Cats are natural-born hunters that love the great outdoors, but they need places to take shelter from the elements, too. Maybe you’d like to give your cat a cozy hideaway in your backyard, or maybe you want to make sure the neighborhood stray has a warm place to live when the weather gets cold. If so, one of these outdoor cat houses might be exactly what you’re looking for.
We reviewed dozens of outdoor cat houses to find the best options for you and your furry friend. To narrow down our selection, we looked at important factors like durability, insulation, ease of assembly, and safety for your cat. Five of the cat houses we looked at made our favorites list, but we’ve also included twenty runners-up for you to peruse.
We found that one outdoor cat house stood head and shoulders above the rest. The Petsfit Outdoor Cat House with Escape Door and Stairs is a great choice if you have one, two, or even three cats. It’s made of long-lasting cedar wood, has two doors, and features a floor that’s designed for easy cleaning. If you want a well-made outdoor cat house that’s safe for your kitties and looks attractive in your yard or on your porch, you can’t go wrong with this pick.
The 5 Top-Rated Outdoor Cat Houses
|Best Overall||Petsfit Outdoor Cat House with Escape Door and Stairs||4.5|
|Runner Up||K&H Pet Products Multi-Kitty A-Frame||4.5|
|Best Budget Buy||K&H Pet Products Outdoor Kitty House||4.7|
|Best Insulated Outdoor Cat House||Kitty Tube Gen 3 Insulated Cat House||4.6|
|Best Outdoor Cat Enclosure||Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen||4.5|
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Petsfit Outdoor Cat House with Escape Door and Stairs
If you’re looking for an outdoor cat house that will keep your cats snug and safe for years to come, the Petsfit Outdoor Cat House with Escape Door and Stairs is an ideal choice. The body is made of weatherproof cedar wood and the roof is made of rainproof asphalt, so it’s durable through and through. This cat house weighs in at 32.1 pounds, making it light enough to move easily, but sturdy enough to stay where you put it. The house measures 30 inches long, 22 inches wide, and 29 inches high, making it a roomy hideaway for your kitty and even multiple cats. You could even fit a small litter pan and a food bowl inside without much trouble.
The Petsfit Outdoor Cat House with Escape Door and Stairs has two doors. The door in front is open, but shielded with an awning to keep rain out. The escape door in back left-hand side is covered with a plastic flap. The house comes with stairs that lead up to porch for your cat to relax or play on.
The floor of this cat house is designed to be easy to clean, so you’ll find keeping it looking (and smelling!) fresh a breeze. Speaking of easy, the whole shelter is very straightforward to assemble given that it comes complete with pre-drilled holes. In fact, you’ll only need a screwdriver to get it up and running.
Petsfit Outdoor Cat House with Escape Door and Stairs Key Features:
- 30″ X 22″ X 29″
- Sturdy construction
- Non-toxic water-based paint
- Stairs that lead to a porch
- Elevated design
- Escape door with plastic flap
- Easy to clean floor
- Simple assembly
Our Runner Up Pick: K&H Pet Products Multi-Kitty A-Frame
If you have more than one cat, or if you want to provide shelter for several strays at once, the K&H Pet Products Multi-Kitty A-Frame is a great pick. The inner dimensions of this outdoor cat house are 24″ X 19″ X 18″. It can comfortably accommodate three or four cats.
You can choose either a heated or an unheated version of this outdoor cat house. The unheated house costs about $64, while the heated version costs about $80. If you opt for the heated house, you can safely leave it plugged in 24/7 without sending your electric bill through the roof. The 40-watt heating pad only activates when something is actually on top of it, and it doesn’t pose a fire hazard. The electrical cord that comes with the heated house is 5 ½ feet long, so depending on where you want to place the cat house, you may need an extension cord as well.
This outdoor cat house is light — a little over 7 pounds — so it’s best for use in a sheltered area, like a porch or a garage. The exterior is waterproof. The house has a front door and an escape door, both of which come with detachable plastic flaps to keep the wind out.
K&H Pet Products Multi-Kitty A-Frame Key Features:
- 24″ X 19″ X 18″ interior
- No tools required for assembly
- Waterproof exterior
- Two doors with detachable plastic flaps
- Optional 40-watt heating pad
Best Budget Pick: K&H Pet Products Outdoor Kitty House
If you’re looking for an outdoor cat house that won’t break the bank, the K&H Pet Products Outdoor Kitty House is for you. This option costs just $39.99, but comes with all the basic features your cat needs to be comfortable inside. It’s made of a waterproof 600 denier nylon with a vinyl backing, which is great news should the weather take an unexpected turn.
