Outdoor cat houses can greatly improve the lives of felines who are used to life in the open air. A great heated cat house can keep barn or outdoor cats safe in frigid conditions. Even absent extreme weather, the right cat house can improve their safety and health, by providing a comfortable place to rest and feel secure.
To provide expert advice in our search for the best outdoor cat house, we consulted Vicky Halls, a project manager at International Cat Care who specializes in cat-friendly homing for the renowned group’s Cat Advocacy Team. Then we tracked down the cat houses that best fulfill the criteria that keeps cats most safe and comfortable, including by providing protection against inclement weather and predators. Sturdiness and habitability for multiple outdoor cats is also a plus.
Halls offered some fantastic advice, some of it counterintuitive. For example, the roomiest cat house is not always the best pick for your cat during winter months. Instead, Halls recommends smaller homes for colder weather, allowing for “less space for the cat’s body heat to warm.”
(You can learn more about how to evaluate an outdoor cat house for yourself in our “What To Look For” section below.)
Our top pick for an outdoor home was the Petsfit Outdoor Cat House, which combines superior safety and weatherproofing, with a play-friendly design. However, we have several other recommendations that may fit you and your cats even better.
Here are the best outdoor cat houses.
Petsfit Outdoor Cat House
Rustic wood aesthetic
Easy to clean
Large or older cats may struggle with 7.8 x 5.5 inch doorways
Available in three quaint and tasteful colors, the Petsfit Outdoor Cat House checks all of the boxes when it comes to the primary specifications vets and cat experts recommend owners look for when picking out a comfortable and safe home for their outdoor kitty. It’s also attractive enough for indoor or outdoor use.
The A-frame design helps keep the interior roomy, without providing too much empty air space—making it easier for cats to keep it warm with just their body heat. The house’s interior dimensions are 18 by 17 inches, with 20 inches of height, providing enough space for one or two cats inside.
The boards of the roof—made from Finnish spruce—are pitched at angles to seal off the interior completely, while rubber insulation and plastic sheeting handily keeps out rain and prevents water damage. Its awning, protected by asphalt, is a perfect shield against heavy snowfall.
The house is designed to hold in heat easily, requiring cats to build up less body heat to feel comfortable. If you have a need for more heating in the house, however, there is an opening for a power cord to power a heating pad or other device.
Another crucial element for the safety of outdoor cats is a secondary “escape” door, so that a cat can’t be cornered in the house by a dog or other predator. The escape door on the Petsfit Outdoor Cat House has a clear plastic panel so that cats can feel fully aware of their surroundings.
The Petsfit cat house can also withstand a lot of wear and tear from excitable cats, thanks to its sturdy wood design. It’s also easy to maintain, since the two floorboards can both be removed for cleaning.
While many people purchase a cat house for the outdoor cat in their own family, it’s also common for people to consider a cat house for feral or abandoned cats living nearby. With its durable wood construction and optimized design, the Petsfit Outdoor Cat House is suitable for most situations, making it a flexible pick that can serve most standard cat house needs.
Price at time of publish: $94
Materials: Finnish spruce wood | Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 21 inches | Properties: Waterproof, insulated, removable boards
Rockever Luxury Two Story Outdoor Cat Shelter with Escape Door Rainproof Outside Kitty House
Spacious, perfect for 3-4 cats
Perfect for feral cats
Rain and snow resistant
Not fully insulated
Entrances are on adjacent sides, rather than an escape door in the back
Though there’s also a very roomy one story model available, The two-floor version (there’s also a single story model) of the Rockever Outdoor Cat Shelter—constructed out of fir wood—is the way to go if you’re looking to put up three or four cats at a time. It provides plenty of room for feral cats to have their own space, play safely, and exit quickly through its two separate entrances. One element that makes this home irresistible is the adorable balcony, perfect for luxurious sunbathing.
