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Are Heat Lamps Safe for Cats? Vet Approved Facts, Safety Guide & FAQ

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

tortoiseshell maine coon cat lying on bed

Vet approved

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are heat seekers who enjoy lounging and napping in warm spots around the home. You can find different pet products designed to provide more warmth for cats, including heat lamps. When it comes to the safety of heat lamps, it really depends on how you set it up. In some cases, it’s safe to set up a heat lamp for cats, while in other circumstances, it’s best to find other alternatives. So, before you purchase a heat lamp, make sure you’re able to set it up safely to prevent burns and other types of accidents.

Are Heat Lamps Safe for Cats?

Heat lamps can be an effective means of helping your cats find warmth, and you can find energy-efficient and affordable options. However, there are some safety precautions to follow. Heat lamps are often used in reptile enclosures to help cold-blooded animals manage their body heat. They’re safer in these enclosures because they can be stationed in spots that can’t be reached.

It can be much more difficult to set up a heat lamp in an unreachable space for cats. Cats can be quite acrobatic and jump to surprising heights. So, it’s important to install the lamp in a spot that your cat can’t knock over.

Another safety factor to consider is the lamp’s wattage and the amount of heat it emits. Choosing a lamp that has the appropriate wattage for your room size will reduce the risk of burns. You can also install a lampshade over the lamp to reduce the heat and provide further protection for your cat.

cat resting in the couch
Image Credit: mama_mia, Shutterstock

Can Heat Lamps Be Dangerous for Cats?

In some cases, heat lamps can be dangerous and shouldn’t be installed. First, it’s important to have a large enough space for the heat lamp because they may overheat without proper air circulation. Lamps  kept in smaller rooms may also be more at risk of being knocked over simply because there’s not enough space. Both of these can be potential fire hazards.

Heat lamps also won’t be a safe option if you have particularly active or curious cats that may want to investigate them, potentially causing burns or knocking them over.

In all cases, a heat lamp should only be turned on when you’re able to supervise your cat. It should only be kept on during parts of the day and shouldn’t be left on for long hours. This will reduce the risk of potential accidents and will also help you save energy.

Other Alternatives to Heat Lamps

Fortunately, there are other options you can use to increase warm spaces for your cat. So, if you decide that heat lamps aren’t a safe option for your cat, here are some other alternatives you can consider.

First, using a hot water bottle can be a great way to help a cat keep warm. Just make sure the water bottle isn’t too hot-think baby bath water instead of near boiling. It can also feel more comforting than a heat lamp if you wrap it in a soft towel and let your cat snuggle with it.

A cat heating pad, like a Snuggle Safe, may be a good option as well. Just be sure to follow the directions to ensure that the pad doesn’t get too hot.

You can also add some more blankets and pillows that your cat can borrow into to stay warm. A heated cat bed is another option. There are many varieties to choose from, including some that use the cat’s own body heat to warm them.

Another thing you can do to help your cat stay warm is to take advantage of natural sunlight. Drawing your curtains open during the daytime can allow natural heat to come through the windows. Just make sure your windows are sealed properly to prevent the cold from getting in.

woman pouring boiling water
Image Credit: lexanikolaevih, Shutterstock

Conclusion

Heat lamps can be an easy and affordable way to keep some cats warm. However, if you assess your situation and find safety issues, there are plenty of other alternatives you can try. If you have any questions about keeping your cat warm, consult your veterinarian


Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Jessica Kim

Authored by

Jessica is a freelance writer who spends most of her day researching and writing while her fluffy Cavapoo, Nora, naps beside her. She loves and appreciates pets and animals because there’s so much to learn from them, and they do so much for people. As a dog mom, she understands the special connection that pet parents have with their pets. So, she loves sharing helpful information that people can use to better understand...Read more

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