Cold Weather Tips: Outdoor Cat Enclosures

british long hairCold weather can be hard on outdoor cats. Sometimes we forget that our cats get just as accustomed to the warm seasons as we do.

Some owners have to leave their cats outside, thinking that all animals will adapt to the cold and living outdoors.

This can put their pets in danger of serious exposure and illness. Here are some cold weather tips you can do to keep your animals warm and safe for the winter.

I like this post by Jesse Oldham, Senior Administrative Director for Community Outreach at the ASPCA, as it shows practical ways to keep your outdoor cats warm and sheltered from the long cold winters.

With Old Man Winter on its way, we asked guest blogger Jesse Oldham for some cold weather care tips to make winter more manageable for your outside eartipped friends (and reduce your worries about them)!

Shelter Why?

While cats are often great about finding shelter on their own, this can lead them to places that might be dangerous for them (warm car engines) or areas where the property owners don’t want them (basements, boiler rooms.

Other times, there’s just no sufficient option for them. These are all reasons providing an insulated shelter (if you have the property ownership or permission) is a great idea for community cats in cold climates.

What you need to know:

Shelters should be well-insulated. Many people use 2-inch-thick Styrofoam (not the thin summer-cooler kind) inside a Rubbermaid bin as a cheap and effective feral cat shelter. There are many examples of this on the Internet, and the NYC Feral Cat Initiative has a good summary of shelter option links. [Read full article…]

Here’s a Video on how to make an outdoor cat shelter for winter…. from a cooler!

Another cold weather tip….from the SPCA BLOG

You sound like wonderful people and I can relate to your difficulty. Having a similar dilemma here in Maine, I made a box “shelter” on the porch for a stray cat, out of plywood with a top that could be removed to put blankets in etc. The cat could get in only through small opening near the bottom – which kept foxes out. I have an electrical outlet on the porch so I put a heating pad in the box with a thin blanket over it. With the setting on low, I would put it on only at night. Sometimes all night, sometimes just for the evening if it wasn’t going to be way below freezing. The cat survived and thrived all winter long!

Outdoor Cat enclosures can offer your companion safety from the extremes of winter. They can be very cheap to make (old Coleman cooler from the cellar and five minutes work) and unobtrusive, or they can be permanent extensive additions to a house.