It’s also resistant to the elements thanks to a roof with asphalt shingles and acrylic protection on its doors. Though not fully insulated, its walls and flap doors are designed to contain as much heat as possible. In winter months, consider adding straw as an extra insulator.
The Rockever Outdoor Cat Shelter is available in gray, blue, or wine red (each version features white trim).
Price at time of publish: $166
Materials: Fir wood | Dimensions: 20.8 x 24.4 x 36.2 inches | Properties: Insulated, weatherproof roof, removable floors, two floors
Best for Cold Weather
K&H Pet Products Heated A-Frame Cat House
Safe heating option that only turns on when a cat is inside
Weatherproof and insulated
Easy to clean
Easy to assemble
5.5 foot power cord isn’t very long
This compact A-frame cat house is exceptional at retaining heat, even without the faux fleece blanketed bottom and the 20-watt heating pad (there’s also a version suitable for multiple cats, that’s available heated or unheated).
The polyester design of the K&H Pet Products Heated A-Frame Cat House is solidly weather-resistant and provides extra insulation on top of the heating capabilities. Even the doors are designed to retain heat, with clear door flaps on both the front and rear “escape” door. Plus, it’s tough enough for use with feral cats, in barns, or other adverse conditions. The only downside is its relatively short power cable, which only extends five and a half feet.
The faux fleece cover on the heating pad in the K&H A-Frame Cat House can be machine washed on a cold cycle, then air dried. This cat house is also frequently available for deeply discounted prices.
Price at time of publish: $56
Materials: Polyester | Dimensions: 18 x 14 x 14 inches | Properties: Heated, insulated, weatherproof, removable roof
Best for Warm Weather
PawHut 2-Level Elevated Waterproof Outdoor Wooden Treehouse Cat Shelter with Balcony
Raised platform design
Roof balcony with stairs
Only one entrance and exit
Pawhut’s signature cat shelter is one of the more playful designs on the market aesthetically, with a raised bottom and a roof deck designed to look like a treehouse. The raised platform design isn’t just meant to be cute, though: it keeps moisture from building up under the structure after rainfall. Though it’s made of fir wood, the Treehouse Shelter’s roof is also covered in a strong water-resistant finish, offering superior protection against downpour. The shelter’s eye-catching structure also includes an indoor lounge with sturdy gate, easy-to-climb stairs, and a balcony with railing.
While the Pawhut is perfect for cats who want to lounge around on an elevated platform and occasionally get into the shade, because there’s only one entrance it’s not a great pick for barns, woodland areas, or other places where a cat is likely to encounter threats.
Price at time of publish: $105
Materials: Fir wood | Dimensions: 28.75 x 20.5 x 25.75 inches | Properties: Raised platform, roof deck, water-resistant
The Kitty Tube Outdoor Insulated Cat House Gen 4
Insulated, raised floor
Promotes ventilation and insulation appropriate for any weather
100% recycled materials
Easy to clean
No escape door
The Kitty Tube offers comprehensive insulation, rain protection, and temperature control. Because it is made from recycled materials, it is also the most environmentally friendly cat house on the market, while the smooth design makes it exceptionally easy to clean—a hose will usually do the trick!
The Kitty Tube is less of an attractive cat house and more of a utilitarian shelter for feral cats. It’s extremely well-suited for cold weather, and even the handholds used to move the Kitty Tube can be closed in winter (or left open for summertime ventilation). It even comes with straw insulation for the interior.
The main downside is that the Kitty Tube lacks a second exit. Instead, it relies on a narrow entrance with a substantial overhang to prevent access by predators.
Price at time of publish: $170
Materials: 100% post-consumer HDPE plastic, primarily from milk and detergent bottles | Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 23 inches | Properties: insulated, weatherproof, recycled materials design
Best for Kittens
Rockever Wooden Cat House Outside
Lift-off roof makes it easy to clean
Raised design with adjustable legs
Adorable cabin design
Cats likely to outgrow it
No escape door
With its boxy and cabin-like design, this humble, pleasant, and highly compact home is perfect for kittens who need a place to rest. It protects against rainfall and water damage thanks to an elevated design and a slanted roof. Plus, its legs are adjustable for uneven ground. The removable roof and floor makes it easy to keep sanitary.
