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A cat house buyer’s guide may seem a bit ludicrous, but you may be surprised at how many options are available for the discerning cat owner. While your cat may not have a preference for or against crown molding, there are a number of features that every good cat house should have.
Keep the following key features as you shop for a cat house:
Your cat doesn’t want a McMansion. Cats prefer a small space where they can cozy up and feel secure. A cavernous cat house may end up feeling too exposed to them, and they may opt instead to hunker beneath your porch steps instead. Look for a cat house that is right-sized for a single cat, or if you have multiple cats, get one with several rooms or floors.
Wood makes a better insulator than plastic. But note that the number of openings will also determine how much shelter the cat house provides. A cat house with doors/windows in the back and front could be drafty, so make sure there is a “loft” area where the cat can get away from the wind. Also, you can find insulated cat houses that include heating lamps or can be outfitted with bulbs that can provide some warmth, similar to a chicken coop.
Just like your home needs an emergency exit, so too does your cat house. If a raccoon wanders in or a branch blocks the only entrance, your cat is going to have some serious issues. Give them an out by providing at least one alternate exit/entrance.
Cedar is the preferred wood of choice for an outdoor cat house, but make sure it’s pressure treated and finished to be weather resistant. Just like your deck is maintained to stand up to the elements, your cat house should be appropriately weatherproofed if you want it to last more than four seasons.
Occasionally, you’ll want to give your cat house some spring cleaning. Look for one that is easy to get into, easy to move about and easy to keep clean in general. Otherwise, your cat house will quickly become too funky to inhabit.
Some people don’t care if their cat house matches the décor and architecture of their home, but for those who have already perfectly coordinated the aesthetic look of their mailbox to their house, a consistent look and feel for the cat house is a must. You may be able to have a custom cat house built by a local carpenter or furniture maker, or you can find a variety of styles online and try to find one that most closely matches your home’s aesthetics.
Note that price wasn’t included as a factor here. That’s because all in all, cat houses are a bit of a luxury. There is no correct amount to spend on your cat house. It’s all about finding the cat house that you feel is right for your pet and which one appeals to you and spending accordingly.
Why buy a cat house?
Cats love to be outside. As naturally free-spirited creatures, they enjoy the sunshine, the fresh air and the ability to roam. While outside, cats get much-needed exercise and socialization with other animals. A cat that gets to spend a few hours a day outside typically returns home calmer, more satisfied and less restless. Spending time outside also helps prevent lazy, fat cats, lying around the house in obese bodies.
There are clear merits of allowing your cat outdoors, and their self-sufficiency ensures that they’ll be responsible and safe, for the most part. But you may want to invest in a cat house so that your feline can have a “home away from home” for brief respites from their outdoor adventures.
As anyone who has an indoor-outdoor cat knows, cats can be somewhat capricious in determining when they want to be let out or in. This can lead to many frustrating trips to the backdoor as your cat meows to be let in. Or worse, your cat could be waiting at the door for hours, wondering why you’re not letting it in, which may or may not harp upon your conscience.
Outdoor cat houses offer your outdoor cat shelter from the elements and a convenient place for them to take a break. Or, if you have a full-time outdoor cat, an insulated cat house makes a suitable dwelling for day and night, summer and winter. Not only does a cat house give your kitty a stylish abode to call his or her own, it also gives them a safe place to grab a cat nap or seek shelter from the wind, rain, cold or snow.
Once your cat becomes attached to a cat house, it also makes finding them much easier. Say, if you let your cat out before work, but want him indoors before you leave for the day.
Without a cat house, it’s likely that your cat has set up shop elsewhere—perhaps beneath a neighbors porch, in a tree or some other place that serves a substitute for a suitable cat house. But with a cat house, you can always know where to find him (unless he’s out roaming). You can also have a place to give them food or water where it can’t be accessed by pests and other animals, such as dogs, rodents and coyotes.
Bottom-line: Your pet deserves a home of its own. Cats who spend a great deal of time outdoors should have a safe, warm shelter that they can relax in between excursions in your backyard.