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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How to Keep a Camper Warm in the Winter

How to Keep a Camper Warm in the Winter

Thinking of living full time in an RV in winter? Learning how to keep a camper warm in the winter is easy!

 

I know many of you are pioneering winter travelers or committed to living full time in an RV in winter.

 

While I’m not a huge camper, ever since we got our cabin, I’ve been discovering all sorts of “off the beaten path” ways to stay warm without using conventional ideas like gas, oil, or electricity.

 

(Discover how we avoided propane and saved money this winter by installing a wood stove.)

 

If you own an older camper (or live in a cabin) and plan to be outdoors a lot in the colder months, then you’re going to want to know how to keep a camper warm in the winter.

 

Here are some tips to keep your mobile home warm and cozy.

Wondering how to keep a camper warm in winter? These 7 genius winter camper living hacks and winter camper ideas will keep you toasty while the wind whistles outdoors!

Insulate your camper

Although most campers have some sort of insulation, this can be effected by several factors such as make, model, and maintenance. (Yes, maintenance. If you don’t do upkeep on your mobile home, you’re pretty much SOL.)

 

As we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so do periodic checks for leaks around windows, doors, and anywhere with rubber seals.

 

Any ideas about how to keep a camper warm in the winter that we talk about in this article are useless if your RV is drafty and not well insulated.

 

Of course, extra insulation is essential in subzero temperatures. Nobody likes to be frozen when the North wind blows.

 

In addition to fixing any drafts, you can insulate the windows and doors of your camper with insulation panels like these. You can also use spray foam to fill in any gaps.

 

Insulate the roof, walls, and especially the floor with heavy blankets (see this article about how to stay warm in winter for additional ideas).

 

While this idea is very simple, it’s also very effective, and will help keep any warmth inside the camper.

 

Also be sure to insulate your hot water pipes since, if you’re cold, a warm bath can help you heat up. Use foam covers, (these have saved our butt many winters), spray foam, or even old clothes (this is one we use a lot, and a good use of ripped and old clothing you’d otherwise throw away).

 

How to keep a camper warm in the winter off grid

So, on to how to keep a camper warm in the winter if your heating system sucks.

 

Ask me how I know these tips (hint: I refuse to use the central heat in our home because I think the cost of propane is highway robbery. We use a wood stove instead).

 

Gas heaters are one option for a camper that’s off grid and doesn’t use electricity. Here’s one option for propane heaters you can use indoors (just remember: you’ll have to pay high prices for that propane AND you’ll blow through it quickly.)

 

Electric heaters are another option. Your best bet, as far as electricity goes, is to get a solar generator, and plug an electric heater into it.

 

They’re not cheap, but they’re still affordable and because they use a renewable energy source, your camper can stay warm in the winter longer. You can buy a regular electric heater at any dollar store.

 

Pro Tip: Choose an energy-efficient electrical heater to avoid surges.

 

If a solar generator just isn’t an option, you can buy adaptors to turn a cigarette lighter into an electrical socket and run the engine of your car. Check out one option here.

 

Bring the right items so you stay warm in the winter

Getting the right items to keep you warm throughout the winter nights is essential. After all, you can insulate your camper but still feel cold, especially if temperatures reach extremely low numbers in your area.

 

Here’s my best tips for staying warm in winter without heat, and if you’re cold, then one of the easiest ways to warm up is to walk around, weather permitting.

 

There’s been many a morning where I’ve groused about the freezing weather only to quickly warm up when I started feeding our chickens.)

 

Learning how to keep a camper warm in the winter is easy as long as you make the right preparations.

How to Arm Knit a Blanket

Here’s a pretty cool video about how to knit a blanket using your arms. It’s not my video, but since knowing how to make blankets, etc is part of homesteading, I thought I’d share it. Thanks to Simply Maggie for making such a neat video! Enjoy!