How To Keep Outside Cats Warm In The Winter

How To Keep Outside Cats Warm In The Winter

As temperatures continue to drop on the farm, I’ve gotten more worried about our cat, Boss, who is an indoor/outdoor kitty. So, I’ve been researching how to keep outside cats warm in the winter so I can make sure he’s around for years.


Boss is one of our mousers, and in addition to being a pet, he has an important job around the farm – keeping the winter grain safe and mice out of our home.


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It would be a huge loss to lose him (if I had my way, Mr. Outside Cat would stay indoors all the time, but he insists on being an indoor/outdoor cat, and prefers to pee outside.)


If you don’t know, we got Boss when he showed up in one of our back rooms during a tornado. We heard this little mewing, and realized there was a kitten where there shouldn’t have been one.


He trotted out, sat on our couch, and has lived here ever since. (And that’s why he’s named Boss).


Although cats are resilient animals and adapt well to different types of weather, they’re still living beings. So, if you’re looking to help your feline stay warm when it’s snowing, you’ll love these “best practices” about how to keep outside cats warm in the winter.


Build a shelter to keep outside cats warm in the winter

The first thing to do is to build a winter cat shelter for outdoor cats since we want to decrease the risk of them catching hypothermia in the winter.


An outdoor kitty shelter gives them a warm place out of the wind to rest, protects them from drafts, and helps keep them safe and dry. You can either purchase a cat house in pet stores, use wood you have sitting around (making sure the final structure isn’t drafty), or use Rubbermaid bins (this is an option for a winter home but it’s not the best).


Or, you can get creative and turn a chicken tractor like this into a cat shelter.


Keep in mind that large shelters are not always the best idea since heat disperses quickly if there is extra space left. A cat house large enough for two to three cats to huddle would be great (you probably won’t find more than one kitty in an outside cat house, but that’s the appropriate size).


Add bedding

One of the most important “how to keep outside cats warm in the winter” tips is to add bedding to the shelter. If you are already building your cats a home to keep them warm, you might as well provide their house with some bedding, too, and it will help them retain heat.


Just be sure the bedding is easy to remove and clean (and maybe have extras on hand). Some ideas for bedding for outdoor cats are old blankets or clothes, or a washable self-warming fleece cat bed.


Straw is also an excellent insulator (we use it to create structures and as a windbreak for our hogs and rabbits, since it’s easily stacked.) I would personally use straw over hay since hay absorbs more moisture and will mold faster.


Lining the interior of the outdoor cat house with old clothing or newspapers will also act as an extra wind break.


Want ideas about how to keep outside cats warm in the winter? Here's how to care for outdoor cats in winter, build an outdoor cat shelter, and other outdoor cats care ideas.

Increase food rations

Something else we do with every creature on our farm is increase their feed during the winter. They’ll have more energy to burn so they can stay warm. Raw meat is one option, and you can’t go wrong with a high-quality commercial cat food.


Use a feed produced in the USA to ensure it’s actually food and not just filler. Because cats have different dietary needs than dogs and other pets, I personally rely on commercial feed for our indoor/outdoor kitties.


We found dry food is better than moist food or raw food since liquids and raw meat freeze easily during winter.


While we don’t do this, as I researched how to keep outside cats warm in the winter, I noticed that some pet owners use thermo feed bowls to make sure their cat’s moist food is warm when served.


You can also use heating pads to keep the food warm as long as possible. However, if you want to save energy, then you’ll have to replace their bowls with food or water a few times throughout the day in winter.


Also be sure to provide water; we keep our cat shelters close to the house, so we’re able to use a heated waterer. If your outside cat house will be off-grid, you can use these ideas to keep water from freezing.


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Other winter hazards

Hypothermia and lack of food aren’t the only hazards your outside cats will face. While we don’t get a lot of snow here, in more Northern climates, your outdoor cats might get trapped in the snow, mistake something toxic for food, get hit by a car, snagged by a predator.


While this hasn’t yet happened on our farm (touch wood), there’s always a chance that your cat will ingest antifreeze. It sounds kind of out there, but antifreeze smells sweet to cats, and some try to taste test it. Keep that stuff bottled up and out of their reach.


Speaking of cars, everybody knows (and hears horror stories about) cats love staying inside engines to warm them through the night. They’ll also crawl inside tractors and combines. So, for the love of all things holy, check your cars, tractors, combines, etc before starting them.


While I would prefer Boss stay inside and safe and warm, he prefers to be an outside cat. If you’re in the same situation, and wondering how to keep outside cats warm in the winter, hopefully some of these ideas well help you out.


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13 Heartwarming Stories Of Animals Rescued During Hurricane Harvey

13 Heartwarming Stories Of Animals Rescued During Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey didn’t just impact millions of people – it was also devastating to pets and livestock who lost their families.


Rescuers have spent hundreds of man hours rescuing pets from the rising waters, braving the floods that could have killed them to bring dogs, cats, horses and more to safety.


Shockingly, in many cases, the animals weren’t just abandoned to save themselves – many of them were purposely locked up by their humans to meet whatever fate awaited.


Luckily, rescuers got to these 10 lucky pets before the rising waves ended their lives.


Here’s 10 heartwarming stories of humans who went out of their way to rescue pets and in some cases, reunite them with their owners!


This dog who jumped into a rescuer’s Jeep, and thanks to one man and the power of Twitter, was reunited with his family.


These 120 cats from the Cattery Cat Shelter who were evacuated by the SPCA of Texas before Hurricane Harvey hit Corpus Christi:



These adorable kittens rescued by a brave woman from underneath a porch in Houston:


These adorable baby squirrels who were taken in by the Wildlife Center of Texas:


These poor dogs thankfully rescued from locked kennel before the water got too high:


If you have animals and can't get them out let me know so I can come get them. To the sick assholes that left these two poor dogs locked in a kennel on your porch to drown, hope God had a special plan for you.

Posted by Jared Carter on Sunday, August 27, 2017


This lucky dog that was rescued from flooding waters by concerned citizens:

These panicking horses locked in a flooded pen and saved by a brave teen before the worst happened:

All animals were saved

Posted by Chance Ward on Monday, August 28, 2017


Frankie & Bear, two stranded dogs lucky to be saved by rescuers:


This unfortunate dog that was tied to a post and saved by a photographer:


This pet pig, whose family refused to leave him behind:

Family Flees The Hurricane With Their Pet Pig

When Hurricane Harvey hit, this family knew they couldn't leave their sweet pet pig behind 🐷💙

Posted by The Dodo on Friday, September 1, 2017


“Harvey the Hurricane Hawk” who took shelter in a man’s vehicle after becoming injured and unable to get to safety:



(Harvey is currently being cared for by the Texas Wildlife Rehab Coalition.)


This VERY vocal pig rescued from high water in Texas.

This herd of cattle who were thankfully moooooved to safety by Texas police:


6 Questions To Ask Before Getting Chickens [Podcast]

6 Questions To Ask Before Getting Chickens [Podcast]

There’s no point in getting chickens if you’re not prepared…and preparation includes more than just buying a coop and some chicks.


Every year, I get messages from new chicken owners who got chicks at their local feed store….and they’re a bit over their heads.


There’s a consistent theme to their questions and concerns that could have easily been avoided if they asked themselves some simple questions. 


In this episode, we explore 6 critical questions you need to ask yourself before heading to the feed store and bringing home some day old chicks.

You’ll learn:


  • The #1 question you should ask before any others (or getting chicks)
  • What your neighbors have to do with your decisions (and it’s not what you think)
  • And more!

Links we discuss:

Manna Pro

How to Preserve Eggs

Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock

Where to buy lemon essential oil