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how to keep a shelter warm at night?

myfamily

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I have two shelters made from a Styrofoam boxes with straw inside. Both of them are occupied at night. They are out in a field so not close to an electrical source. Currently the temps are getting down to 25 degrees, and the cats are fine. But it won't be long til the temperatures will get really cold at night. Do you have any ideas for non-electrical, perhaps battery operated heat sources I can put inside the shelter? It wouldn't have to be much, just a faint source of heat should be enough to make a big difference.
 

moxiewild

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Reflective foil insulation! You can use tape to attach it to completely cover the inside, it makes a HUGE difference. I generally use a brand called Reflectix. It’s readily available at Home Depot, but some Walmart’s also have it and you can order it online too from many places. We actually use a reflective foil insulation tape we also picked up from Home Depot to adhere it, but that’s obviously not necessary.

You can also elevate the shelters off of the ground. You can use a simple wood pallet or even bricks.

I am always too paranoid to use anything electrical PLUS I have the luxury of living in Texas where are winters are very short, and not harsh relative to other places.

So I can’t recomnend anything battery operate, although I would imagine that might pose a risk if cats are wet from rain or snow? I’ll leave it to the other members on here to suggest anything like that.

What I do use, however, are snuggle safes, and I’m a big fan of them. Pop them in the microwave for a few minutes, and they stay warm for 8-12 hours. We usually get 12 hours out of them, but again, it’s Texas!
 
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myfamily

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Thanks, I never heard of Snuggle Safes. I will look them up on line to see what they are. What is the purpose of Reflective foil? Insulation? It is a thick syrofoam box a couple of inches thick so I dno't think it needs any more insulation. I am just wanting a weak heat source to help keep them warm. I went to Sportsman Warehouse today looking for ideas. I found hand warmers but they are only good for one use. Surely there must something that's battery operated that emits some heat. I live in Idaho. It is not unusual to get below zero here in the winter.
 
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myfamily

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It would appear Snuggle Safes are exactly what I need. I never heard of them til now. The reviewers say they use them for feral cats in negative temperatures, and they work great.
 

moxiewild

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Yep! Just be sure to check and keep the chart about heating times that comes with it. How long you put it in for depends on the wattage of your microwave.

The styrofoam is good for keeping cold out, but the Reflectix helps trap heat in better and also reflects the cats body heat back to it.

I use styrofoam for some of my shelters and adding Reflectix absolutely makes it warmer than styrofoam alone by quite a bit.
 

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I bought, 2 yrs ago, a Kitty Tube house on Amazon in Dec. '17. If I can link it I will. It is linked in another thread on here somewhere. It is called The Kitty Tube & it is fantastic to keep cats warm, dry, etc.

It can even defend vs predators such as coyotes & thus doubles as a safe shelter from prey, as it has tiny opening for the cats but bigger predators can't reach in to back- - & cat can hide deep inside it if need be.

Highly suggest it to really make the job the BEST you can do for winter cats or multiple cats. It cost about $160 then but well worth it as very hardy, sturdy, dry & has liner of insulation, etc. :)
 

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the Styrofoam and straw are great, I recently heard about those emergency blankets too.
a battery operated string of LED lights? maybe the kind that are in a plastic tube you can put around the
top of the shelters? not sure where you live but I think what you have already is going to protect them
from the cold. hmm the lights might attract predators, not sure.
 
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myfamily

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Yep! Just be sure to check and keep the chart about heating times that comes with it. How long you put it in for depends on the wattage of your microwave.

The styrofoam is good for keeping cold out, but the Reflectix helps trap heat in better and also reflects the cats body heat back to it.

I use styrofoam for some of my shelters and adding Reflectix absolutely makes it warmer than styrofoam alone by quite a bit.
Thank you. Is Reflectix the same stuff that car window shades are made from? Because i have a big window shade for my truck that I can cut up.
 

moxiewild

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Yes, it is at least very similar, if not made out if he same material. I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t cut up a window shade! You’ll just need to figure out how to finish the edges.

Walli mentioned the emergency blankets which I believe is referring to space blankets/Mylar blankets. We’ve used those a few times too because we buy them for the homeless (humans) every winter, and they work great as well!
 
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myfamily

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I bought a couple of emergency blankets, and lined two of my shelters with them. The first one, I measured the sides, top, and bottom, and cut out rectangle-shapes pieces to fit each wall, floor, and ceiling. But the second shelter, I just shoved the whole thing into the stryofoam box and pressed it against the sides and bottom. Much quicker. I wonder if it's as effective when it is cut and pieced together as opposed to keeping it whole? I hope it helps. I couldn't afford the reflectix stuff which comes in a roll at Home Depot. I cut up a floor mat and covered the entrances with a nice thick piece of rubber and that will also help keep in the heat. I couldn't find a Snuggle Safe, or anything that could be used similarly, at Walmart.
 

LTS3

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The newer SnuggleSafe pads don't really have much heating info on them:



The older ones were more detailed for various microwave wattage:

IMG_4708.jpg


Pet stores should have SnuggleSafes. Buying online is always an option (Amazon, Chewy, etc).
 

moxiewild

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I think cutting up the Mylar blankets does provide more heat, however they should significantly heat up your shelters by just throwing them in there too! You can always cut it up later if you feel like it’s not enough :)

I’ve never had a snuggle safe with the chart on the disc, it always comes on a separate sheet of paper, like the instruction manual. I had no idea it was ever on the disc!

I’ve also personally never seen them in stores before, but pet stores would certainly be the best bet. I’ve always ordered mine online.
 

tnrmakessense

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I have two shelters made from a Styrofoam boxes with straw inside. Both of them are occupied at night. They are out in a field so not close to an electrical source. Currently the temps are getting down to 25 degrees, and the cats are fine. But it won't be long til the temperatures will get really cold at night. Do you have any ideas for non-electrical, perhaps battery operated heat sources I can put inside the shelter? It wouldn't have to be much, just a faint source of heat should be enough to make a big difference.
There's a microwavable gizmo called "snuggle safe". You want to wrap it in a blanket or towel because it can get really hot, but it's supposed to keep warm all night.
 
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