We’ve been getting a heck of a lot of rain here lately, and while I don’t have outdoor cats of my own, I absolutely hate seeing the neighbourhood cats who come by our yard regularly drenched after having unsuccessfully found a nice spot to wait out a heavy rainfall.
It’s not even as though I haven’t tried to make sure these cats have dry spots to rest. Last year, before we took in our second cat, Bjorn, a stray from the neighbourhood we thought belonged to somebody (we’re now convinced he’s the offspring of one of the three Persian cats who come by), we bought him a beautiful little plastic cat house to spend the rainy weather in. He stayed put in it while the weather was unfavourable, only coming out once things were dry again, but sadly, the other neighbourhood cats didn’t take to this space once he’d moved into our home and vacated the cat house premises.
Fair enough, not every cat likes the same thing. I wasn’t expecting the other cats to fall head over heels for this little cat house. Sadly, however, one of these outdoor cats ended up so drenched after a number of rainfalls due to his lack of desire to be in any of the dry places we provided, it tore me up a little. So I did the first thing I thought of – placing a couple cardboard boxes in a spot that’s luckily mostly untouched by rain, right in the corner next to our back door. He actually quite liked spending time there, so I got to work trying to figure out how to make the house more appealing to the little guy.
First step: move the house to a spot he frequented. That was easy – the spot by the back door he often came toward. Moved. Next step: use his liking of cardboard to my advantage. Yet again, easy – I just cut the right size out of a cardboard box and used it to line the bottom of the cat house. Still he didn’t take to the space, so I turned it to face the middle of the yard instead of facing the space he’d be least drenched if he entered from, and boom, he’s using it all the time when it rains now.
Is this house completely waterproof? Absolutely not, and to be honest, I don’t think any cat house is. The fact that the single cat I tried hardest to keep dry in rainy weather kept ignoring it until I moved the door to face the middle of the yard instead of the dry spot also means it’s likely water’s going to come in a bit when it rains. But at least he’s mostly dry, and at least if the floor gets wet, it won’t get too soggy if he stays put, and will dry out by the next time he needs to use it. It is quite a reasonable place to wait out a heavy rain storm all things considered, and since I’m not too fussed about getting a little wet, I daresay neither will most cats wouldn’t be fussed either. Hypothermia? Not likely if a cat’s not drenched, and so a little rain inside a pet shelter during a rainstorm isn’t an issue in my mind.
What has my experience taught me about what to choose in terms of the best cat shelters to keep an outdoor or feral cat dry? Something that will be used. If it’s ignored, it doesn’t matter how much weatherproofing it has, it’s not helping that cat. It’d make no sense for me to move the cat house back to facing the side that’s likely to stay the driest, because that would mean risking the chance that this cat wouldn’t even use it in a rainstorm. The same is true, unfortunately, if you’re trying to keep stray and feral cats dry: if the cat doesn’t want to stay in a house because of it’s location, it’s doing him or her no good. It’s better to move it to a spot that cat frequents, even if it’s more damp and the pet house is likely to get wet inside.
Besides that, you can’t completely avoid water inside a pet house. If a cat gets caught unawares by the change in weather, and is hit by the rain for some time before entering, the water’s coming in because it’s already soaked the cat. Which is why I’ve found it’s better to make sure what you line the bottom of your cat house with doesn’t absorb and hold onto water for too long, and will dry out as soon as possible after the bad weather has passed, as otherwise the house might end up drenched at the bottom for ages, and that in itself may cause a problem – with the cat not wanting to enter or with the cat becoming colder due to sitting in a soggy blanket, towel, pillow, or some other well-intended source of insulation. Again, I use cardboard, and it seems to work quite well for me, but there might be much better options, and if you can think of one, I’d love it if you left a tip/recommendation below.
I feel like a lot of the wooden, multi-level cat houses out there are safe bets when you’re looking for as-waterproof-as-they-get pet houses, as they have roofs that will shelter a cat from the worst part of the rain no matter what. Smaller, plastic cat shelters and pet houses? Those are awesome based on experience, especially if you snag one with a plastic door flap, as that can keep out a lot of the rain that might find it’s way in if wind and rain come together and have a little bad-weather baby (happens frequently here). Definitely not completely waterproof, but again, I’m okay with that, so long as the cat stays almost completely dry.
Plastic houses that are made of hard plastic I would think are more weather-proof than those made of soft plastic, but I might be wrong about this (let me know in the comments section if you have experience with either or both of these), though I’m imagining a lot of mud when I’m thinking of this, and how much soft-plastic might let in that mud if it flexes when a cat is coming and going, or even moving around inside.
No matter what you grab, it’s all decent in my mind, with nothing being completely ideal. Some people use additional techniques, like covering cat houses with something as simple as a trash bag to help increase the weatherproof qualities of the shelter, others relocate the shelters to as dry a location as they can find; you can definitely much-improve the chances rain will not get in with some effort, but again, I don’t think it’s possible to have something completely waterproof, just reasonably so.
