The weather’s beginning to take a turn for the frosty in my hometown of Toronto. Ever since I moved to the UK a few years ago, I get day-to-day updates from my mum about whether it’s snowed, if there were flurries or more heavy flakes, and if there’s any build up or the snow melts upon hitting the ground. I’m lucky to be living in Portugal now, where I have even less to worry about in terms of snow and ice than in the UK, but I still feel for my family back in Toronto who have to put on their hefty coats, throw on extra layers, and snuggle up indoors when the biting winds and sub-zero temperatures get a little too chilling for your bones.
I couldn’t imagine having an outdoor cat in Canada partly because of the frosty weather conditions. But I knew a number of people who did, and their cats fared quite well in the cold, or on particularly snowy days, simply opted to remain indoors until the weather was nicer. Still, I’d imagine heated shelters would be really beneficial to have around, even if an outdoor cat is snow-savvy, say in cases a storm blows up when you’re out and not able to let your cat indoors right away, or in cases where you’re looking after the stray and feral cats in your neighbourhood who don’t quite trust you enough to go inside your house for shelter when the weather gets rough.
Picture from post Avery’s Winter Portraits
Where I live here in Portugal, there are ever so many cats that don’t belong to any individual person, but are fed and cared for by everyone on the street. These cats do quite well here in the winter, but we have wet/dry seasons here rather than winters proper like back in Canada. Considering the wet months get pretty darn wet, and stray cats often spend time in my backyard, I’ve often thought about getting a waterproof outdoor cat house or two for those who may get soaked by a sudden downfall of rain, but that’s a post for another day.
Back when I wrote up my article about chew toys for cats, I spoke about how it seemed there were very few companies making great cat chew toys out there (plenty for dogs, but those don’t typically do the trick for felines). That being said, there was one company, Petstages, that made one heck of a lot of excellent teething/chew toy options, so it made up for the lack of diversity in terms of how many companies took a shot at creating a good product for cats. While digging up options for this article, I found the same to b e true of heated outdoor cat shelters. K&H Pet Products is currently one of the few companies that actually creates a load of heated outdoor cat houses. That being said, they have so many options, and do seem to have quality products, so I feel it makes up for the lack of other companies interest in trying their hand at a creating good product.
Pawhut is one company that also seems to have attempted a variety of products in this domain, but to me their products don’t seem to be as good as the ones K&H puts out there. I could be wrong, about this, but seeing as how they neither have as many reviews, nor as high reviews overall as K&H Pet Products, I think I’d personally stick to K&H – though I’ve included a variety of Pawhut options so you can browse them anyway. Do let me know if you have any experience with either company in the comments down below, or if you have any recommendations for quality heated cat shelters/homes in general.
I’ve also done my best to include both single cat heated shelters and heated outdoor cat houses for multiple cats. That being said, I wouldn’t write off products created for single cats for groups or small families of cats – a lot of people seem to be using smaller houses for feral cat families of up to 3 cats even with “small”/”individual cat” intended models. All the products here are special made heated cat houses, except for a few options where I’ve listed cat beds specially made to fit specific cat houses (those you have to buy the cat houses and the cat beds individually). Don’t forget, you also have the option of using a weatherproof or insulated cat house and placing an outdoor heated cat bed inside, but a lot of these options seem to be more reasonably priced than buying things separately that way. Still, if you don’t like any of these options, or you already have a weatherproof cat house, that’s an extremely viable way to go. Now enough preamble, let’s jump into what I’ve found.
Electric Heated Outdoor Cat Houses for Outside, Feral, & Stray Cat Winter Shelter
This K&H Pet Products insulated, weather resistant, heated cat house is probably one of the most popular electronically heated outdoor cat houses around. Certified by MET Labs to exceed USA/CA electrical safety standards (which is extremely important by the way – you don’t want your electronics malfunctioning while your cat is near, in, or on them), and vouched for by thousands of reviewers, if you’re looking for a product that’s an almost surefire bet in terms of quality and bang-for-buck worth, I think this one’s way at the top of the list.
Some outdoor cat houses seem to not be all that sturdy, but I’ve seen a number of photos of cats sitting on top of this particular heated cat house’s roof, and still it holds its own. For those whose outdoor cats bravely go out during days where snow covers the ground outside, it does seem many cats are happy to venture out to use this heated cat house. And yes, the roof also appears to be sturdy enough to hold quite a bit of snowfall.
I’m pretty sure this is the only heated outdoor cat house I’ve seen that comes with a timer included. That being said, supposedly the timer is not rated for outdoor use? Not sure about the ins and outs of this, but something to keep in mind.
Still, this heated outdoor cat bed is ranted and raved about by so many different cat owners, it’s hard not to see it as one of the top choices for this type of thing. They come with insulated floors as well as plastic door flaps to keep the heat in as well from what I’ve seen. Super nice.
If you’re dead set on getting a large outdoor cat house so multiple cats can fit comfortably and happily inside with plenty of wiggle room to spare, this seems to be a good option. I’ve seen complaints that this cat house is not completely weather or water proof, one reviewer succinctly explaining: “If left outside where it’ll be exposed to rain, the inside will get wet, as the thin floor fabric will soak up water, soaking the heating floor pad, then the cat/s will refuse to use it, as some of the customers have informed. And because it’s not insulated, and the heating floor pad, which only warms one (larger) side, barely registers any warmth on the center when a cat is laying on it, it does nothing to keep the house warm, or dry when it rains.”