It’s easy to assemble this lightweight house—you won’t need a single tool! Once assembled, the interior of the cat house measures 13″ x 16.5″ x 16″ , making it ideal for one cat, or two smaller cats. It includes two covered doors, each of which have plastic flaps to shield your cat from the wind and rain.
K&H Pet Products Outdoor Kitty House Key Features:
- 13″ X 16.5″ X 16″ interior
- Two doors with removable clear door flaps
- No tools required for assembly
- Two doors with detachable plastic flaps
- Made of 600 denier nylon with a vinyl backing
Best Insulated Outdoor Cat House: Kitty Tube Gen 3 Insulated Cat House
If you live in an area with very cold winters, you’re probably looking for an insulated cat house that will keep your outdoor cats warm all winter long. The Kitty Tube Gen 3 Insulated Cat House is ideal for the job. This innovative outdoor cat house is constructed in one piece, preventing drafts and water from getting in. It’s fully insulated, which keeps the interior cool in the summer as well as warm in the winter. The door comes with an awning and a removable clear flap.
Unlike many outdoor cat houses, the Kitty Tube Gen 3 Insulated Cat House has only one door. Most cat houses are equipped with an escape door in case predators come sniffing around. But the single door of this cat house is specially designed so that predators like coyotes and dogs cannot get in. This keeps your cat safer than they would be if they fled out an escape door. The single-door construction of this cat house also keeps warmth in and wind out, making it one of the warmest choices on the market for wintertime.
The lid of the Kitty Tube Gen 3 Insulated Cat House is equipped with a vent that reduces condensation inside. The lid also unscrews, so you can get inside and clean the shelter. The insulation is removable, and the house also comes with a machine-washable pet pillow to keep your cat comfortable.
Kitty Tube Gen 3 Insulated Cat House Key Features:
- 24″ X 24″ X 23″ interior
- One-piece construction with screw-on lid
- Fully lined with high R value insulation
- Moisture vent in lid
- Unique single-door construction keeps predators out
- Awning and detachable plastic flap for door
- Custom machine-washable pet bed
- Drainage system in floor
- Holds up to 3 cats
Best Outdoor Cat Enclosure: Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen
Even indoor cats should be able to get outside and enjoy the fresh air sometimes, and the Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen lets you take your indoor cat outside safely. At just over three pounds, this 8-sided playpen is ultra-light, but it comes with four metal anchors so you can secure it to the ground. It comes in a choice of four sizes (extra small, small, medium, and large), as well as four colors (blue, red, pink, and brown), so you can find one that suits you and your cat’s precise needs.
As this enclosure has both a zippered top and doors, you can rest assured that not only will your cat will be secure, but that you’ll also be able to let them out easily when it’s time to. The mesh sides of the pen let your cat drink in all the sights and smells of the great outdoors without running away.
Putting the Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen together is a snap. It simply pops up in mere seconds. Storing the enclosure is also easy. The sides fold flat and slide into a convenient carrying case, so you can take this enclosure with you anywhere.
Zampa Portable Foldable Pet Playpen Key Features:
- Choice of 4 sizes
- Choice of 4 colors
- Durable mesh sides
- Zippered top and doors
- Includes 4 metal anchors for outdoor use
- Pop-up construction
- Folds flat for easy storage
- Comes with a storage bag
Who Should Buy an Outdoor Cat House
Have you ever watched a cat play in a box? Cats love having cozy, confined spaces to hide in — it makes them feel secure. And while it’s pretty easy for cats to find hiding spots in the house, finding a secure place to sit outside can be much more difficult. That’s why getting an outdoor cat house is a must if you’ve got outdoor cats. Your furry friends will appreciate having a hideout in the backyard or on the porch. You also won’t have to worry about them getting caught in the rain or chilled in the snow.
Cat owners aren’t the only people who might want to consider buying an outdoor cat house. If you have stray cats or feral cats living in your neighborhood, you might worry about them not having a safe place to take shelter — especially when winter is drawing close. No matter how thick and fluffy a feral cat’s coat becomes in the winter, it can’t keep bitterly cold temperatures out. Buying an outdoor cat house, especially a heated one, will give you the peace of mind of knowing that the cats have a warm place to spend the winter. You might even make some new feline friends by doing this.
Important Features to Consider
An outdoor cat house should keep the elements out, keep your cat safe, and be easy to maintain. Here’s what you should look for as you consider which outdoor cat house is best for you and your cat.
