The Best Outdoor Cat Houses: Read Before Buying

Written by Opal
Updated: October 8, 2022
© Seregraff/Shutterstock.com

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Key Points

  • Indoors is for your cat’s safety.
  • If you do choose to let your cat out, provide a cat house for safety and shelter.
  • Look for a cat house that has an escape door in case predators show up.

Do you have a feline friend that loves to spend time outdoors? Perhaps you’ve got a big heart and help those less fortunate strays near your home. Whatever your situation is, an outdoor cat house can provide safety, warmth, and a place for cats to relax. 

Most pet experts believe that keeping your cat inside is the safest method for our feline companions, and most outdoor cat homes aren’t suited for protecting a cat during the wintertime. If you do decide to let your indoor cat enjoy the outdoors, ensure they return home every time and avoid letting them out when the weather is very cold or rainy.

The best outdoor cat houses protect your kitty from the environment as well as other potential threats in the outdoors. Even if you simply intend to offer shelter for cats, they may not be the only animals in need this winter. 

During harsh weather, bothersome rodents can crawl into cat shelters, and interested predators can surround cats in enclosed places. Several of our preferred cat homes, thankfully, include escape doors or specific entrances meant to keep the shelter safe for felines. 

We’ve scoured the web and found a handful of the best outdoor cat houses on the market! Whether you’re looking for something that’s affordable and easy to assemble or you have a bigger budget and want one that will keep your furry friend warm and toasty, we have multiple options for you! Complete with a buyer’s guide and real-life reviews, here’s our ultimate guide for outdoor cat houses! 

  1. K&H Pet Products Heated Shelter
  2. K&H Pet Products Heated Shelter
    • Heated for your kitty's comfort
    • The heating element is a fleece-lined MET-listed heating pad
    • Must be plugged into an electrical outlet
    • Choose from a variety of colors and patterns
    • This outdoor cat house is not waterproof or insulated
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  3. Petsfit Outdoor Cat House
  4. Petsfit Outdoor Cat House
    • This unheated cat house is built to withstand snow and rain
    • Constructed of wood
    • Well-built to keep your cat warm and dry
    • Features a scratchpad roof and ramp
    • Two stories accommodate several cats
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  5. K&H Pet Products Birchwood Manor
  6. K&H Pet Products Birchwood Manor
    • Constructed from UV-protected birch wood
    • Available with a detachable electric warming cushion
    • Features two entrances with transparent door flaps
    • You may paint this house to give it a custom feel
    • Not completely insulated or watertight
    Check Chewy Check Amazon
  7. Kitty City Outdoor Cabin
  8. Kitty City Outdoor Cabin
    • Double-layer insulation keeps cats warm
    • Great for indoors or out
    • Water-resistant fabric keeps cats dry
    • Folds up for storage when not in use
    • Can be stacked
    Check Amazon
  9. The Kitty Tube Outdoor Cat House
  10. The Kitty Tube Outdoor Cat House
    • Specifically designed for outdoor use
    • Insulated and weatherproof 
    • Sturdy dome shell made of recycled plastics
    • Very easy to clean
    Check Amazon

1. Overall Best: K&H Pet Products Outdoor Heated Kitty House

According to our findings, the best outdoor cat house is the K&H Pet Products Outdoor Heated Kitty House. As the name implies, this 22x18x17 cat home is heated, making it an excellent choice for cats who enjoy spending time outside. 

The heating element is provided by a MET-listed heating pad that is fleece-lined for your cat’s enjoyment. The fleece cover is machine washable, and the pad is detachable for easy cleaning. To utilize the heating fixture, this miniature house should be plugged into an electrical outlet.

From a vast range of possibilities, you’ll choose a color or pattern that matches your own preferences. Put it in a protected place, such as under a deck or in a garage, because this cat shelter isn’t waterproof or insulated. You can waterproof or insulate it on your own if you want to add an extra layer or durability.

The hut is powered by low-voltage electricity, which keeps it from catching fire. 

