This post has been two weeks in the making.
That’s how long it took Brandy to decide she’d even set foot in her fancy new heated cat bed that I had my best friend hand deliver to Japan from the U.S. I’d been DYING to give Brandy a heated cat bed for months. Ever since we moved from to Yokohama from Hawai’i, Brandy has complained about the cold.
“What the &%$# is this?!” she yowled the first time the temperature dipped below 65. “You better fix this, or you will be punished,” she warned me one morning when the wind rattled the windows and ice formed on the stairs to our apartment.
So a heated bed became my mission. It was near Christmas/Hanukkah (Hanukchristmas), so my husband and I concluded that in lieu of big gifts for each other, we’d give Brandy the big gift.
“Well, it’s ABOUT TIME,” she hissed from her spot by the space heater.
We pored over heated cat beds online, some shippable to Japan, some not. But we kept coming back to Hammacher Schlemmer’s The Warming Cat Bed. So we ordered it. We got the large one for $89.95 USD, plus shipping and handling (which came to about $100). Unfortunately, shipping to Japan was ridiculously expensive (it was about the same price as the bed, and I wasn’t even sure it would get here), so we shipped it to my friend Joy in California to bring to us in February.
Joy was Brandy’s bed mule.
When it arrived (and Joy too), I tore open the packaging like it might be the Nintendo I never got when I was 10. Brandy watched skeptically from Joy’s folded-up futon in the living room.
I don’t know what I expected. I knew the bed smelled weird, and I didn’t expect Brandy to immediately jump on in and warm her senior cat bones (like Cat Dandy’s tabby Thomas did in his “cat hot tub”), but … I thought she’d at least be interested? Nope. I put the t-shirt of mine she’d been sleeping on for the past couple of days in there, as well as the shirt my husband had been wearing, hoping to entice her. Nope. She wouldn’t even look at it.
“Don’t you even want to, y’know, try it out, Brandy?”
“It looks weird. It smells weird. You look weird. Stop looking at me.”
For a few days I tried to show Brandy how AWESOME the Warming Cat Bed was by pretending to snuggle into it, drape myself across it to watch a movie, or set it on our bed with her favorite blanket. I became pretty fond of its cushy warmth. She’d snuggle up NEXT to it, but never IN it.
“You’re up to something,” she said through slitted eyes one night.
I’d chosen it because it got warm not hot (right around her body temperature, or barely higher) and has a springy-but-firm foam cushion. You can barely feel the radiant warmth of the bed when it’s plugged in and catless. It really “activates” when there’s the weight of a cat on it. In my opinion this is the only minor drawback to this bed — there isn’t sufficient warmth to entice a cat into it. (Okay, I guess that also means there isn’t sufficient warmth to COOK a cat either, so it’s not really a drawback but a hurdle.)
I also like that the wiring and electrical stuff is all but impossible for cat claws to reach. The padding is so thick that even Brandy’s heavy kneading doesn’t come close to any wiring. Plus the “walls” of the bed are very sturdy foam, so she can snuggle right into the microfleece without bending or toppling the bed.
But first she had to get INTO the bed. For 10 days I tried play it cool. I put the bed on the floor, on my bed, by the window — hoping one of these locations would entice her. Brandy just watched.
“I hope you’re enjoying your new toy,” she taunted.
Then one day I removed the “roof” or partial cover from the bed. I don’t know why I didn’t do this right away. I thought she might like snuggling into a little “private cove” — but I should know my kitty better.
Within 30 minutes of putting her favorite blanket in it and located it on top of our bed, Brandy climbed in and curled up. That’s all it took. That and two weeks of coaxing and pretending to sleep in the bed myself.
Now Brandy spends most of her days and half of her nights (she likes to switch to my back in the wee small hours) in her heated bed. We keep it on our bed during the day, and on the floor at night. Looking at her purring away in her new bed makes my heart explode with joy. My husband and I spend most of our evening losing our s**t over how cute and happy she is in her bed.
Brandy says: “I approve of this upgrade to my sleeping blanket. The temperature rivals Louise’s hip (my other favorite place to nap), and the high walls make me feel safe but not covered up. The heat helps me feel less stiff, and it doesn’t do all that annoying breathing and rolling around that the humans do when I harvest their warmth.”
So there you have it, straight from the kitty herself. We give Hammacher Schlemmer’s Warming Cat Bed four paws up.
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About the author: Louise Hung is a morbidly inclined cat lady living in Yokohama, Japan, with her cat, her man, and probably a couple ghost cats. She also writes for xoJane. You can follow her on Twitter or drop her a line at IamLouiseMicaela@gmail.com.