Are you looking for the best outdoor cat houses for your beloved pet?
Alternatively, are you looking for cat outdoor enclosures to provide shelter for feral kitties during winter?
Don't worry because we've got you covered. Not only are we going to explain why you need to have outdoor cat houses.
However, we're also giving you guides on how to choose the best outdoor cat houses available on the market.
If you're a cat owner, you'll agree that felines are the greatest pets in the world. Well, dog owners would undoubtedly dispute to that.
However, everyone has preferences when it comes to the choice of companion. For cat lovers, nothing can compare to the affection and happiness a cat brings into their lives.
Taking care of a pet, whether a kitty or a dog, entails much responsibility.
Pet ownership involves a commitment to the lifelong care of the pet. Of course, this includes providing appropriate food, water, shelter and health care for your pet.
Most cat owners would train their kittens to become indoor cats to safeguard them against outdoor hazards.
However, many cat owners worry that keeping their pets inside the house is like depriving them of their instincts.
Before domestication, cats initially used to live in the wild where they strive for survival through hunting.
Even for domesticated kitties, their innate passion for outdoor exploration will come out from time to time.
That is why some pet owners have thought of letting their pets go outside to experience fresh air and sunshine.
Another reason why pet owners decide to let their cats enjoy life outside their homes is to save their homes too.
As their innate instinct, cats would instead defecate or urinate on the real soil. Although a litter box could be used as an alternative, cats would still prefer actual soil.
Since they are trapped inside the house, they are left with no choice but to use the litter box which is the closest thing to a real soil.
Any cat owners would attest that cleaning a litter box on a regular basis is taxing.
Not to mention the stinky odor of urine and feces that they have to endure each time.
Aside from that, keeping an indoor cat would mean you have to sacrifice your furniture, carpets, and upholstery for their sharp claws.
Their habit of scratching on anything is part of their nature, and it is therefore inevitable. Sometimes, even a scratching post isn't enough to convince them to stop defacing your belongings.
If you allow them to live in the outdoors, you're not only giving them the freedom to live exactly as they like. However, you're also liberating your home from the mess and stench that a kitty may bring.
However, please don't get the wrong idea. We're not insinuating to get rid of your pet to have a clean and tidy home.
What we're trying to say is that you have the option to give your pet an outdoor insulated cat house. You can install outdoor cat houses on your yard or your porch.
It’s already understood that your yard is surrounded by a fence or an enclosure to keep your pets from running away and to protect them from predators.
Providing outdoor cat houses to your kitties allows them to have their own space in the outdoors.
Most indoor cats would instantly fall in love with their outdoor cat houses. This is just because cats are natural-born hunters and they prefer to live outdoors.
However, some cats would choose to live indoors. Remember that each creature is unique in their ways and each has their preferences.
Although cats are initially free creatures, some have fully adapted the indoor life through domestication.
Moreover, they are more accustomed to the indoors than to the outdoors.
This is why some kitties would refuse to live in outdoor cat houses, and they would rather stay inside the house.
If this is the case, you can't do anything about it. Don't force your pet to become something that it's not.
However, don't worry. Even if your pets reject the outdoor cat houses, they can still come in handy for those stray kitties that need shelter the most.
Outdoor Cat Houses for Feral Cats
Unlike domestic cats, feral cats live outdoors and have little to no contact with humans. There’s a difference between a stray cat and feral cat.
A stray cat is formerly a domestic cat that has been abandoned or has lost its residential home. As its contact with human dwindles, it becomes a feral cat over time.
However, a stray cat can become domesticated once again when re-introduced to a new home. It can re-adjust to living with people and can be adopted as a pet.
On the other hand, feral felines do not allow themselves to be touched by humans, and they usually remain fearful of them.
They often live in colonies, and they typically remain hidden from humans. Kittens born to feral cats can be adopted into homes and socialized at an early age.
However, adult feral cats cannot be adopted since they're unlikely to survive to live indoors.
Not to mention, they will undoubtedly lash out at you or turn aggressive if you try to touch them.
Namely, it's impossible to turn feral cats into pets because they were accustomed to living outdoors and are likely to belong in a colony.