Two cats can fit within comfortably and snuggle close to one another. The cat shelter is made of vinyl-backed nylon and is extremely easy to put together. It’s light and simple to clean thanks to the detachable zippered roof.

Overall Best
K&H Pet Products Heated Shelter
  • Heated for your kitty's comfort
  • The heating element is a fleece-lined MET-listed heating pad
  • Must be plugged into an electrical outlet
  • Choose from a variety of colors and patterns
  • This outdoor cat house is not waterproof or insulated
Check Chewy Check Amazon

2. Best for Multiple Cats: Petsfit Large Outdoor Cat House

The Petsfit Large Outdoor Cat House is designed specifically for cats who spend a lot of time outside. One of the most appealing features of this option is that it can withstand snow, rain, and other inclement weather. 

With this house-like wooden condo, just about any cat will quickly fall in love with its new home. The enclosed area’s walls are constructed with perfect angles to keep your kitty companion warm and dry when inside. 

On the two-story cat home with a scratchpad roof and ramp, there’s plenty of room for several cats. There’s the main door for the cat to access the condo, as well as an escape door for them to rush out of if there’s a scary predator nearby. This second door blends in perfectly and seems to be a standard flap cat door. 

It’s worth noting that the two-story condo cat housing doesn’t have any heating. For further insulation, consider placing a cat bed, straw, or shredded paper inside. As a result, the house is built to withstand a variety of weather conditions. The wood shingles are painted with a non-toxic, water-based paint that will not peel or chip.

Best for Multiple Cats
Petsfit Outdoor Cat House
  • This unheated cat house is built to withstand snow and rain
  • Constructed of wood
  • Well-built to keep your cat warm and dry
  • Features a scratchpad roof and ramp
  • Two stories accommodate several cats
Check Chewy Check Amazon

3. Best Wood: K&H Pet Products Birchwood Manor Outdoor

This wooden housing by K&H was designed for one cat, but it may be able to fit two. It’s simple to put together and comes in both heated and non-heated versions. 

The heated version has a warming cushion that heats up as you use it. The pad is entirely detachable and fulfills electrical safety regulations. Only the K&H cover should be used with the pad. 

Cats are protected from the weather and predators by two entrances with transparent door flaps. The second door will keep cats from being trapped inside if you’re worried about intruders in your neighborhood.

This charming home is made of UV-protected genuine birch wood and may be customized and painted in any style you choose. This shelter should be kept in a shed, garage, or barn as it is not totally insulated or watertight.

Best Wood
K&H Pet Products Birchwood Manor
  • Constructed from UV-protected birch wood
  • Available with a detachable electric warming cushion
  • Features two entrances with transparent door flaps
  • You may paint this house to give it a custom feel
  • Not completely insulated or watertight
Check Chewy Check Amazon

4. Best With Insulation: Kitty City Outdoor Cabin Cat House

Do you have multiple cats who would benefit from a nice home where they can both relax and have some time to themselves? The Kitty City Outdoor Cabin Cat House is the ideal spot for a couple to do so. You could add a second stackable cat housing to accommodate an extra kitty. 

For maximum convenience, each cube has its own entrance and exit. This shelter may be used both inside and outside your home. It is kept warm all year because of the double-layered insulating walls. The external fabric is water-resistant, which protects kittens from cold and rain. Pets and their owners adore this feature and so do we! 

It takes only a moment to put up and folds up effortlessly when not in use. The outside is decorated to look like a cabin vacation, equipped with a “gone fishing” sign and windows that reflect a pond with all the fish a cat could dream of!

Best for Multiple Cats
Kitty City Outdoor Cabin
  • Double-layer insulation keeps cats warm
  • Great for indoors or out
  • Water-resistant fabric keeps cats dry
  • Folds up for storage when not in use
  • Can be stacked
Check Amazon

5. Best Weatherproof: The Kitty Tube With Pillow

In all seasons, the Kitty Tube will give shelter to wild and neighborhood cats. It’s made exclusively for outside usage, and it’s great quality, easy to assemble, and big enough for two cats. 

