Cat shelter: does my cat need a kennel?

By | December 19, 2022

Does your cat have access to the outdoors and you’d like to give him a cozy place to rest between hunting trips? Or would you simply like to help the stray cats in your neighborhood by giving them a cozy place to shelter from time to time?

Then you should consider buying or building a shelter for your cat. They come in different sizes, shapes and materials. Retailers offer a variety of shelters, all suitable for different situations.

How are cat shelters useful for cats? How do you choose a suitable shelter and what are the criteria to respect? All the answers here.

  1. Why are cat shelters useful?

Cats love to hide and be alone from time to time. While they are sociable animals, their hunting instincts also drive them away from the comfort of home to go on adventures. That’s why it’s important to provide outdoor cats, or those who go outside from time to time, with a comfortable and secluded place to rest.

But in addition to this obvious function, shelters are also used to protect themselves from various things, such as other cats and dogs in the neighborhood, or the weather. It is not uncommon for cats that alternate between indoors and outdoors to spend the night outside, or at least for long hours.

Also, as winter approaches, it’s a good idea to make sure that your cat won’t suffer from the cold, and that it will be able to keep warm, even if the house doors are closed at night, for example.

Shelters are also a great vantage point for cats. Cats love to feel elevated from the rest of the world and simply observe their surroundings.

  1. What are the different types of cat shelters or kennels?

From the simple sleeping area to the elaborate kennel with stairs or ladder, there are many models of cat shelters. But it’s up to you to determine your cat’s needs, or to build a cat house yourself if you’re feeling like a handyman.

2.1. A simple shelter or a cat house

Cat houses are small and fairly simple to build, they usually have a simple bed, and are a good hiding place for your cat. They can be placed inside the house, in which case a foam or fabric basket with a “roof” is sufficient.

Otherwise, opt for different materials such as wood, plastic or rattan. A small dog house can also do the trick. Please note that most dog houses do not have a “door” or cat flap, so they are not insulated against the cold. To remedy this, you can add an anti-cold PVC curtain, which will protect your cat’s kennel against the weather, but also against insects.

2.2. Duplexes, the ideal cat house all year round

The duplex cat house is usually composed of a bed and a seat or a roof. It can be open or closed. Again, the choice will depend on where you put it.

For outdoor use, choose insulating materials such as wood or plastic. Cat duplexes give the cat more room to roam and are also suitable if you have several cats.

2.3. Multi-story cat houses

These small huts look a bit like classic storage units, which makes them easy to integrate into an interior. Usually constructed of wood or plastic, they are also designed to be placed outdoors. They have several places to lie down, a ladder, sometimes a scratching post … in short, all the necessary comfort for your cat.

2.4. Multiroom cat houses

Ideal if you have several cats or if your shelter is intended for the cats of the neighborhood, they contain, as their name indicates, several “rooms”, in other words sleeping places.

2.5. The cattery, to protect your cat

If you want your cat to enjoy the outdoors, but are concerned about getting lost, attacked or fought over, a cattery may be the answer. These structures include a cat house, sometimes multi-story, that provides shelter for the animal, and a screened area in front of the house.

A cattery can accommodate several cats if it is large enough. A cattery can be useful in getting a kitten used to being outdoors while protecting it.

  1. The 3 essential criteria of a good shelter

If the shelter you want to buy/build will be placed outside, it is important to respect the following criteria

  • good thermal insulation: if your cat is going to use the shelter in winter, for example, the temperature inside must be higher. Therefore, choose insulating materials and a cat flap at the entrance that can block the cold.
  • waterproofing: similarly, cats that are used to going outside are often confronted with rain. It is therefore important that once inside his shelter, he is dry, at the risk of catching cold.
  • Comfort: it is important that your cat feels comfortable in his shelter or little house. Consider lightly padding the bottom, and don’t forget to provide water so your cat can quench its thirst. If it’s hot or cold, don’t leave him outside.
  • If you want to build your own shelter, be careful not to leave any nails or other dangerous elements protruding from it for your cat. The Internet is full of well-designed tutorials that will show you how to build a proper shelter, so don’t hesitate, start your research!

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