There’s very little that’s more satisfying for a cat parent than curling up with a warm, fluffy cat. It’s not just our choice to cuddle with them, though. They often seek us out, too, pinning us down on the sofa, in a chair, or even in bed. Sure, they love just being near us, but if you look carefully, you’ll notice they also seek out warm blankets, the heat vents or the radiator, sun puddles, and more. Why do cats like warm things?
I’ve written about cats and sunbeams before. Cats are so attracted to sunbeams because it helps them regulate their body temperature and conserve energy at the same time. The sun warms them, so they spend less metabolic energy on staying warm, and more on recharging from hunting, fighting and defending territory, and more.
With their fur coats, the fact that cats like warm things can be baffling
Cats have built-in fur coats. They can’t possibly get that cold, can they? It may not be that they’re actually cold, per se. According to Mother Nature Network, cats crave warmth because they’re descended from desert animals. Because of that, cats are hardwired to thrive when they’re toasty. So, despite the fur coats, cats like warm things because they like being much warmer than we like for ourselves.
Cats’ fur is insulating and helps them to regulate their body temperatures, but given cats’ proclivities for finding and cuddling up to heat sources, their fur can become a problem. The insulation also keeps them from noticing that they’re getting too warm until it’s dangerous.
This is especially a problem with radiators and other, similar heat sources, like heated foot rests and heating pads. These things can burn your cat, because she’ll lie on it for too long without noticing the heat the way you and I would.
Cats can also create havoc by pulling curtains or towels down over radiators, and other mischief like that. Even though cats like warm things and it can be cute, this is something to be aware of.
How you can provide warmth for your cat without the danger
One solution is a heated pet bed. We have one of these for Gizmo, because her fur is thin and she gets much colder in the winter than our other cats do. The heating pad inside the bed is pressure-activated, so it only warms up when she’s in the bed.
Another solution is to put their favorite pillow, bed, or blanket near their heat source, but not directly on it, so they’re more likely to lie down at a safe distance from it. The fact that cats like warm things doesn’t have to be dangerous for them, or for you. It doesn’t even have to be inconvenient, and you can give them the warmth they desire.