Because this outdoor shelter is well insulated, a heating element is rarely needed. For those looking for a heated cat house, there is one option that includes a low-voltage electric heating pad as well as a fleece cover. 

The Kitty Tube doesn’t have multiple access points for cats to escape. The company has a good reason for this. They say the house still protects cats from harmful predators since the door is too small for them to get in, and cats are safer within the shelter than outside trying to flee a band of predators.

The Kitty Tube is constructed of recyclable materials in the United States. Its round form serves to keep the wind at bay, while the black hue helps to keep you warm. Flow-through foam is used to insulate the flooring, walls, and roof, and it can be removed for maintenance. 

To prevent moisture from getting into the sleeping space, the foam layer on the floor is elevated. The lid may easily be lifted to add straw or clean the interior. Built-in handles can open in the summer for ventilation or stay closed in the winter to keep the heat in.

Best for Keeping Warm
The Kitty Tube Outdoor Cat House
  • Specifically designed for outdoor use
  • Insulated and weatherproof 
  • Sturdy dome shell made of recycled plastics
  • Very easy to clean
Check Amazon

Choosing the Best: What to Look For

There are many uses for outdoor cat houses. Some people use them for their own cats, while others provide a warm space for feral cats to rest. No matter your reasoning, it’s essential to know what features make a great outdoor cat house. Let’s take a look at some of the most important things you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for! 

Waterproofing

As you’ve read in the reviews above, a lot of outdoor houses for cats have some type of waterproofing element. These are often based on the material the house is made out of, whether that’s wood, plastic, or water-resistant nylon. Even if you have an outdoor house for your feline friend, it doesn’t hurt to put it under a porch, deck, or in the garage. 

Out of all the materials used for feline homes, plastic is the most waterproof, all while blocking harsh wind and freezing rain. One of the downfalls of plastic is that it’s susceptible to aging from excessive heat and sunlight. 

Wood is another durable material as long as it has waterproofing If not, it will likely rot when exposed to a lot of moisture such as snow in the winter. Another choice you have for waterproofing is fabric cat houses. These are the easiest to set up and are often water-resistant. 

Insulation

Speaking of, insulation is essential in an outdoor cat house, especially if you live in an area with colder seasons. Insulation works hard to keep felines warm when they’re inside a cat house. Thankfully, the insulation won’t overheat cats inside the house in warmer months. 

It’s important to note that in order to keep insulation dry and in working order, you’ll need the water-resistant materials that are mentioned above. 

Design

Any cat house you buy will require assembly. Some use clips, zippers, and velcro, while others use screws or simply pop up. The design and assembly of the house are aspects you’ll want to consider.

If you’ve ever put furniture together in the past, you’ll know how quickly it can become frustrating. If you’re inexperienced with assembling, consider an easier option, like fabric or pop-up cat house. 

Size

Ask yourself, “how many cats are you trying to shelter?” You can get away with a smaller (and cheaper) cat house if you’re just housing one feline. Small cat houses still provide plenty of warmth and comfort.

If you need a house for several cats, you’ll want something more spacious. Cats are territorial animals, no matter if they’re pets or strays. Because of this, it’s better to have several cat houses available for large groups of cats. 

The breed is something to keep in mind as well in terms of the size of the home. Some breeds are much bigger than others. Whichever house you decide, it’s better to have too much room than not enough. 

Heating

One of the most important features, if not the most important feature in an outdoor cat house is heating elements. While some houses have insulating materials, that may not be enough depending on the environment. 

You’ll want to think about adding bedding and heating pads for those blustery winter days. Heating pads can make some people nervous, especially when used outdoors. Straw bedding is a great alternative! 

Straw allows cats to burrow, it keeps in warmth and repels moisture. Shredded paper works as an alternative if you don’t want the mess that comes with using straw. 

Multiple Doors

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about entry points. Using a cat house outdoors can cause your cat to be in danger if a predator comes near. Whether you’re buying a cat for your pet or strays in the area, they need a way to escape from animals such as coyotes

When there’s just one entry and exit point, cats become vulnerable and will have a much harder time escaping a predator. From our research, we’ve found that cat shelters with at least two entry points are best to provide an escape route for our feline friends. 

