Keeping (semi) outdoor cats warm in winter

mtngater

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Hello,
I just joined the Catsite and am hoping for any and all advice you can give. Over the past six years, my husband and I have been taking in feral cats. We usually work for MONTHS to gain their trust by feeding them before we can get close, and then we've taken them in to be spayed/neutered and shots and they've become part of the family. They have been indoors with us until it's (a) gotten to be too many and (b) we'd wanted to get rid of cats on the counter, etc. (husband is a chef). We have now become an unofficial sanctuary with 18 cats (a few were pregnant and had kittens when we took them in). We have a nearly 400-square foot deck that we recently had screened in and a roof put on - they now have a beautiful home; however we are unsure how to keep them warm in winter since it's screened. We live in northeast Arkansas where temps can drop to the 20s at night / 40s during the day. Will we be able to keep them outside and if so, what is the best way to go about keeping them warm? I've looked into heaters, the individual shelters you can DIY with crates and straw, etc.

Thanks in advance! (Attaching a picture of these spoiled cats home)
Porch.jpg
 
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mtngater

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Babypaws

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One thing I would worry about on your screened in porch is, the cats would start scratching at the screens and tear them
 

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Hi, welcome to TCS! Your cat space is gorgeous. Bless you and your DH for taking in cats. We have some heated cat blankets for our one spoiled cat (Oscar) who thinks being brought inside is torture and our feral, Big Red. Big Red was the first cat I caught when we had two cats with kittens show up at our home. He hangs around the carport. The heated blankets are supposed to be outdoor safe, thought we keep them in areas where they can't get wet.

The blankets/beds are fairly inexpensive and can be found in a variety of sizes on amazon and eBay. Chain pet stores sell them, too, but they are a little more expensive. The ones we have look like heating pads for people, but bigger.
 

Babypaws

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I was reading an article the other day about a device how to train cats to stay off the counters, but only problem is, I don’t remember the name of the manufacturer and I don’t remember exactly where I read it but the device is called an ”EGG”. guess it was activated when a cat would jump up on a counter and it would shoot out a blast of air. It sounded pretty good and I was interested but I’m not able to find the manufacturer, or even if they still sell. Is there anyone else that might’ve heard about that product?
I have the same problem with my cats, keeping them off the counters or table

hope this is in the correct forum but I just found the device, unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’s available on Amazon and I’m not sure if they still make it. Here’s a picture.

IMG_5812.png
 
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shadowsrescue

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When I cared for feral outside cats in Ohio (very cold winters), we had a shelter on our deck. Inside the shelter my DH built an insulated cat house with a window. Inside we used a hound heater to keep them warm and also outdoor approved heat pads on the bottom. They loved it. The inside stayed about 20-30 degrees warmer than the outside air. I will include some pictures.

We also used Magic Boxes. They were clear rubbermaid that were insulted with Reflectix on the sides, top and bottom. Then an outdoor heat pad added to the bottom. They kept the cats really warm too.

1695582133535.png

This picture shows the heated house on the left and 2 Magic Boxes next to it.
 
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mtngater

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Hi, welcome to TCS! Your cat space is gorgeous. Bless you and your DH for taking in cats. We have some heated cat blankets for our one spoiled cat (Oscar) who thinks being brought inside is torture and our feral, Big Red. Big Red was the first cat I caught when we had two cats with kittens show up at our home. He hangs around the carport. The heated blankets are supposed to be outdoor safe, thought we keep them in areas where they can't get wet.

The blankets/beds are fairly inexpensive and can be found in a variety of sizes on amazon and eBay. Chain pet stores sell them, too, but they are a little more expensive. The ones we have look like heating pads for people, but bigger.
Thank you so much for the kind words as well as the suggestion (I'll be looking online shortly).
 
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mtngater

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One thing I would worry about on your screened in porch is, the cats would start scratching at the screens and tear them
Yes, that was a worry for me as well when we did this. We did research and buy an "animal-resistant" screen that is much more durable and tear resistant; but I keep an eye out every day on them to ensure they're not scratching or climbing on them.
 
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mtngater

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When I cared for feral outside cats in Ohio (very cold winters), we had a shelter on our deck. Inside the shelter my DH built an insulated cat house with a window. Inside we used a hound heater to keep them warm and also outdoor approved heat pads on the bottom. They loved it. The inside stayed about 20-30 degrees warmer than the outside air. I will include some pictures.

We also used Magic Boxes. They were clear rubbermaid that were insulted with Reflectix on the sides, top and bottom. Then an outdoor heat pad added to the bottom. They kept the cats really warm too.

View attachment 460281
This picture shows the heated house on the left and 2 Magic Boxes next to it.
That's awesome! Thanks so much - I greatly appreciate it.
 
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mtngater

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I was reading an article the other day about a device how to train cats to stay off the counters, but only problem is, I don’t remember the name of the manufacturer and I don’t remember exactly where I read it but the device is called an ”EGG”. guess it was activated when a cat would jump up on a counter and it would shoot out a blast of air. It sounded pretty good and I was interested but I’m not able to find the manufacturer, or even if they still sell. Is there anyone else that might’ve heard about that product?
I have the same problem with my cats, keeping them off the counters or table

hope this is in the correct forum but I just found the device, unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’s available on Amazon and I’m not sure if they still make it. Here’s a picture.

View attachment 460282
I appreciate you searching for it. Because we've taken in SO many cats, I have a feeling this would not be effective for all of them, but I may give it a look. Thanks
 

Taylor0614

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Instructions r for pictures
2 inside containers are surrounded with layers of insulating panels. 3 layers on the bottom and top, and 2 layers on each side. Then, the inside of each will get dry bedding can be blankets since they won't be getting wet and separate entrances.
containers are sealed before placing final layers of insulation on top.
 

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shadowsrescue

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mtngater

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[/URL]


Instructions r for pictures
2 inside containers are surrounded with layers of insulating panels. 3 layers on the bottom and top, and 2 layers on each side. Then, the inside of each will get dry bedding can be blankets since they won't be getting wet and separate entrances.
containers are sealed before placing final layers of insulation on top.
Thanks so much - I like that idea.
 

di and bob

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I buy teh collapsible heated cat houses on Amazon for my outside cats, our temps get down to below zero and don't even reach freezing for days at a time. These have always worked well. I have tehm set up in a garage with blankets wrapped around them. An extra one too in case something decides to move in, possums break in quite a bit!
With that many, and with your temps not being exceptional, I would build a few cat houses and put in either straw or blankets with the electric heat pads by K&H. I get the outdoor ones and they have lasted for ten years! I always check tehm daily when it gets below zero, I don't want them to not work during a cold spell. I use small blankets inside, wet feet are dried as they walk across the garage and the gentle heat dries any moisture. I like the collapsible huts because I store them during the summer. But cats also like huts during the summer to feel safe.
 
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mtngater

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I buy teh collapsible heated cat houses on Amazon for my outside cats, our temps get down to below zero and don't even reach freezing for days at a time. These have always worked well. I have tehm set up in a garage with blankets wrapped around them. An extra one too in case something decides to move in, possums break in quite a bit!
With that many, and with your temps not being exceptional, I would build a few cat houses and put in either straw or blankets with the electric heat pads by K&H. I get the outdoor ones and they have lasted for ten years! I always check tehm daily when it gets below zero, I don't want them to not work during a cold spell. I use small blankets inside, wet feet are dried as they walk across the garage and the gentle heat dries any moisture. I like the collapsible huts because I store them during the summer. But cats also like huts during the summer to feel safe.
Great suggestion thank you.
 
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