- Size. Make sure you measure your cat before you buy him an outdoor house — you’ll want to make sure he will fit comfortably. If you have more than one cat, look for a house that’s large enough to share. Keep in mind that the larger an outdoor cat house is, the less effectively it will warm up with a cat’s own body heat. If you’re looking for an outdoor cat house for feral cats to spend the winter in, you may want to avoid choosing one that’s too large.
- Material. Where do you want to put your outdoor cat house? If you want to put the cat house in your backyard, look for one that’s made of wood with a solid plastic or asphalt roof. These houses tend to be heavy and sturdy enough to withstand rain and wind. Outdoor cat houses made of fabric are better suited for sheltered areas like your porch.
- Doors. Most outdoor cat houses have two doors. This is an important safety feature — if a predator like a coyote tries to get in, your cat can escape through the second door. Many cats also feel more comfortable using a house when they know they have an escape route. However, there are a few outdoor cat houses on the market with a single entrance that has been designed to keep predators out. Some people believe this type of house is actually safer for cats. Think about which option you’re most comfortable with before you commit to a purchase.
- Weatherproofing. How watertight is the outdoor cat house you’re looking at? Will it be adequate to keep out rain and wind? The amount of weatherproofing your cat house will need depends on where you’re planning to put it.
- Insulation. Is the cat house lined with insulation? Does it include a heating pad? This is an especially important feature if you’re trying to help stray or feral cats survive the winter.
- Assembly. Some outdoor cat houses are assembled with built-in zippers and Velcro, while others require tools for assembly. Make sure you have everything you need to put your cat house together when it arrives.
- Ease of cleaning. You’ll probably want to clean your cat house every so often to ensure it remains a nice environment for your cat to live in. Check to see how easily the house comes apart and whether any included cushions or bedding are machine washable.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an outdoor cat house?
An outdoor cat house is a cat shelter that’s made to be placed in your yard, porch, barn, or another unheated outdoor area. Some are sturdy, heavy, and hard-sided, while others are soft-sided and less resistant to water and wind. Outdoor cat houses make ideal hideaways for outdoor pet cats to sleep, play, or take shelter from the rain. Outdoor cat houses can also help feral or stray cats stay warm and survive the winter.
How cold can outdoor cats tolerate?
Outdoor cats might grow thick, fluffy coats in the winter, but those coats don’t give them full protection against the elements. As a general rule, once temperatures dip below freezing, it’s too cold for any cat to be outside without a safe haven to retreat to. If cats are exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for too long, they’re at risk for developing hypothermia and frostbite, which can be fatal.
For indoor-outdoor cats, it’s a different story. A cat that lives inside and only goes outside occasionally may be even less equipped to tolerate cold weather. For these cats, temperatures below 45 degrees Fahrenheit may be too cold. Play it safe: if you wouldn’t go outside without putting on a coat, then don’t let your indoor-outdoor cat outside to roam unless you’ve already set up a warm place for them to take shelter.
How long can a cat live outside?
On average, outdoor cats live much shorter lives than indoor cats. Indoor cats often live into their late teens. Outdoor cats, on the other hand, typically live only five years at most — even if they belong to someone and have access to food and shelter.
Why is there such a big difference in lifespan between indoor and outdoor cats? In a nutshell, it’s because outdoor life is very dangerous for a cat. Outdoor cats are more likely to catch infectious diseases from other animals, get into fights, get hit by cars, or consume something poisonous. Even feral cats that have never relied on humans have a tough time surviving outside without help. Pet cats that aren’t used to fending for themselves are often completely unprepared for the dangers of the great outdoors.
Does this mean you shouldn’t let your cat go outside? That’s your call to make. Many cat owners notice that their cats seem unhappy or listless if they’re stuck inside the house all day. But if you do decide to let your cat go out, it’s crucial to ensure he has all the vaccinations he needs.
What shots does my cat need to go outside?
Outdoor cats are at high risk for contracting diseases from other animals, and these diseases can be life-threatening. If you are going to let your cat go outside, he needs the following shots.
- The FVRCP vaccine. This shot is actually three vaccines in one. It protects your cat against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia. Your cat should get this vaccine every three years.
- The feline leukemia vaccine. Your cat should get a booster shot every year.
- The rabies vaccine. In many states, your cat is required by law to receive this vaccine, whether he goes outside or not. If you have an indoor cat, he only needs this vaccine once, unless your local law says otherwise. If your cat goes outside, he should receive the rabies vaccine annually.