People have a difficult time telling the difference between a stray cat and a feral cat.
However, regardless of whether that can socialize with humans or not, it's still important to shelter them especially during winter season.
No matter how scared they are of humans, these kitties will accept any help from us if that's the only way to survive.
When cold weather hits, feral and stray cats suffer, and they need a warm place to take shelter from the extreme cold.
Putting outdoor cat houses in places where they can easily access will give them a cozy place to live in.
If you wish to save feline lives during colder months, placing outdoor cat houses intended for feral and stray cats can go a long way.
How to Choose the Best Outdoor Cat Houses
In choosing a cat outdoor enclosure, there are several factors that you need to consider. Remember that your goal is to provide a big cat house that can last for years.
Hence, durability should be the first factor to keep in mind when choosing outdoor cat houses.
If you're planning to give it to your pets, you must first consider the specific needs of your pets. Use this information as your main guidelines for choosing the best outdoor cat houses for your kitties.
However, if you're planning to offer it to feral and stray cats, pick the ones that are most capable of withstanding the harsh cold weather.
Outdoor cats are unlikely to be finicky with the choice of outdoor cat houses, particularly during winter.
They'll undoubtedly lodge in without hesitation for the sake of survival. Here are important things to consider in choosing outdoor cat houses:
Weather is the main reason why we’re providing outdoor cat houses for feral and stray cats. This is to give them temporary shelter during colder months where they can be kept safe and warm.
In this case, it’s best to choose an outdoor insulated cat house that will keep the enclosure warm and cozy.
Your neighborhood outdoor cats can curl up comfortably inside until the icy winter passes by.
However, if you’re living in a hot climate, an outdoor insulated cat house may not be the best solution.
Go for a well-ventilated cat outdoor enclosure that can keep your feline friend cool and comfy during hot, summer months.
Weather and climate would significantly affect your decision in choosing the right outdoor cat houses.
Always select a big cat house that can keep them warm during colder months and something that can keep them fresh during hot months.
2. Size and dimensions
Is a big cat house more preferable than a small one? Alternatively, wouldn't it be more convenient to install a little cat house compared to their bigger-sized counterparts?
The good thing is that there are many different sizes of outdoor cat houses to choose from. They are offered in different sizes, shapes, dimensions, and more.
Before you decide to buy a small or big cat house, the first thing to consider is the location where you’ll be putting it. Can it fit in the particular area where you intend to place it?
Sure, a small cat outdoor enclosure is more comfortable to carry around and move from one place to another. However, will it provide sufficient space for your kitty?
A big cat house may take up more space, but it will stand out. Some manufacturers are also offering cat houses with multiple stories to accommodate various kitties without taking too much space.
3. Number of cats
Well, this is a no-brainer. If you have multiple cats, it’s best to look for a big cat house that is large enough to accommodate them all at once.
Make sure that they are not only safe from extreme cold or intense heat, but they're also comfortable inside.
Some cats tend to squeeze in when they’re seeking warmth. So they would prefer to have companions during winter seasons.
However, that would not be the case in summer seasons. For sure, they would want an ample space where they can cool down.
Smaller cat houses are highly recommended if you have only one cat.
4. A cat’s specific needs
There’s only one question that you need to answer with regards to your cat’s characteristic. Does your pet prefer to stay outdoor rather than indoor?
If yes, then look for a cat outdoor enclosure that will stand the test of time. This is because your cat is likely to spend most of its time inside its outdoor house.
In this case, make sure that the outdoor cat house can keep your pet warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Now, if your cat isn't a fan of the outdoors and it prefers to stay inside, then you've got lesser worries.
A small cat house should be enough. It also doesn't have to be insulated because your cat will certainly be staying indoors during extreme weathers.
You should also take the personality of your pet into account. Is your kitty a playful type that loves to climb and jump? If so, a multiple-story cat house can provide a playful environment where it can explore wherever it wants.
If your pet is the type that likes to lounge and relax instead of playing, then you may find a multiple-story cat house just a waste of space (and money).