Browsing around, it occurred to me that it’s possible a lot of the people giving glowing, 5 star reviews may be doing so because they happen to have placed this cat house in a somewhat sheltered area to begin with. So it looks to me you’re likely absolutely good to go if you’re using K&H’s Heated Multiple Cat House under a covered patio or some sort of area that doesn’t get a lot of precipitation, but you may want to consider other options, or even a completely weather/waterproof multi-cat house alternative + an outdoor-intended electronically heated cat bed if you’re looking to put it in an area that gets a lot of snow and rain. Or maybe consider one of the first two options, and get a couple of them to house multiple cats, as those appear to be a little better in terms of being weather resistant? Not sure. Because one reviewer also mentioned, owning both, he found this one’s quality to be superior to the A-line heated cat house.
This is one of those situations where one company (Petmate) made a popular, quality outdoor cat house, then another company (K&H again!) made a heated pet bed to fit it. Obviously, an igloo style cat house is too round to be able to nicely fit the standard rectangle heated cat beds, so the fact that K&H took the time to create a heater pad for this particular cat house is awesome. The heater doesn’t cover the entire floor, just the back section, but it definitely looks like it keeps cats warm enough.
If you’re into products like cat trees and cat scratch posts that are made of real wood, my guess is this cat house will be up your alley. Sturdy, modern, gorgeous, and sleek, it’s hard not to love real wood products, especially since they can easily be cleaned, painted, lacquered – you just have so many options with them. I love the idea of grabbing some shingles and nailing them into the roof, and some reviewers seem to have done that with their own. If I were to buy one of these I definitely would do the same, especially since the pet house literally looks like a miniature human house when you’re done. too cute for words. One reviewer mentioned that two or three cats should easily fit inside, so if you have multiple cats you’re trying to grab a home for – again, don’t turn down the “individual cat” sized homes just because they’re not intended for multi-cat use. Most still are appropriate for keeping more than one cat warm.
If you love the first option, but really would rather an A-Frame design, this particular K&H heated shelter should do the trick. One reviewer mentioned this single-cat intended shelter could fit not one, not two, but three cats – perfect since (s)he was looking for a cat house for a small family of three feral cats. Another reviewer mentioned that – again – a small family of three stray cats, a mamma and two kittens, love hanging out in the K&H A-Frame bought for them, and even included a picture of the three happy together in the review. What’s not to love?
If you love the idea of using a Petmate Indigo Igloo Pet House, but want the larger one rather than the small to keep quite a large number of cats happy to be inside, you may want to consider the large Petmate Igloo + the large K&H heated pad as an option. There’s also an in between, as Petmate has a medium version of this pet house and K&H has a medium heat pad to fit. So it’s likely you’ll be able to grab the perfect size for your needs.
I really don’t think PawHut’s A-Frame comes close to the A-frame outdoor heated cat bed by K&H, but I’ve listed it here for reference in case anybody wants to directly compare the two before making a purchase. I know that the K&H one is likely more expensive (sometimes prices change or items go on sale which is why I’m saying likely), but I think it’s likely worth the added cost.
This rounded cat bed by K&H to me looks ridiculously cute and sturdy. So many positive reviews, and in my opinion, the house looks sleek and modern compared to most outdoor cat house designs. A lot of people mention their region does not hit below freezing, but they bought it to keep cats warm at night, so I’m not sure how well it would fare in very frosty winters, still it’s a viable option, I would think, if it’s kept someplace already a little out of the way of precipitation and a little bit warm already.
As a heads up, there seem to be a lot of old reviews of this product not being an outdoor shelter at all, but a lot of newer reviews don’t say anything about the shelter being indoor-only. One reviewer mentioned after being delivered a PawHut House-Style Heated Shelter with no zipper ends and velcro that wouldn’t line up, a message to customer support resulted in a new house that was up to spec, so be sure to contact them straight away if you order this and it’s looking a little wonky.
I believe the same can be said of PawHut VS K&H’s multiple cat outdoor heated house/shelter. I’ve seen reviews that state this thing isn’t the sturdiest, and sometimes falls apart after a few washes. If you and your cat are gentle with it, I’m sure it would be fine, but I doubt it’s ideal in really windy, stormy, rainy, or snowy weather. Again, may be fine if you want to place it someplace quite well sheltered already, but I still personally would go for a K&H product instead, since I value sturdiness to a high degree when it comes to pet products.
PawHut’s rounded roof heated cat shelter is advertised as a single cat home, too, but once again, reviewers say multiple cats – here 3 are mentioned – are happy to sit in it at the same time. As mentioned, K&H has a product that’s rounded like this, so be sure to do a quick comparison with that one if you like the look. Of course between the two, PawHut’s prices are typically considerably cheaper, but K&H’s products do seem to be better in terms of quality and sturdiness.
Your Thoughts on Heated Outdoor Cat Shelters?
Have you ever thought about buying an outdoor cat house or shelter, either for your pet or for strays and feral cats in your neighbourhood? Ever thought of DIY-ing or making one yourself?
Have you ever bought an outdoor cat house? Was it electrically heated? If not, would you ever buy an outdoor heated pet bed to place in a non-heated cat shelter?
If you’ve bought one before – did you end up like the cat house you grabbed? Would you recommend it? Does it fulfill all your needs? Would you have bought a different one knowing what you do now?
Love to hear your thoughts in the comments!