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Outdoor cats in winter

(17 Posts)
MyBreadIsEggy Tue 11-Oct-16 07:22:42

My girl has become an outdoor cat in recent months. I do offer her the chance to come back in the house, but she never does - except she will sometimes spend the night in the garage (with food, water, a bed and litter tray) when it's raining and dart back out as soon as the opportunity arises in the morning.
She has a dry food dispenser outside, a water bowl, I put wet food down twice a day and she has a small dog kennel filled with fleece blankets out there too. I'm just starting to worry a little with it getting colder now, and thinking about whether she we be alright when winter really sets in?
Our garage has a kind of side-door, so I'm thinking of putting a cat flap on that door to give her free access to the garage when no one is around to let her in, but it's still cold in there! Should I put a little heater in there or something?
Am I majorly over thinking this?!

lljkk Tue 11-Oct-16 07:28:31

Why doesn't she like the house, does she not like people much?

helenlove Tue 11-Oct-16 07:28:53

One of my cats sleeps in the garage but we have a cat flap into the garage and then from the garage into the house so the option is there if he was really cold.

You can get heated pet beds if you are really worried. And definitely a cat flap into your garage would be good just make sure it's not a free for all or it will be the local youth club for feral felines...

Artandco Tue 11-Oct-16 07:35:35

Lift the kennel onto some bricks so it is off the floor so it doesn't get the cold up through the floor. Line the bottom with layers of cardboard then newspaper to again insulate. You can insulate the outside also using bubble wrap and a tarpaulin type thing. Turn the kennel out of the wind

Otherwise can you add a microchip cat flap into your home via back door?

JennyOnAPlate Tue 11-Oct-16 07:38:06

We have one who very much prefers the outdoors to the house. She definitely comes in more when the weather gets properly cold though (will sleep in the house overnight anyway) Maybe yours will too?

MyBreadIsEggy Tue 11-Oct-16 08:08:45

I think she took a dislike to my Dd once she started walking! She just seems to prefer being outside!
I'll definitely "insulate" her little kennel thing as Art suggested.
At our old house we had one of the magnetic cat flaps and cat had the magnetic ball to open it on her collar, so I'll get one of those again.
She must alright at the moment - surely if she was was cold and miserable she would come in when I offer wouldn't she?!

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 11-Oct-16 08:17:12

It's not properly cold yet where I am,shel'l come in when it's chilly. A heated pad on a timer is a good idea.

sashh Tue 11-Oct-16 08:19:06

She must alright at the moment - surely if she was was cold and miserable she would come in when I offer wouldn't she?!

And if she was really unhappy she would move out.

As for heated beds - my cat will happily sleep on a radiator, and she is also partial to Bagpuss - a hot water bottle in a bagpuss cover.

MyBreadIsEggy Tue 11-Oct-16 08:25:56

sashh that's a very good idea!! I have a soft, microwavable pig that stays warm for a long time, so I will put that in the old Moses basket in the garage that she's taken a liking too!!

Toddlerteaplease Tue 11-Oct-16 08:46:11

Someone once told me that a cat will never make its self uncomfortable.

MsMims Tue 11-Oct-16 13:00:01

Snugglesafes can be microwaved and stay warm for hours on end. I wonder if she's scared of your DD and so too worried to come inside, rather than just preferring the outdoors? Most cats will choose the indoors more now that the weather is turning. Do you have any child free friends or family? I would be tempted to see if she was happier there. Or maybe try some anti anxiety remedies and see if she'll come back inside at your house?

DubiousCredentials Tue 11-Oct-16 13:09:10

I tend to think cats vote with their feet if they aren't happy as others have said. Our cat goes out at night in all weathers. She has a cat kennel with a blanket it that she sometimes goes in. Even in frosty weather she will come in for breakfast then head straight back out into the garden for another hour or so then come back in to sleep all day. We live rurally and presumably she either finds somewhere she likes to snuggle up in or is off having the time of her life hunting.

MsMims Tue 11-Oct-16 13:21:08

I'm not so sure dubious Some of my rescues are far too nervous to approach other people if they wanted to vote with their feet (paws?!). Of course they're completely spoilt I hope they're happy and wouldn't want to go elsewhere. If the OPs cat is sensitive enough to stop coming indoors to her family once her DD started toddling I doubt she'd be confident enough to waltz into another family.

The difference is your cat is still coming indoors to the warmth. I don't know, I just think it's sad that a pet is now living outdoors most of the time. Be different if the OPs cat was a feral who actively shunned humans or hadn't been domesticated.

DubiousCredentials Tue 11-Oct-16 13:42:05

MsMims good points.

viques Tue 11-Oct-16 13:48:50

If you are going to get a microchip controlled cat flap can I suggest you get one that works off her microchip? I personally don't think outside cats should be wearing collars at all, too many opportunities for injury, and also she couldn't lose her microchip as she could a collar. you can programme them for a number of cats so any others you owned could use it too.

MyBreadIsEggy Tue 11-Oct-16 15:46:27

To be fair, she has always spent a lot of time outside anyway and has never been much of a "cuddly cat". She will tolerate the odd rub behind the ears, but that's about it!
We had a cat flap in our old house and she could come and go as she pleased, but our new house is stupidly laid out hmm
There's no access to the garden directly from the house - you have to go through my garage in order to get outside, and the door between the garage and the kitchen is a massive, wooden fire door, so can't put a cat flap in that one!
The only place I could put one would be in either the door from the garage to the garden, or the other garage door which leads from the garage onto the driveway!
I live in military housing, and am not allowed to put a cat flap in the front door (I already asked!), which is the only door that leads directly into the house from outside!
I think the only real solution is to make the garage as warm and cosy as I can and put a cat flap in one of the garage doors. I'll still keep offering the opportunity for her to come into the house, but won't force her inside.

sashh Tue 11-Oct-16 16:00:50

One thing you could do to make her more comfortable in the actual house is to make an escape route for her, this is easy to do with bookshelves / furniture, somewhere she can get out of the way of your dd if she wants.

I have had a couple of cats liking to be on top of the wardrobe. I have drawers near the wardrobe and my current cat jumps on to them and then on to the wardrobe.

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