those with cats who nibble on things they shouldn’t), a water cooling mat is a safe alternative. The latest update to this water-cooled K&H bed is 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 water remains at ambient air temperature, keeping the bed cooler than the cat.
- Affordable price
- Outdoor-friendly (but should be kept in the shade)
- Intended for use in temps under 95 degrees Fahrenheit
How We Chose
The products featured here were selected based on a combination of our own hands-on testing, a comprehensive look at customer reviews across a wide variety of retail platforms, and interviews with veterinary experts. We’ve prioritized effectiveness of cooling, convenience, ease of storage, durability, and safety in our cat cooling mat picks. We’re also guided by the experience of living and playing alongside our own much-loved and strongly opinionated pets, who are never stingy with their feedback.