Last week, I spoke about electronically heated outdoor cat houses, and while I was doing some digging for that post, I realized that even if I was still living in Canada, where winters obviously get well below freezing, chances are high I’d opt for insulated outdoor cat shelters to keep stray and feral cats in my neighbourhood warm rather than electronically heated ones.
Yes, the electronically heated cat houses are no doubt much warmer, and I’d want to use them if I could, but the issue I’m sure I’d run into pretty quick is related to location. Electronically heated pet houses need to be be plugged in. Yes, I know this is obvious, but in most of the houses I’ve lived in, there are no outlets randomly located at the back of a long garden. If you’re going to plug in an electronically heated cat house, you’re probably going to have to keep that pet house pretty close to your own brick and mortar home, unless you’re happy to run a really long extension chord or two all the way to the very back of your yard to make sure the heated cat house can be placed a long way away.
Picture from post Smitten With a Kitten – When a Stray Cat Adopts You
Since so many of the stray and feral cats I’ve met in the past (including the one I adopted, and the one I got my brother to adopt!), have been flighty and haven’t been big fans of staying close to a human house for long, I’d imagine a pet house for feral cats in winter would be much more frequently used if it happened to be placed at the very back of a garden. A secluded, quiet corner under some trees and with some bushes surrounding it would be perfect. In a spot far from human commotion, stray and feral cats who need it to keep warm would feel safe enough to stick around for as long a time as they needed.
Now, if I had outdoor cats as pets rather than indoor-only ones, I’d definitely be interested in grabbing electronically heated outdoor cat houses for them, but that’s because if a cat is my own, sticking close to home would feel just as safe (if not safer) than further away hidden amongst the treeline at the very back of my yard.
Let me know in the comments what your own thoughts are about this, as I’d really like to know if you agree or disagree. When do you think it might be useful to have insulated cat houses versus ones that are electronically heated? Besides whether you’re sheltering stray and feral cats in your area, or outdoor cats that belong to you or others on your street, I think the other thing that’s highly relevant is the type of climate you live in, so do let me know what your winters are typically like in your comment.
Now that I’m living near Lisbon in Portugal, I would 100% get insulated over heated, because winters here just aren’t so cold. I actually find it’d be more important for me to have weatherproof/waterproof cat houses than for me to have well insulated ones, because it’s terribly wet and rainy during winters here, and we get bursts of rain out of nowhere that cats can easily be caught up in by accident. If a cat tried to hide in an insulated cat shelter I bought that wasn’t the best at keeping out rain, he or she may end up completely drenched – which would be terrible. But based on my experience living in the south of the UK for a couple of years, I probably would’ve been okay getting a slightly less weatherproof cat house and would’ve opted for an insulated one instead. The explanation for why comes down to the fact that – even though it was wet and rainy – it didn’t typically pour buckets. Bournemouth definitely didn’t have the aggressive wind + heavy rain combo I seem to be getting a lot of here. It also got reasonably colder in the UK than it does where I live now.
I would still do my best to place a cat house – no matter which type I got – in an already mildly sheltered area if I could. Under some foliage rather than out in the open I think works best for shielding cats from wind, and even the cat house I bought is as weatherproof as they get, I still think I’d want to make sure as little precipitation as possible surrounded the area, so getting into the cat house didn’t end up drenching the kitty either. Just a few thoughts that popped into my head on placement; again, do let me know if you have any tips of your own. Without further ado…
Insulated Outdoor Cat Houses to Keep Kitties Warm in Winter
I first discovered the Kitty Tube when I did up my article about outdoor cat houses so pretty I would happily use them inside. Even then, I mentioned how the Kitty Tube would likely be my first option for sheltering stray and feral cats in my neighbourhood.
Roomy, insulated with straw, extremely easy to clean, and visually appearing to be quite weatherproof and well designed, it’s one of those products I find it hard to imagine improving on. Lots of people seem to have success with using them for stray and feral cats in their neighbourhood, though if you try it out and find the cats won’t take a gander in, you may want to try what this reviewer did: start with the top off, treats inside, and sprinkled with catnip (amongst many other good tips).
Need even more insulation? Kitty Tube now has a version of their Gen 3 cat house that’s got a double insulated liner – I think it’d be hard to find a warmer insulated cat house than that.
If you’re looking for a lightweight, insulated cat house that’s easy to move from one spot to the next, this is probably a lot better for you than the last option, and certainly many other options on this list.
Lots of glowing reviews on this product and it’s heated alternative. And just in case you’re wondering how it can possibly be well insulated with such gaping doors – there are removable plastic door flaps that come with it to help keep the warmth in during cold winter months.
I feel like Petmate’s Precision Pet Extreme Log Cabin is one of the most gorgeous pet homes I’ve ever laid eyes on period. The fact that Petmate makes an insulation kit for this exact model is just amazing to me, and I definitely think I’d find it hard to resist grabbing it instead of the Kitty Tube based on aesthetics alone.
I’m not quite sure which would be warmer? Out of box I think the Kitty Tube would probably win, but I think with the insulation kit and some bedding and a door flap installed, it would probably be hard to beat as an incredibly warm insulated cat shelter. Which do you think would win?
Another ridiculously good option offered by Petmate. Their Igloo style outdoor cat house is already insulated, but if you want to make things a little warmer, say if you grab it but kitty doesn’t find it quite as warm as he or she likes, you can buy a floor pad, a plastic door flap, and even a K&H floor heater that fits the exact proportions.
So many glowing reviews from happy pet parents on this one as well. I’d imagine that due to it’s shape, it’s likely to be quite good in both rain and snow, and while I’m sure any cat would be happier to be inside the house at sub-zero temperatures, for feral and stray cats, or if the temperature just happens to drop below freezing when you’re out of the house and you don’t have a cat flap, it should do absolute wonders for keeping a kitty warm.
