Note: This is NOT a sponsored post!
A non-toxic bed for your cat?
My four cats are outside cats, and I cannot seem to get them to even sleep inside during the winter — even though Bobby (pictured here – and in many more of my photos, since she always seems to photo-bomb my outdoor photo shoots!) is getting on in years (she is about 10-1/2 years old! – born on May 5, 2009.)
We have a “cat house” that we built for the cats (it’s actually better than most play houses – and is big enough for four kids to cram into as well!). It has wood walls and rafters, a metal roof, and a bench seat – so the kids can sit in there with the cats and visit if they like. This little house is actually where Bobby birthed her first (and only) litter of kittens – back in 2010! This year I decided to get most of the bikes and scooters out of the cat house [which had long-ago become a repository for sports equipment, since the cats, once “all grown-up” seemed to have lost interest in hanging out in there! lol], and re-dedicate it to the cats. I wanted to help them stay warm, and have a safe haven out of the wind and rain (and occasional snow), since they steadfastly refuse to come inside on colder days!
Continue reading below the image (this is our cat house!)
Until now I only had one cat bed for the four of them to share (a standard polyfill one that is a flat rectangle with low-rise sides – see the image below), and I wanted to get them something that had more of a top to retain more body heat. I also wanted to get them a natural, non-toxic alternative (given how much I have learned in the past decade about the potential for toxicants in pet supplies!) In digging around online, I found these natural wool felted “cat caves” and I added them to my 2019 Lead Safe Mama Stocking Stuffer Guide [and I also secretly coveted them — and hoped someone might also buy me one as a gift! ;-)]
Continue reading below the image (this is the inside of our cat house!)
Why did I want a natural wool bed for my pets?
Here’s a list with just some of the reasons:
- Most pet beds on the market – especially those sold by mainstream stores like PetCo and similar – are made of synthetic fibers, with poly-fill.
- Synthetic fiber items that I have tested recently (stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, couches, etc.) have – across the board – tested positive for trace levels of Antimony (usually in the 190 to 300 ppm range.)
- In studies, Antimony has been demonstrated to cause cancer in rats, and can contribute to compromised lungs.
- Poly-fill items don’t biodegrade, and when they are at the end of their useful life, they usually just end up in landfills – and as they break down (to the extent that they do), they just add to the burden of microplastic particulates in our environment (and ultimately, in our oceans).
- A natural wool pet-bed will fully biodegrade.
- A natural wool pet-bed will not create an undue burden on the environment.
- A natural wool pet-bed is more likely to keep my kitties warm in all our Portland weather conditions (wool insulates even when wet)
- A natural wool pet-bed is less likely to test positive for toxic heavy metals (like Antimony, Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic and Mercury)
- If you click on the image of the tag for this product (by dharma dog karma cat – below) you can see a full-size picture of the tag, and also read some other cool stuff about the company and the product!
Five things I learned once I got my hands on a natural wool pet bed…
[The blue navy ombre dyed bed pictured here.]
- Blue was probably not the best choice — in spite of the manufacturer’s promises of natural safe dyes, there appears to be a trace contaminant level of Cadmium in the blue dye (only detected by the XRF instrument where the blue was darkest). This level is considered safe by all standards, so I am not too concerned for the health of my cats, but I would have preferred one that tested completely negative for Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic and Antimony. If I get another one of these in the future, I will likely get a natural-colored one [I mean the cats don’t really care about the color – right?!)
- As anticipated, this is an Antimony-free choice, so I am really excited about that. It also tested negative for Arsenic, Mercury and Lead.
- I introduced each of my cats to the bed and am still waiting for them to “take” to it (I don’t yet know if they will want to sleep in it and if they will cozy up with two cats inside the one bed – which was the plan, based on how our cats normally sleep!) I will post an update as soon as I know if the kitties like the bed. If they don’t end up liking it, I will repurpose it for the bunny — as I think it might be a perfect “bunny burrow”!
- The price tag for many of these online (from all sorts of different websites) seems to be in the $75 to $90 range (with just a few less-expensive options in the larger sizes.) This is just one more product where it looks like buying locally (from your local pet store) may be the better / less-expensive option – saving you possibly $20 to $30 (compared to purchasing online), which is a pretty significant savings given the price point of the bed!
- There were trace levels of some other metals in the dye, as well – please continue reading below the image to see the full XRF test results for this product!
Below are the full XRF test results for the blue wool felted kitty bed by dharma dog karma cat pictured in this post.
Dark blue area of bed:
- Cadmium (Cd): 16 +/- 10 ppm (Safe by all standards)
- Chromium (Cr): 613 +/- 68 ppm
- Bromine (Br): 9 +/- 2 ppm
- Zinc (Zn): 61 +/- 9 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 190 +/- 27 ppm
Light blue area of bed:
- Zinc (Zn): 46 +/- 9 ppm
- Iron (Fe): 265 +/- 32 ppm
Click the image below to see the tag for the product full size.
Continue reading below the image.
I love this product concept — as it avoids plastics and most heavy metals. I love that it is made of natural, biodegradable fibers. If I need more of these for my pets in the future, I will likely get another one — but will choose one with a natural color scheme (vs. the brightly-colored ones), to avoid any trace contaminants of heavy metals in what is otherwise a terrific natural product.
In digging around online, I was quite surprised to see many different companies making and selling similar products (environmentally friendly, natural wool, hand-felted, “cat caves”.) The most surprising option was an eco-friendly, natural wool cat bed bearing an uncanny likeness to Donald Trump’s head (yikes!)! For me, this wins the award for “most bizarre thing you can purchase on the Internet today”! Lol! [Click on the image below to see it “in the wild” on Amazon!]
As always, thank you for reading and for sharing my posts.
Please let me know if you have any questions.