With that out of the way, I’ll get into some of the viable options I’ve found to give you a starting place for where to look. I’ve done my best to stick to cat shelters that had a lot of reviews; I’d advise checking them out, concentrating in particular on the negative reviews, to make sure the house will be good for the particular use you had in mind. There are some shelters that work better for incredibly cold weather – heated ones – but that aren’t as waterproof as others, while some are best at housing multiple cats at once without fights. Take a peek and let me know your thoughts on this topic in the comments, especially if you have advice for others in the same boat, looking for weatherproof cat shelter options.
Waterproof Cat Houses for Outdoors: Keeping Cats Dry in Light to Heavy Rain
If you’re into high-quality, long-lasting materials like wood and/or are willing to spend a little more on an outdoor cat shelter that looks good for humans and cats, this Petsfit, along with many other products by them, is an excellent option. There are asphalt roofs on the wooden cat houses by Petsfit, to keep rain, snow, and ice from getting into the pet house, and while the multi-level are more expensive than the standard smaller fits-a-single-cat designs, I think they’re well worth the added cost due to how much you can get into these things.
Heck, you could even fit an outdoor litter box in one, if you’ve ever considered having one for your outdoor cat(s), say to keep cats out of your plants or your neighbour’s yard. Lots of room if you have multiple cats to house as well as plenty of space to move around in if a single cat has to stay for some time to wait out a pretty long rain storm.
I would give this and absolutely any other wood cat house a coat of waterproof outdoor wood finish once a year to make sure it didn’t go bad if I left it in the rain; wood can’t last forever when it’s exposed to rain without being regularly treated to my knowledge. Other than that, if you can find a relatively dry place for it that still gets use, it will also ensure the house will last longer, and less water will get into it when kitties step in after being caught off guard by a heavy rainfall if that ever happens to your cats.
Don’t want to do any maintenance? Want something that’s not going to stand the chance of falling apart if you place it outside and just forget about it for years on end? SA plastic outdoor pet house might work out well, and if you’re looking for one that’s got a bit more water resistance, you might want to opt for something like this dog house, that features easy to walk through plastic flaps as a front door.
If you love the idea of plastic pet houses for their convenience and how inexpensive these types of shelters can be, and can think of a relatively dry place to have a house, you may want to opt for something like the Aspen PetBarn Pet House. It’s so inexpensive, you can buy 2 or 3 quite easily for the price of one outdoor cat house that’s more mid-range, which could be especially helpful if you have quite a big yard, have quite a number of cats to shelter who don’t get along, or are just plainly trying to provide as many options in as many locations as possible for easy access when the rain hits.
Definitely not the most waterproof option out there considering water can easily come through the front door, but water’s not getting in from the top. If you can snag a spot where you can face the door away from the wind and angle of the rain without discouraging the cat from wanting to enter, you’re good to go with something like this.
The cat house I bought and lined with cardboard along the bottom is a lot like this. Definitely would use happily where I live, though if I still lived in Canada, I’d probably opt for something wooden, or in general, with a little more insulation. Insulated cat houses are really important for outdoor cats who go out in the winter, in my opinion, as if they’re ever stuck outdoors during a sudden snow storm for any reason, they might even prove themselves to be lifesavers.
This flexible plastic shelter comes with a front door flap to keep out the rain, and while it’s not completely rainproof, it does a decent job holding up to rain considering it’s so flexible. Comes as an insulated option, or in case you have very cold winter months and want to give electricity-heated outdoor cat houses a try, it comes in that option as well.
If you’re looking for wood cat houses with waterproof asphalt roofs, but are looking for something on a smaller budget than a multi-level cat home, this small triangle shaped cat dwelling is gorgeous and fits the bill. If there’s one thing it might be missing, it’s insulation, but if you don’t have much trouble with cold, and are just looking to keep things dry for an outdoor cat, this should do the trick.
These flexible plastic cat shelters are heated, and come with heated pet mats with chew proof chords that can be put on a timer in case you’d like them off during certain parts of the day. They’re incredibly cute and popular, and while not completely waterproof, they seem to do a good job of keeping water out, especially thanks to their plastic door flaps.
I’ve seen a lot of people complain that water gets into these outdoor cat houses, so if you’re looking for one that’s not likely to get leaks into it, this is probably one best to avoid. However, if you’re looking for an outdoor cat house that’s relatively waterproof, but also incredibly easy to clean out if it gets wet,
A multi-level cat house that’s got a little area for sitting on top, in case a cat wants to sit down in a spot free from rain, but still wants to enjoy the breeze or a breath of fresh air. Also has a completely covered portion at the bottom and an all-too-handy scratchable surface integrated. I personally love the look of this one and think it’s fantastic.
A lot of people seem to be choosing this real wood heated outdoor cat house for keeping cats warm in sub zero temperatures. In my opinion, this particular house seems to be a lot more watertight than most, keeping the rain out with both the real wood roof that hangs over the edge of the house a little bit as well as a soft plastic cat flap for a door.
Your Thoughts on Waterproof Outdoor Cat Houses?
Have you ever bought a cat house or made one yourself? Did you find it was more or less waterproof? Did you do anything to your cat house to make it more waterproof?
Do you have any tips, advice, or even stories about waterproofing cat houses?
Would love to hear about your experiences in the comments down below, as, I’m sure, will many in the same boat – looking for a waterproof cat shelter for felines they look out for.