Where To Place Outdoor Cat House

Outdoor cats, sometimes referred to as feral or community cats, often lack access to proper shelter and can be exposed to harsh weather elements. Providing an outdoor cat house is a humane way to give these free-roaming cats a dry, warm place to rest and sleep.

Outdoor cat houses, also known as feral cat shelters, are structures that provide outdoor cats with protection from the cold, wind, rain, and snow. They are designed specifically for community cats who live outdoors.

Proper placement and set-up of an outdoor cat house is important to make sure it gets used and provides adequate protection. This article will cover tips on where to place an outdoor cat house and what to consider when setting it up.

Shelter from Elements

Outdoor cats need protection from the elements like extreme heat, cold, rain, and snow. According to How To Place And Outdoor Cat Shelter, the cat house should be placed in a partially covered area, if possible, to shield it from wind, rain, and snow. Having some covering over the cat house will help regulate the temperature inside and keep it warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

The cat house entrance should not face the direction of prevailing winds or rain. Face the opening toward a wall, bush, trees or another structure to block wind and precipitation. Placing the shelter in a covered spot under an overhang, porch, or deck can help protect it from the elements.

In climates with very cold winters, additional insulation or heating may be necessary to protect cats from freezing temperatures. An insulated shelter with thick walls and door flaps can better retain heat. You can add straw inside for additional insulation. Use caution with outdoor heating devices.


Providing shade is one of the most important considerations when choosing a location for an outdoor cat shelter. Cats can easily get sunburned, especially on their ears and nose, so having ample shade available allows them to limit sun exposure (Source). Ideal shade sources include trees, shrubs, outdoor structures like pergolas, or shade cloths. The shelter itself should be placed in a shaded area or designed with a shade roof. Cats typically prefer loafing in shaded spots during the hottest parts of the day. Ensuring your outdoor cat has cool, shaded places to relax will help keep them healthy and comfortable.

Elevated Location

It’s important to build the outdoor cat house in an elevated location to avoid standing water and improve your cat’s sightlines. Standing water can lead to mold and mildew growth, which creates an unhealthy environment for cats. Building the house on an elevated foundation or stilts raises it above wet grass and puddles (Source).

An elevated cat house also gives your cat the high ground to survey their territory. Cats feel more secure when they can observe their surroundings from above. Elevating the house on a platform, deck, or hill provides better vantage points. Make sure to include multiple windows so your cat can look out (Source).

Consider building a ramp or stairs up to an elevated cat house. This allows easy access for your cat to enter and exit. The elevation doesn’t have to be high – even just 12-18 inches off the ground makes a difference.


Easy access is crucial when placing an outdoor cat house. The opening should allow cats to freely enter and exit the shelter. The entrance should be large enough for cats to pass through without squeezing, but not so big as to allow the elements or intruders inside.

According to the product description on Amazon, the Rockever outdoor cat house features an escape door design for easy accessibility so cats can come and go as needed (source). The opening is covered by a removable acrylic window to provide ventilation while still protecting from the elements.

Optimal accessibility means positioning the entrance away from the prevailing winds and rains. Face the opening toward a sheltered spot like under an eve or deck. Make sure the entryway is free from obstruction and allows cats to come and go freely.


When choosing where to place an outdoor cat house, it’s important to find a location that offers seclusion. Cats are territorial creatures and prefer to have their own space away from potential threats. An ideal outdoor cat house location will be tucked away in a quiet corner of the yard, sheltered by bushes, trees, or fencing. This allows the cat to feel secure and free from interference by dogs, wildlife, or other cats (Source).

Outdoor and feral cats tend to seek out secluded spots like wood piles, under porches or elevated structures to sleep and take shelter. Providing a cat house in a similar separated area creates a safe space a cat will be inclined to use. The shelter should be partially enclosed and obscured from view to satisfy a cat’s natural desire for privacy (Source). Positioning the outdoor cat house in a discreet area away from potential dangers will encourage use by cats who want to feel hidden and avoid confrontations.

Away from Hazards

When choosing a location for an outdoor cat house, it’s important to place it away from potential hazards that could harm your cat (source). Key hazards to avoid include:

Roads – Roads pose a major threat to outdoor cats. Cats can easily be hit by passing cars, so make sure to place the house far away from any busy streets. Fence off access to roads if possible.

Bodies of water – Cats are often poor swimmers and can drown in pools, ponds or other bodies of water. Position the house away from any pools or ponds in your yard.

Poisonous plants – Some common plants like lilies are toxic to cats if ingested. Avoid areas with poisonous vegetation that may harm your cat if they eat it.

In general, do a safety check around any potential cat house location to identify and remove dangers. This will help create a secure outdoor haven for your cat.


Proper bedding is essential for keeping outdoor cats warm and comfortable in their shelter. The best bedding material for outdoor cat houses is straw, not hay. Straw provides better insulation from the cold ground and retains heat better than hay.

Straw is hollow which traps air and provides a soft, cushiony bed that cats can nestle into (https://www.alleycat.org/community-cat-care/straw-not-hay-for-outdoor-cat-shelters/). The hollow fibers also allow moisture to evaporate up and out of the shelter. Hay is more coarse and flat which doesn’t insulate as well from the cold ground.

It’s recommended to use organic straw bedding, as this reduces dust that can cause respiratory irritation (https://www.amazon.com/straw-bedding-cats/s?k=straw+bedding+for+cats). Straw bedding should be changed out regularly, at least every 2-4 weeks, to avoid odor buildup. Providing fresh, clean and dry straw helps keep outdoor cat shelters warm and cozy during cold winter months.


Regular maintenance and cleaning is important for any outdoor cat shelter. The shelter should be cleaned out weekly to remove waste and dirty bedding. All wet or soiled straw or bedding material should be replaced with fresh, dry bedding to help control odors and pests (source).

Pest control is also an important consideration for outdoor cat shelters. Fleas, ticks and other pests can infest bedding materials and pose health risks. Be sure to check for signs of pests each time you clean the shelter. Replace all bedding if infestations are found. You may also consider applying flea/tick powder or sprays made for outdoor use in between changing out bedding (source).

With regular maintenance and cleaning, an outdoor cat shelter can remain a warm, cozy and pest-free refuge for community cats.


In summary, there are several key factors to consider when placing an outdoor cat shelter:

Provide shelter from the elements by situating it in a shaded or partially shaded area to protect from sun, rain, wind, and other weather conditions. Elevate the shelter and face the opening away from prevailing winds.

Make sure the shelter is easily accessible to cats, but located away from high traffic areas or potential hazards. Allow for multiple entry and exit points. Place bedding inside for warmth and comfort.

Situate the shelter in a secluded location to make cats feel secure, but not completely isolated. Cats like having an escape route and being able to monitor their surroundings.

Regularly maintain and clean the shelter. Check for damage after storms. Replace bedding frequently.

By keeping these considerations in mind, you can provide an outdoor cat shelter that meets feline needs for security, warmth, and accessibility.

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