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How to Keep Cats Warm in Winter (7 Proven Methods)

If you own a cat, you’ve likely noticed that despite all of the fur most of them have, they easily get cold. You can often find them hiding under a blanket, sitting by a heater, or snuggling up with you to stay warm. If you would like to make your cat more comfortable without creating high heating bills, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve racked our brains, asked all of our cat-owning friends, and conducted our own research for as many creative ways to keep your cat warm as we could find, and we are going to list them for you here.


7 Methods to Keep Your Cat Warm

1. Cuddling

man cuddling cat
Image Credit: Hans Braxmeier, Pixabay

The first method is our favorite, and it’s also the most challenging. Snuggling with our cats is something most of us only dream of as most are aloof and prefer to love you from a distance. However, the cold winter months are the perfect time to change your pet’s mind. We recommend getting a soft plush fabric or faux fur blanket that you can drape over your legs or place next to you to convince your cat to get a little closer. It can take your cat a few days to catch on, but if you don’t push too hard or make a big fuss, there is a good chance your cat will be making use of the blanket in a few days.

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2. Cardboard Box

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to help your cat stay warm is to use an ordinary cardboard box. You can add a blanket to a cardboard box and put some catnip inside to convince your cat to give it a try. Cardboard boxes do a great job of retaining heat and will quickly become one of your cat’s favorite places. You can even get creative and connect several boxes together to create a palace or tower that your cat can use to play in while it’s keeping warm. Something similar that you can purchase made of wood can cost hundreds of dollars. Cardboard boxes are also biodegradable and will not harm the environment.

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3. Cat Caves

cat coming out of cat cave

Cat caves are essentially a covered cat bed, and like a cardboard box, they can be very effective at holding in your cat’s natural body heat to create a warm space that’s more comfortable. Cat caves also usually provide built-in cushioning that stays in place better than a towel, and they are more attractive than a cardboard box. The downside is they are considerably more expensive, and they are not always easy to clean.

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4. Thermal Beds

A thermal bed looks like an ordinary cat bed, but it uses special materials that capture and reflect your cat’s natural body heat more effectively than an ordinary bed. If your cat spends a lot of time in the same spot, thermal beds can be an effective way to make it more comfortable over the winter.

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5. Heating Pad

Cat on a heating pad

Heating pads are likely the most effective way to warm up your cat without increasing the heat in your home, but they are also the most dangerous and require the most consideration and supervision. Many of our cats have a specific spot they like to stay, often a chair or at the bottom of a bed. We can carefully place a heating pad here, and the cat hardly notices it, so there is no break-in time like there is for the other methods. The pad can also deliver more heat than the cat can create naturally, but you should never use it on anything but the lowest setting and never for longer than 3–5 minutes every hour. The downside to the thermal pad is that you run the risk of overheating the cat, and there are always small risks of shocks and fire when dealing with electricity.

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6. Microwavable Bed Warmer

One of our favorite ways to keep cats warm is using a microwavable bed warmer during the winter. These devices can deliver more heat than a cat can create, like the heating pad, but without the dangers that come with it. You will feel the pad as you put it in place, so there is no risk of it getting too hot, and there is no electricity to cause a shock or cause a fire. It also cools naturally, so there is no need to worry about turning it off. The downside to bed warmers is that either the warmth of the pad or the smell causes some of our cats to chew on. If we don’t watch them, they can pull it apart in a few minutes. It’s also challenging to have the bed warmer ready when your cat is ready to use the bed.

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7. Clothing

Another way to keep your cat warm during the colder months is to put clothes on it. Many people scoff at the idea of dressing up a cat, and many cats hate it. However, the cat will get used to it, and clothing can help prevent the cat’s body heat from escaping better than any of the options mentioned above. Clothes will also keep your pet warm throughout the day and night, no matter where it goes. All of the other methods require the cat to sleep in a designated area.

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As you can see, it’s possible to keep your cat comfortable without turning the heat up in your home. The cardboard box, thermal beds, and cat caves can even help keep cats warm outdoors as long as they stay dry. You can find a cardboard box behind any grocery store, and you probably already have one that will work perfectly in your home. The cat caves and thermal beds will be a little more expensive but will also be more attractive. Microwavable bed warmers can be effective if your cat doesn’t chew them, and heating pads will get you through the coldest days, but their use should be extremely limited in both frequency and duration. If you have a hairless cat or its environment frequently drops below 60 degrees, we highly recommend considering some pet clothing to help keep it warm when it’s awake as well as when it sleeps.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this list and found a few ideas you want to try out. If we have helped you make your pet more comfortable, please share this guide to keeping cats warm in winter on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image Credit: Angela Kotsell, Shutterstock