Outdoor cat houses come in a wide range of designs to choose from. If you intend to put it in your backyard or garden, there are cat houses that are designed to blend in with the grass and bushes perfectly.
You may be more interested in more innovative design such as a cat house that looks like a mini-house.
They also come in different shapes: tall rectangular shape, dome-shaped, triangular, and many more.
Furthermore, you can choose from a different range of colors that can complement the color of your house.
The aesthetic element of outdoor cat houses should come next after durability, weather endurance, insulation, and space.
However, design also plays a vital role in attracting your pet and feral cats to use it. Just like us, felines also favor a suitable home that isn’t only comfortable but also good-looking.
Besides, it would be nice to add a particular piece that can become an integral part of your outdoor décor.
6. Ease of assembly
Some manufacturers understand that some people are not fond of assembling pieces. That's why they're offering outdoor cat houses that are already constructed.
All you have to do is buy these products, and you can instantly place them anywhere you want.
However, some people would instead assemble it on their own to give them the notion that they've built it for themselves.
There are outdoor cat houses that will require you to assemble the components with the use of other tools.
Don't forget to read the assembly details before buying a particular product.
7. Quality of materials
Different manufacturers are utilizing various types of materials yielding different results.
While durability is the first concern when evaluating the quality of material, you should also consider the material that suits your cat's preference.
Would you instead go for outdoor cat houses made of wood? Does your kitty prefer fabric material? Alternatively, would it be better to go eco-friendly and choose recycled material instead?
Regardless of your choice in material, you need to make sure that it is non-toxic and doesn’t easily rot.
When material starts to perish, it may create dust that can cause allergies or respiratory problems for your pets.
So it’s best to choose a long-lasting material that is guaranteed to last for years.
The Top 5 Brands of Outdoor Cat Houses
Considering all the factors that were previously stated, it would be easier to choose the best outdoor cat houses for your kitties.
However, since there are a lot of outdoor cat houses available on the market, picking out the best product would still be a challenge.
We have gathered the following list of recommended brands to guide you in purchasing the right outdoor cat houses for you and your pets.
Feel free to compare the key features of each brand as well as their pros and cons. Then it will be up to you to decide which the best among rest is.
1. Petsfit 2-Story Outdoor Weatherproof Cat House Cat Condo
If you're looking for a durable outdoor cat house that can withstand the test of time, this product is an excellent choice.
Built of long-lasting cedar wood, it features a removable floor for easy cleaning and specially designed to provide sufficient ventilation.
Although it's not insulated, you can easily install a heating pad on the floor with a pre-drilled hole. For easier access, this 2-story cat house has two doors.
Your kitties can reach the upper floor through a stair or an inclined scratching pad. Choose which variant (stair-type or scratching pad-type) is more suitable for your pets.
It comes in two different colors: red and grey. Your kitty can choose where to lounge – a covered space in the bottom or a patio on the upper deck with a roof.
The dimension of the interior part measures 19″ X 19″ X 11″. Making it ideal for multiple cats as it can accommodate three medium-sized cats or 6 small kittens.
Furthermore, you can place a food bowl inside and a small litter pan without much trouble.
This durable cat house only weighs 45 pounds which is light enough to be moved anywhere but sturdy enough to stay fixed in place.
When it comes to its aesthetic value, you can never go wrong with its innovative design.
Water-based paint is used to protect the harsh wood weather while keeping your pets safe.
It comes with a flower box that can be attached to the side of the cat house and a front step that can also serve as a sunning porch.
Additionally, it comes with sturdy feet that hold the cat house 6 inches off the ground and a water-resistant roof.
These features can come in handy during rainy days as they prevent water from getting in.
The front door is shielded with an overhang consisting of a waterproof roof, and the backdoor is protected with a plastic flap.
2. K&H Pet Products Outdoor Kitty House (Heated & Unheated)
One of the most popular outdoor cat houses on the market, K&H Outdoor Kitty House is available in 2 models: heated and unheated.
Heated model features a patented heating system that can keep your kitties warm and cozy during cold months. You can opt for the unheated model if you live in a hot climate.
