Have you noticed how your cat prefers the hood of your car as a place to sit once the engine is running, even in cold weather? Cats are attracted to warm surfaces. You already have an outdoor cat house for the nice weather, one that is insulated against wind and raised above the ground or cement. As long as the cat house is dry and not drafty, it will be a suitable home. Low level radiant heat is the safest solution.
- Start with a cat house you already have or build a wooden box. Experts recommend cedar; it repels fleas and many climates. You'll be able to create a small niche, essentially, with two small doors. Often, cat houses will have a flat roof for the cat to lounge on. For several cats, you will need a larger cat house. Some cat houses are several stories high. You can insulate the inside of the walls with bits of carpet or styrene foam; do not use fiberglass.
- If you plan to use a heating pad, check to make sure an electrical outlet is within 6 feet of the cat house or ensure the connection to an outdoor-safe extension cord is protected from moisture. You can connect a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI).
- Purchase an electric-use outdoor heating pad made for outdoor cats or a non-electric heat mat. You can find both online.
- Install the pad or mat inside the cat's home.
- Plug in the heating pad.
How to build an outdoor cat house from a plastic bag
If you have a cat that likes to stay outdoors or if you want to provide shelter for a feral cat, you can build your own cat house with a few inexpensive materials. Although this project can be done with a single plastic storage bag, placing a smaller bag inside a large tote gives you space to add insulation material to keep the inside of the house warm.
- Remove the lids from two containers and set the lids aside.
- Draw a circle large enough for your cat to pass through on the larger tote. Draw the circle in the center of the end of the tote.
- Cut out the circle using a jigsaw.
- Place smaller tote inside the larger tote. Use the hole in the larger tote as a template to draw a circle on the smaller tote. Remove the smaller tote and cut out the circle with the jigsaw.
- Place smaller tote inside the larger tote lining up the holes in the boxes. Stuff the space between the crates with the insulation material.
- Snap the lid on the smaller tote. Place more insulation material on top of smaller tote before placing lid on larger tote.
- Reach through the holes to place an old towel inside the cat shelter. Place the shelter so that the entrance hole is minimally exposed to rain and prevailing winds.
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