How to Keep Your Outdoor Cat Safe & Warm in Cooler Weather
When the temperatures start to drop in the fall and winter, you want to start planning ways to keep your outdoor cat safe and warm. Even though kitties have thick fur, they may still need tender loving care to get through the colder months. Fortunately, there are a lot of things you can do to keep your outdoor cat warm and cozy. From giving your cat a safe, waterproof shelter to providing a snuggly and heated cat bed, this guide will walk you through every step.
Bring Your Outdoor Cats Inside If You Can
If possible, it's a good idea to bring your outdoor cats inside, especially when the temperatures drop substantially. Determining exactly what temperature is too cold for outdoor cats can be tough since it depends on many factors, including a cat's health and age. When temps drop below 45°F, bring in older cats, kittens and cats that mostly live indoors and just occasionally play outside. Feral cats can tough it out longer, but they really need a safe shelter when it's below freezing (32°F). Ideally, you'll be providing warmth sooner than that!
Of course, not every situation allows you to bring outdoor cats inside. Most feral cats, for example, are simply a little too wild to join the family inside the house. The good news is that you can do many other things to keep outdoor cats safe and warm.
Provide Insulated, Dry Shelters
One of the key things you can do to help outdoor cats in the winter is to provide an insulated, dry shelter. The size of the shelter depends on how many cats will use it. You want it to be just big enough to accommodate the cats but small enough to trap the heat.
Make sure the shelter's door faces away from the wind, and try to elevate your shelter a few inches off the ground so rain and snow won't seep in. If you have a covered patio or even a garage kept slightly open, keep the shelter there, so it's shielded from the weather.
The easiest solution is to get a weather-proof, heated cat house designed for outdoor use rather than building a shelter yourself. There are numerous options to choose from, depending on the size and style you prefer.
For example, the K&H Thermo A-Frame Heated Cat House is suitable for one cat and has a cushioned, waterproof heated floor. It plugs in and is built for outdoor use.
The K&H Thermo Mod Kitty Shelter is another outdoor shelter with waterproof walls that can withstand snow. It also includes a plug-in heated pad covering half the floor, so your cat can choose if he wants to sleep on the heated part or not.
If you're looking for a functional option that's also stylish, the K&H Thermo Outdoor Kitty House has a plug-in heated version that comes in multiple colors and styles. It's also water resistant, and the roof overhangs far enough to protect the entrances from the weather.
For those needing a bigger shelter, consider the K&H Thermo Outdoor Multi-Kitty A-Frame, which has unheated or plug-in heated options. It has front and rear exits, and its thick material protects from snow, rain and wind. It can shelter up to four cozy cats.
Another larger shelter is the K&H Thermo Outdoor Kitty House Extra-Wide, which also has plug-in heated and unheated varieties. This cute and colorful house features two exits, so your cats will never feel trapped.
Protect Your Cat's Food and Water
Another important part of outdoor cat winter safety is providing access to dry food protected from the elements. The colder it gets, the more nutrition outdoor cats need. Set up covered feeding stations so water and snow can't get in. Also, make sure your outdoor cat's water isn't in danger of freezing.
The K&H Thermal-Bowl Heated Outdoor Water Bowl comes in four sizes, up to 1.5 gallons. Just plug in this water bowl to ensure your cat's water stays drinkable — even at -20°F. The bowl has internal thermostats that turn on and off as necessary to keep the water from freezing.
You might also consider the K&H Thermo-Kitty Cafe, which features one bowl for water and one for food. Plug it in to prevent water and wet food from freezing in the fall and winter months. The K&H Outdoor Kitty Dining Room can be used with the Thermo-Kitty Cafe or with bowls you currently use, providing a shelter that protects food and water from rain, snow and debris.
If you want an all-in-one shelter protecting your cat and his food, choose the K&H Outdoor Two-Story Kitty House with Dining Room in either the heated or unheated option. It's built to fit the Thermo-Kitty Café (or the bowls you currently have on hand) and provides two levels of sleeping rooms. The house is insulated and weather resistant.
Keeping your outdoor cat warm in the fall and winter months requires a little planning. But that effort could make all the difference in the world for your furry friend. Kitties crave snuggling up in warm areas, and you'll love seeing your cat safely curled up and happy when temperatures drop.