It is made with 600 denier nylon making it a water-resistant cat house for use outdoors even when it’s raining.
This product is perfect for use in porches, garages, barns and anywhere your pet needs additional heat and protection.
You can choose from 3 color variants: olive, barn red and gray. The kitty house comes with two doors that allow your pet to escape when predators attack.
Each entry has an awning that keeps cats warm and dry. Furthermore, this product is so easy to assemble and won't require any tool.
The walls are equipped with hook and loop fasteners, and it comes with a zippered roof for easy assembly.
This kitty house is super lightweight and can be quickly moved from one place to another.
With K&H Outdoor Kitty House, finding a perfect place for your cat has never been this easy.
3. K&H Pet Products Outdoor Multi-Kitty A-Frame
Its innovative triangular-shaped structure allows 2 to 3 medium-sized kitties to comfortably lounge inside the cat house.
The interior dimension measures 24″ X 19″ X 18″, so it's spacious enough to add a small litter pan and food bowl inside.
Just like most K&H products, this one also comes in 2 models: heated and unheated.
Heated version features a 40-watt heating pad which only activates when your cat is on top of it.
Hence, you can safely plug the heating system in as long as you want without having to worry about unreasonable power consumption.
Although it is made of water-resistant and weatherproof exterior material, it should only be used in a sheltered area. It's best for use in porches, garages, sheds, and barns.
It only weighs around 7 pounds making it so easy to carry around and move from one place to another.
This triangular kitty house comes with a front door and an escape door, each has an overhang and detachable vinyl flaps to keep wind and water out.
4. Kitty Tube Gen 3 Outdoor Insulated Cat House
This product has been approved and certified by Alley Cat Allies and Feral Fixers to ensure the safety of your beloved pets or feral cats.
If you’re looking for the best outdoor insulated cat house, this product is the ultimate solution for you and your feline friends
The one-piece construction is made from post-consumer recycled material in the form of a geometric shape to resist wind. Additionally, it prevents drafts and water from getting in when it's raining.
It features a door with detachable vinyl flaps, and it includes an awning to protect the front door from rain.
The unique door is specifically designed to allow only cats to enter. Therefore, larger predators won’t be able to fit through the door.
Kitty Tube Gen 3 Outdoor Insulated Cat House comes with a removable top lid equipped with a vent cap to remove moisture that can cause condensation.
Moreover, the adjustable lifting handles can be opened to supply air flow for proper ventilation. Also, can be closed to retain heat in the winter.
The roof, walls, and floor are all insulated with its high quality, high R-value insulation. Your cat will stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
This product features a moisture-resistant interior equipped with a vapor barrier to prevent mildew, mold, and bacteria from building up.
In addition to these fantastic features, it also comes with a machine washable custom pet pillow to keep your kitty more comfortable.
5. Petmate Kitty Kat Condo
This outdoor kitty house has an igloo shape with a rounded hood that directs snow and rain away from the entrance.
Made with the non-porous plastic material, this cat outdoor enclosure won't harbor mold and fleas.
So you can be sure your pets are safe from annoying pests and harmful bacteria.
Since it is made from a material that does not rot, this big cat house is durable enough to last for years.
The inner carpeted floor provides insulation that keeps cats warm during winter and cools during summer.
Plus, the carpet takes the form of a scratching pad so your kitties can scratch on it as much as they want.
Inner dimension measures 26″ X 25.3″ X 18.5″ and is big enough to fit two medium-sized cats.
The entrance is wide, and it allows sufficient air flow, which is excellent during hot seasons as the heat isn't retained inside.
Despite being waterproof, it is not recommended to be used in an open space such as garden and backyard.
Ideal to be placed under a sheltered area such as porches, sheds, barns, and garages.
Its rain-diverting hood can only direct runoff caused by light to moderate rainfall.
However, it may not be appropriate to use outdoors during heavy rain as water can quickly get in despite the igloo design.
Runner-Up: Pawhut 2-Story Indoor/Outdoor Wood Cat House Shelter
Your feline buddies will love this multi-tier cat house. The enclosed house area at the bottom is connected to a lounging patio by a stair.