Available in five colors, Rocker’s cat shelters don’t boast the state-of-the-art insulation and waterproofing features of other homes on this list. It also doesn’t have an escape door. Rather than a shelter for outdoor cats, it’s better suited as a respite for exploring kittens.
Price at time of publish: $68
Materials: Wood | Dimensions: 23 x 17 x 5 inches | Properties: raised platform design, weatherproof
Our favorite outdoor cat house is the Petsfit Cat House, with its weather-resistant, sturdy and attractive triangular design. If you’re looking to house multiple cats, check out the Rockever Luxury Two Story Outdoor Cat Shelter with Escape Door Rainproof Outside Kitty House instead. For consumers looking for extra protection against predators and the elements, the hyper-fortified Kitty Tube may be worth the steeper price tag.
What to Look For
The first factor to consider when contemplating purchasing an outdoor house for cats is the amount of space needed. Do you own more than one outdoor cat, or is there a tendency for multiple feral cats to congregate nearby?
However, if you’re looking for a cat house for a single cat, search for one with narrower interior dimensions, so that your cat can feel more cozy and more easily heat it with their body. Doors and other entrances should be between 6 and 8 inches—any wider and dogs or other animals would be able to get inside.
Cat shelter experts generally recommend that your outdoor cat house have more than one door—usually a front and a back door—to offer an escape if the home is attacked by predators, including other cats. Depending on your location, it can also provide important protection against dogs, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and snakes. The door size and type is also important, since smaller sizes and types of door can rule out entrance by different types of potential invaders.
Weatherproofing and Temperature Control
One of the important specs that outdoor cat homes prominently specify is their mechanisms for insulation and temperature control. In warmer climates, affordable wooden homes with some reliable rain protection can be excellent options. Homes designed to protect cats around colder climates, on the other hand, often feature a dense insulation system and even heating pads.
However, Vicky Halls, project manager at International Cat Carewarns, potential consumers against relying on or overusing heating mechanisms, recommending using “straw as an insulator” instead. Halls notes that straw is “less likely to develop mold or rot and won’t hold moisture like blankets and towels.”
Using a powered heat source in a cat house has the potential for overheating and may restrict your cat’s ability to control their own temperature comfortably. Our favorite heated models from K&H Pet Products use heating pads that only activate when a cat’s weight is on top of it, then only heat up to a cat’s standard body temperature, providing heat support instead of over-heating.
Why invested in an outdoor cat house?
Halls explains that while outdoor cat houses may be suitable for your family cat who spends large chunks of the day outside, they’re most useful for supporting street cats or strays.
“For pet owners with cats that have access outdoors, they [may] want to give their cats shelter from a variety of weather conditions,” Halls explains. “But I would say that most shelters are created for cats that live exclusively outdoors, many of which are not owned as pets but are free-roaming. Often these are individual cats that a cat lover becomes aware of on or nearby their land and twant to make their lives seem a little less harsh.”
What is the best way to heat an outdoor cat house?
To echo Halls’ insights about temperature control above, cat owners’ best option—except in extreme situations—is to find a natural way to keep their cats’ haven warm without introducing artificial heat. You can support a cat’s natural body heat by providing enough space for multiple cats to share heat, or by adding straw insulation.
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
This article was written by Winston Cook-Wilson, a freelance writer and reporter for The Spruce Pets. After research into the proper criteria to best keep cats comfortable outdoors, Cook-Wilson combed through the most popular and bestselling cat house brands to find the models that best fit expert advice. He consulted with Vicky Halls of International Cat Care—an expert in cat-friendly homing—to learn the best methods for housing outdoor cats.