I’m not quite sure how well insulated this particular cat house is. A lot of pet owners seem to be happy with the purchase, but there are a few who report it not being the best when it comes to being weatherproof, and some feel it’s not quite as insulated as it should be. In terms of a basic insulated cat house that you can then add blankets and even another cat bed inside of, I think it’s pretty reasonable. Definitely a good idea, in my opinion, to keep it in a place that typically doesn’t get hit by very much precipitation.
Comes with plastic door flaps to help keep heat in, and is roomy enough for, I’d imagine, at least two or three cats. I definitely don’t think it’s perfect, but do some digging in the reviews to see if it will be the right fit for you.
There are a large number of pet owners really happy with this outdoor insulated cat house, many claiming it stands up to wind, rain, and snow, though there are also pet owners who say that, while it’s a good cat house, it’s not amazing if you’re trying to use it in an uncovered area and want it to withstand rain, snow, and ice.
Many, many pet owners do seem to love it for keeping on porches, so if that’s where you wanted your insulated pet house to go, definitely a viable option.
If you love Petmate’s Igloo Style Kitty Cat Condo, but want something bigger to house multiple outdoor cats, you may want to try grabbing their intended-for-dogs medium Indigo igloo.
Just like the small, single cat insulated house, this one can be retrofitted with a quilted pad, plastic door flap, and yet again, K&H makes the perfect sized electrically heated pad to fit.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a modern, sleek cat house in my life. This square, box-shaped outdoor insulated cat house looks even more minimalist than my IKEA furniture! One of the few pretty cat houses that is simultaneously modern looking rather than traditional or just plain cutesy like the Igloo style ones.
Apparently, it works really well in bad weather, though if you’re interested in buffing up the insulation, this reviewer’s tips are spot on: “Currently I have towel padding on the floor and I’ve put an electric cat heating pad on top of that. Then I have 2 baby blankets curled around the interior for cuddling (not blocking the doors). In extreme weather, if I’m sure I have a cat in the house, I wrap a blanket around the non door parts of the house and some thick plastic sheeting for extra insulation and wind protection. I just secure it all with a couple of clothes pins. For a really bad snow storm I’ll put an open folding lawn chair in front of the door which acts like an awning, so they don’t get snowed in.” Genius!
9. Petmate Precision Pet Large Extreme Weather-Resistant Log Cabin + Precision Pet Large Insulation Kit
Unless you’re trying to house a large number of cats, I doubt you will need anything this big, but in case, like my old neighbour, you’ve got 5-6 cats who all happily go outside in the winter, but aren’t huge fans of snow, and you want to make sure they’ll be plenty safe and warm in case a sudden storm blows up while you’re not at home, one of these should really do the trick.
Again, you have to buy the insulation kits separately, but they’re made to fit and look like they do a really good job at insulating. I’d still add a few blankets, and since the size of this one is so large, probably more than one cat bed as well, but once it’s all done up, I can’t imagine a cozier place for a few kitties to wait out a storm than one of these.
One pet parent had the genius idea to place an outdoor insulated cat house just under her steps to keep a stray she’s been feeding for a couple years warm and safe, I expect during winter months.
A lot of cats really seem to love this insulated cat house, and like many of the other triangle shaped roofed houses, cats really do seem to enjoy sitting both in and on top of this one. One reviewer posted the sweetest story about how her poor elderly cat who’s gone blind used to wander around distressed until the introduction of this cat house: “This cat house has seemed to calm her down quite a bit by giving her a small space where she can hide from the unknown outside world (including my other two cats, whom she despises). The fact that it’s a pretty small (and very cozy) space, seems to comfort her because she knows every inch of the space without having to explore it.” Love it when cats’ lives are made so much better by the things we get for them.
If you’re willing to drop a bit extra on an insulated cat house, and like me, you prefer to buy long-lasting options that are made of wood (so they can easily be cleaned, stained, sanded down, nailed into, or whatever else you might like), you may want to try out one of CozyCatFurniture’s products. They are waterproof, insulated, and again, due to the fact that they’re made of wood, incredibly easy to build on top of in terms of DIY-ing additional insulation and weatherproofing with human house materials, like asphalt shingles.
Alternatives made by CozyCatFurniture, so you can take a peek at a few different ones before making a final pick:
- CozyCatFurniture Insulated Large Outdoor Cat House with Platform
- CozyCatFurniture Waterproof Insulated Cat House for Outdoor Use
- CozyCatFurniture Cedar Insulated Outside Cat House with Platform and Extended Roof
I know, it’s really, really big, but I think it’d be a killer option for those with multiple cats who want something made of wood and really well insulated and weatherproof. I again feel like it’d be really good because it’s made out of wood and thus should be very easy to DIY extra weatherproofing and waterproofing features. 100% the type of buy that’s meant to last a lifetime.
A very pretty alternative in case you’re looking for something similar yet a little smaller: Antique Large Dog House W Roof Solid Wood Penthouse Kennels Crates Duplex.
Picture from post Avery’s Winter Portraits
Your Thoughts on Insulated Outdoor Cat Houses?
What do you think of insulated cat houses vs ones that are heated? Would you buy one over the other? Which situations would you prefer insulated cat houses over ones that are electronically heated?
Is there a type of insulated cat house you feel is better than others? Do you prioritize longevity, durability, the ability to DIY on top of a product? Do you prefer products that come with a lot of extra “add on” options? Do you like the idea of multiple smaller cat houses for multiple cats or one bigger one so they can share heat?
Any advice, tips, or thoughts on insulated cat houses, please leave in the comments down below! Really curious to see what you guys think in terms of what works best for different types of situations.