So your pet can choose between several lounge areas. It comes in 2 available versions: with roof and without a shelter
Pawhut 2-Storey Outdoor Cat House is made of high-quality fir wood coated with a water-resistant finish. The water-based paint makes the wood construction sturdy enough to withstand harsh weather condition.
Inner house dimension measures 18"x13.25"x12.5" and can comfortably fit two small-sized kitties. Plus, it only weighs 17 pounds which makes it easier to carry and move from one place to another.
Additionally, it has strong feet that elevate the floor 2 inches off the ground to keep out insects and water from getting in.
You can put this cat house outside or inside of your house. Also, it comes with a classic design in natural-wood color to complement your home.
Providing Shelters for Outdoor Cats in Winter
Felines are naturally endowed with a fur that can keep them warm. However, under freezing temperature, it may not be enough.
During icy winter, it’s crucial to give our pets or feral cats a shelter that is fully insulated. When they feel cold, their bodies respond by increasing their heat production and metabolism.
An outdoor insulated cat house should be equipped with a system that can retain this natural heat while providing supplemental heat to keep them warm.
There are several outdoor insulated cat houses available on the market, and each offers different insulation technologies.
However, if you have the knack for building and DIY stuff, then you can build your own outdoor cat house plans.
Think about this; one outdoor insulated cat house only have a room for 2 to 3 large-sized cats. Imagine how many feral and stray cats are out there during the winter season that is actually in need of shelter.
Constructing your own outdoor cat house plans gives you the liberty to build a kitty house that can accommodate more outdoor cats in one go.
More importantly, you can save much money if you opt to create your own outdoor cat house plans instead of buying one.
An outdoor insulated cat house can be an excellent help for feral and stray cats during winter. However, they need more than a warm shelter to survive the extreme cold.
Food and Water for Outdoor Cats
To keep their body warm, there will be a dramatic increase in their body temperature, muscle contraction, and metabolism.
These kitties may just be snugging inside the cat house, but they're also using an enormous amount of energy to produce their heat.
They will need food and water to provide them with the energy they need. Place food and water near the cat house so they won’t have to travel far.
You can protect their supply of food and water by placing a shelter above it, preferably 2 feet away from the entrance.
If possible, create a canopy that connects the cat house roof to their food’s shelter.
Keep their food and water from getting cold by putting it in a thick plastic container that is deep and wide.
You can also use solar-heated food bowl that can keep the content warm and prevents it from freezing.
Avoid using a ceramic container or thin plastic because these materials are not insulated.
Another critical thing to remember is never to put water bowls inside the cat house. Water bowls are likely to spill, and a wet shelter is not a right place when it's snowing outside.
Other Things to Put Inside Outdoor Cat Houses
Make their stay more comfortable by putting straw inside the big cat house. Feral cats would burrow in straws.
Also, pillowcases stuffed with shredded newspapers or packing peanut are great additions.
However, you may not consider putting anything inside the cat house if the interior space is limited.
Besides, cats would prefer to squeeze in with each other to share their natural warmth.
If you're using non-insulated cat house, you can overlay the interior walls and floor with a polyester film made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate such as Mylar and Melinex.
Keep in mind though, DO NOT use polyester film in an insulated cat house with a built-in heating system.
Conclusion: Outdoor Cat Houses Can Save Feline Lives
Whether it's for your beloved pet or those poor kitties in your neighborhood, outdoor cat houses are probably the best thing that you can provide to them.
So when you do, you need to make sure that the ones using it are happy and satisfied with their temporary shelter.
Feral cats won't have any problem in the summer months because they can easily find places where they can cool down.
However, the case is entirely different during winter. One thing is for sure; they will need a covered shelter (preferably insulated) as their refuge from the ice storm.
There have been numerous reports about stray and feral cats found frozen in the bitter cold every year.
We can avoid this tragedy from happening by providing outdoor cat houses where they can take shelter in the winter. You can find other cat houses from Petlovesbest.
If there are many feral and stray cats in your area, you can put up a project or join a community aiming to provide outdoor cat houses for winter.