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The popular Meowfia Felt Cat Cave is so soft and beautiful it makes you want to be a cat. The gentle wool, the sophisticated colors, the idea of a toasty hidey-hole. It’s so appealing we wish they made them for humans! But that’s the hard thing about picking out products for pets, and cats in particular—what appeals to our senses doesn’t always have the same draw for them. Do cats think felt caves are as wonderful as we do?
There was obviously only one thing to do: we put the Meowfia cave bed to the test.
The Evolution of the Felt Cat Cave
It’s not clear where the first felt cat cave came from, but now the internet is full of them. I’ve seen them at trade shows, in pet supply stores, and in friends’ homes. What I can tell you is that they’re not all the same. Some are thick; some are thin. Some are coarse; some are luxuriously soft. Some keep a nice, round shape, and others tend to sag. And some are extremely durable, while others shred after a few months.
If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering: why the craze for felt?
It turns out felted wool goes all the way back to the Middle Ages, in the form of boiled wool (a type of felted wool).
While spinning and weaving wool from sheep, goats, and other hairy animals is a fairly complex process, felting is much simpler. Usually, this involves soaking handfuls of soft, fluffy wool in hot water and then rolling or squeezing the hot water out of the wool so that the fiber becomes tightly packed. (If you’ve ever accidentally washed a wool sweater on the “hot” setting and shrunk it, you’ve seen the results.)
Once the wool is packed down, it can be further compressed using a variety of felting techniques. The result is a dense fabric that is excellent at containing heat. (If there is a lot of natural lanolin in the wool, felted materials can even be highly water-repellent.)
Fast forward to the world of cat beds: Cat caves are created out of two circles of wool joined during the felting process to make a roundish cave shape. The felted cat cave is similar to a giant pita bread—with an entrance hole left for the cat.
You can find YouTube videos like this one by Chezlin that show how to make your own felt cat cave from scratch! Not being the DIY type, I checked out the cat caves in stores and selected a Meowfia, which is thick, soft, and has a reputation for durability.
The Meowfia Felt Cat Cave
The large Meowfia Premium Cat Cave I got measures 19 inches wide (at its widest point) and 12 inches high. The round entrance is 8 inches across. In short, there’s plenty of room for even a hefty cat to get in, turn around, and settle down. (The medium-size Meowfia is 16 inches across and 10 inches high.)
The Meowfia cave is made of top-quality New Zealand Merino wool. Merino sheep, originally from Spain, are known for their extremely soft, fine wool. However, the cat cave itself is fabricated in Nepal by Nepalese craftswomen. (The Meowfia website explains this in some detail.)
Don’t be surprised by the small package that arrives, though. The Meowfia is shipped flat, and the flat disc is folded into quarters and tied with string, which makes it a really pretty package. It even includes a felted wool ball for your kitty to play with—ours was bright aquamarine.
The instructions that accompany the Meowfia explain how to reshape the folded cat cave into a more evenly rounded shape by stuffing it tightly with a filler. They suggest cloth or pillows, but some people use crumpled paper or bubble wrap. (The Amazon page for the Meowfia suggests using a clothing steamer to achieve the perfectly rounded shape.)
My cats showed a lot of interest in the Meowfia package, and once it was fully operational, they loved it . . . not as a cave-style bed, but as a storage basket for all their toys.
In hopes of getting the cats to explore the Meowfia, we tossed in some catnip mice and other playthings. The result was that they’d spend the night reaching in, grabbing the toys, and scampering madly around the living room. But then they’d pad off to sleep in their regular beds instead of the cave. The three older cats prefer heavily cushioned cat beds, and the three younger cats prefer sleeping on my bed or the sofa.
On the plus side, the beautiful two-tone wool Meowfia looks much nicer in our living room than a basket full of cat toys.
Is a Meowfia Right for Your Cat?
To get a larger sample size, I threw the topic open to my cat-owning friends. As it turned out, they had a lot to say about the Meowfia and other felt cat caves, both pro and con.
I found out that if your cats like cat caves, they’ll love the Meowfia. It’s thicker than most, and plenty comfortable.
Kittens in particular go wild over a felt cat cave. Linda Jordan-Eichner reports that her new kitten, Nut, took to a cat cave immediately.
Older cats, however, can be skeptical. What one cat finds cozy, another can find claustrophobic.
“My cats collapse the cat caves and sleep on top of them,” my friend Bob reported. Sure enough, I came into the living room one morning to find that the cats had squashed the Meowfia and Zoe was perched on top of it.
Two purchasers of felt cat caves reported they were difficult to clean thoroughly after a cat threw up in them—cold-water washing did not get the smell out. My own experience with cleaning the Meowfia was positive: The dense felt is easy to vacuum using a little hand vac. I tried spot-cleaning an area using cold water and a cold-water detergent, and the cave dried nicely with no sign of any damage.
One friend, who has Siamese cats, was cautious about felt cat caves in general. She says certain breeds of cats chew on wool, which can cause intestinal problems. Sure enough, WebMD confirms that Siamese cats and Birman cats tend to suck on or eat wool. If your cat has these issues, a Meowfia is not a good choice for them. (Check out a non-wool cat cave instead.)
What we liked about the Meowfia:
- Beautiful presentation. A Meowfia would make a wonderful cat-warming gift.
- High quality. This soft felted wool made me want to climb inside it myself.
- It’s easy to clean and to keep clean.
- The Meowfia could easily handle two mid-size cats or a group of small kittens.
- Great colors. Rich grays and beiges fit nicely with streamlined modern decor.
What we didn’t like:
- Not all cats are interested in cave-type beds.
- Felt may not be a good choice for cats who’ve shown a tendency to suck on wool.
- Lack of padding. The thick felt of the Meowfia cat cave gives less support than a regular cat bed, so it may not work for an older or arthritic kitty.
Conclusion: The Meowfia cat cave is great for households with young cats and kittens, and it’s ideal for pet parents who want something more attractive than a run-of-the-mill faux-fleece cat bed. If you have reason to think your cats would like a cave, this is the one to go for.
The Premium Meowfia comes in slate grey (with brown stripes), light grey (with dark grey stripes), dark grey (with light grey stripes), asphalt (with aquamarine stripes), and—for those who want to go really bold—bright aquamarine with grey stripes. (Just my opinion, but I think the aquamarine would look great with an orange cat.)Find the Meowfia on Amazon