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An Insulated Cat House For the Outdoor Cat
Keeping Outdoor Cats Safe with an Insulated Cat House
Cats are certainly safest indoors. Inside your home they are protected from predators, traffic, and potentially life-threatening weather such as below freezing temperatures. However, for a variety of reasons, not all cats are kept indoors.
Whether you like for your kitty to have more freedom or you care for stray and feral cats, providing an outdoor cat with adequate shelter is one of the most important things you can do to protect them. The first step of course is to consider an insulated cat house to help them survive winter weather.
Tips When Choosing an Insulated Cat House
There are a variety of insulated cat houses on the market. When choosing one you might want to consider:
Most cats like a fairly snug environment so purchasing something large enough to house a German Shepard generally isn't a good idea. Of course if you're caring for multiple cats, you might get something larger, but you need to be sure those cats will acutally sleep together. In some instances, you may prefer something smaller, providing a separate outdoor cat shelter for each animal.
Some cats insist on having dual exits or they will avoid even the best insulated cat house. They want to know that they can get out in an emergency such as when another animal enters their abode. This isn't a requirement, but it's something to consider. You also want to be sure that the door is large enough for the cat, but not for larger animals that can disrupt the peace. If your cat isn't accusomted to "doors" they may have to be trained to enter the house if there is a door or a covering over the opening. You can often do this by placing food in the house, but be careful not to attract unwanted animals. Doors and coverings can help retain heat, however you need to consider the cat. A feral cat is less likely to enter a typical cat door for instance.
Wood can be a good insulating material itself, but for it to survive outdoors it needs to be pressure treated and weatherized. Also consider flooring. A wood floor will be better insulation than plastic. Carpeting will require you to clean it and keep it dry. You can add straw, heating pads, or other material if you wish, but know what the particular insulated cat house you're considering has in place.
Putting It In Place
Here are just a few tips for locating your insulated cat house to assure it provides the protection your cat needs.
Consider elevating the house.
Cats like high places. Placing the house up high can attract the cats but it also helps protect them from potential predators (such as coyotes) and nuisance visitors (such as raccoons and opossums).
Place the house in the sun.
The sun can act as a natural form of heating during the day time.
Avoid open spaces.
Although you don't want the cat house completely shaded, you also don't want to place it in the middle of an open area. Cats seldom feel safe sleeping or even crossing a wide open area. Their fear of such things serves them well.