Outdoor Cat House

For those of you with cats who go outside, you may want to consider an outdoor cat house especially if your cat isn’t able to access shelter. There are other options such as pet doors, but you want to be sure you keep your cat safe.

All my current cats are indoor cats. In the past, I had cats I let outdoors, but now keep them all inside. I find it much less stressful knowing where they are at all times. I remember having to search for my outdoor cats late at night, walking around the neighborhood in the dark with a flashlight. I’m glad I don’t have to do that anymore.

Cat House

For those with outdoor cats who want to provide them shelter, there are outdoor cat houses. It’s amazing all the selections from basic designs to quite expensive ones. I have several friends who use an outdoor cat house, and it is the perfect solution for the cat who just won’t or doesn’t want to come inside at night.

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A cat house is also good for when it rains. A friend of mine has a couple of cats who even sleep in them during the day in sunny weather. I guess some of our feline friends just like the outdoors.

I remember a cat I had years ago who refused to use a litter box. In the dead of the winter, during a snowstorm, she went outside in probably a foot of so of snow to go to the bathroom. Then she trudged back through the snow and back inside. I never quite understood that, but she insisted on going out even though she had a clean litter box.

A common question or debate which comes up is whether cats get cold. I did some research on this and wanted to address that topic since we are talking about outdoor cat houses.

Do Cats Get Cold?

Whenever it starts getting colder outside, a common concern is whether it’s too cold for cats to be outdoors. Cats are more adaptable to cold weather than people. Their fur helps to insulate them and keep them warm.

However, once the temperature starts dropping below freezing, cats become susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. An outdoor shelter for cats can solve this issue. If you cat insists on going out or if you have strays or feral cats you want to provide housing for, you have a couple of options.

There certainly are plenty of cat house for outdoors you can purchase ranging from basic to deluxe such as this outdoor cat house bungalow:

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Cool Cedar Cat Cottage

Unreal huh? An entire cat family could live in this thing. You can check it out in more detail here.

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House Size:   36″ x 37 1/2″
Door Openings:

  • Entrance Door  =  8″ Wide x 8 5/8″ Height
  • Escape Door  = 8″ Wide x 8 5/8″ Height

Many of the cat houses come with options such as raised foundation, porches and decks, heaters, heated mats and even air conditioning. One useful option is the hide away door which allows you to easily open up the side and get in there to clean it out.

Or you can make your own. Many people post helpful tips online regarding setting up feral cat houses so the cat feels safe and will use it.

Designer Outdoor Cat Shelter – Buying a Heated Cat House

Depending on how crazy you want to go, there are lots of of styles to choose from for outdoor cat shelters. The bigger and more add-ons, the higher the  price. Here are a few really cool ones if you want to go all out for your cats.

Cattilac Cat House

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Cattilac Cat House

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The western red cedar Cattilac Cat House comes with insulation as a standard feature so it’s more than just a wooden house. It also has an installed heavy duty flap door. It will keep your cats warm. It’s big enough for up to five cats, depending on their size of course. When you visit the site, you have many custom options to select from such as raised foundations, heat pads and even thermostats you can control.

House Size:  40″ Wide x 20″ Deep x 30″ Height
Door Opening:  8″ Wide x 8 5/8″Height

It’s basically a cat mansion. You can get all the details on the Cattilac cat house here.

Cedar Duplex Cat House

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Cedar Duplex Cat House

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The duplex is designed for multiple cats and gives them plenty of space. It’s perfect for two cats but is spacious enough for 4 average sized cats. On the inside, there’s a partition if you want to give each cat it’s own separate quarters. Or if they get along fine, you can remove it and just have one huge open area.

House Size:  40″ Wide x 20″ Deep x 30″ Height
Door Opening:  8″ Wide x 8 5/8″Height

The Duplex comes with the same optional add-ons as the Cattilac above. You can check out more details here.

Cat Cottage Triplex

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Cat Cottage Triplex

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Here’s another multiple cat option. You can have a deck, a raised deck or even a platform to accommodate additional cats underneath so they don’t have to lie on the the ground. The Triplex comes fully insulated also.

House Size: 38″ Wide x 20″ Deep x 38″ High
Door Opening: 6″ Round

Check out the Triplex and all the design options here.

17 Inch Cedar Cat Townhouse (also comes in 20 Inch)

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17 Inch Cedar Cat Townhouse

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The cedar cat townhouse comes in two sizes: 17 inch and 20 inch. Insulation is optional for this cat shelter.

House Size:  17″ Wide x 17″ Deep x 23″ Height
Door Opening:  6″ Round

As with the others, there are many add-ons to build this cat house to your own specifications. See all the details for the 17 and 20 inch models here.

DIY Cat House Tips

The Shelter
A shelter needs to be large enough for the cat to be able to walk in and turn around in it. Typically they are made from plastic bins with holes cut into it or from wood. It’s helpful to elevate the house off the ground to keep it warmer.

Bedding Do’s & Don’ts
As far as the bedding, straw tends to be a great inexpensive option. It wicks away moisture and provides warmth. Cats can burrow into it. One note, hay, and straw are not the same so be sure you use the straw. Hay will draw in and hold moisture, which is something you want to avoid.

Some will use shredded newspaper, but if you do you will want to check it to make sure it isn’t wet and change it often, so the wet paper doesn’t freeze into hard chunks. Although blankets would seem like a good choice, keep in mind, a wet blanket will freeze and get hard so you will need to monitor that too.

Resource
I found a great article on feral cat winter shelters which also includes instructions along with a free pdf file you can download which has the blueprints. There are some images on the page too showing the different options. Most of them are simple and fairly inexpensive to construct.

Do You Need A Heated Outdoor Cat House?

Anyone with cats who stay outside either in cold weather or overnight should consider getting a cat house if the cat isn’t able to access the house, a garage or indoor porch. You want to provide your cat both a safe and warm place to hunker down. There are cheap DIY options, or you can splurge and buy a cat house.