The Different Types of Outdoor Cat Houses: Pros and Cons Compared

There are a handful of different styles of cat houses that you can use outdoors. Let’s take a look at what makes each one desirable and what they could improve upon as well. 

  • Cat Condos: Cat condos are often designed with high-quality materials, such as wood or thick plastic. They’re spacious and are great for multiple cats. This style of cat shelter does tend to cost a bit more than alternatives.
  • Pop-Up Cat Houses: If you’re looking for easy assembly, a pop-up cat house is great. These are best for use as a temporary outdoor cat house due to their open-top design and lack of insulation. 
  • Heated Cat Shelters: As the name suggests, heated cat shelters have warming devices implemented in the house in one way or another. This is a fantastic choice for those living in colder climates. 

Verified Review: User Experience

We know how important it is to read real reviews from people just like you. This gives you an idea of what you can expect from a product before spending a penny! 

One Amazon user mentions how much feral neighborhood cats appreciate the K&H Pet Products Outdoor Heated Kitty House. “My ferals loved this house last winter, and still use it on cooler nights with the heating pad off. I wish it was waterproof but a trash bag worked well keeping them dry! Definitely would recommend this cat house!”

If you have a cat that spends the majority of its time outdoors, the Kitty Tube could be your best option. One person has this to say about it: “We have a 13-year-old outdoor cat that refuses to live inside. This insulated cat tube was the perfect answer for her. We filled the inside of the tube with fresh straw and she made herself a nice little nest in there. I open it periodically to check for any insects or other issues but have found none.”

It’s not uncommon to need to introduce your cat to a shelter before they become used to it. For the Birdwood Manor home from K&H Pet Products, a Chewy reviewer let us know that it’s a relatively easy task to take on. 

“Cute house, perfect size for my 10 lb. female kitty who likes to go out during the day. I had to introduce it to her and put her own bed in before she finally went in, but now she loves it! Her little head is always popping out to see what’s going on, and she likes smaller spaces that give her security. Easy to assemble, my husband added four wooden feet to raise it off our front porch for more protection from cold and water. It also comes with a nice floor pad that adds extra insulation.”

Whichever outdoor cat house you choose, always read the reviews to make sure you’re getting a product that your feline friend will enjoy and that has all of the features you’re looking for! 

About the Author

When she's not busy playing with her several guinea pigs or her cat Finlay Kirstin is writing articles to help other pet owners. She's also a REALTOR® in the Twin Cities and is passionate about social justice. There's nothing that beats a rainy day with a warm cup of tea and Frank Sinatra on vinyl for this millennial.

The Best Outdoor Cat Houses: Read Before Buying FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is it safe to let my cat outdoors in the winter?

The answer depends on where you live. Californians wouldn’t have too much of an issue letting their feline friends outside in the winter. On the other hand, Minnesotans should think twice. A general rule of thumb is that temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit are too cold for cats. If it’s cold or snowing, do what you can to keep your cat indoors.



What can I use instead of straw for insulating an outdoor cat shelter?

While straw is the top choice, there are several alternatives you may have lying around the house. You can use pieces of newspaper, old blankets, cat beds, insulated tiles, packing peanuts, memory foam, and even cardboard. Any of these materials will help keep felines a bit warmer while sleeping in an outdoor cat house.



Is it important for outdoor cats to have a heated bed? 

Provide warmed food and water, as well as a dry, warm shelter that is protected from the weather, to assist outdoor cats to survive the winter. Cats’ average body temperatures vary from 99.5°F to 102.5°F, but the amount of heat they require to live comfortably depends on their size and hair type.



Is it necessary to have two entrances on an outside cat house? 

Many people believe that cat homes should have two doors so that a cat may flee from predators. The second door can provide a safe haven for outdoor or communal cats by allowing them to flee from dangers such as other cats, canines, wolves, coyotes, and snakes.



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