Living in Buffalo, we get some nasty, cold winters. I have three pet barn cats, plus a feral one who shows up for canned food. I'd like to get them some sort of heated bed that I can keep in the barn--probably the tack room, which has a cement floor. I think that putting it directly on the cold cement floor would suck up a lot of energy, but I don't want to put it on something if there's a fire risk. Most of the heated things I've seen are just mats, so I'd want something soft and cuddly for them. Would putting a cheap soft cat bed on top of the heated thing work, or would the warmth not come up through the bed?
I have a heated bed for my barn cat Molly! It is basically a hard heated mat with a fleece cover. It is kind of hard so I put it on top of a regular large cat bed and put a folded knitted afghan on top of it and put all of that on a chair in the tack room. She practically lives on the thing when the temperatures get down in the 50's. There is no risk of fire with this thing unless it gets cut somehow. Mine is even waterproof! That thing is SO warm..........it was worth the $69 price tag
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They make heat pads for use in dog and cat beds. Check the Foster-Smith catalog. I put one in our tackroom on a timer so it turns on at night for barn kitty. It's in the cat bed. I have another right here, so I google the manufacturer for you and voila!
I use one of the hard heated pads with a fleece cover (PetSmart) that was mentioned above. I put this in a Dogloo doghouse and put an insulated door over the opening. The heat generated by the cats and the heated pad keep the doghouse nice and warm in most temperatures. I have a folded blanket for the bottom of the house with only one layer between the cats and the heating pad. If they want softer, they can move to the side. They tend to like to be right on the mat. I do like keeping the generated heat localized so they have a warmer space.
They have those disks that you heat up in the microwave and they are supposed to stay warm for hours. In the pet catalogs -- I think called Snuggle Safe? I'm not sure how well they work -- perhaps someone else will chime in -- but they look to be safe and easy to use. Long as you are there to heat it up every evening!
As mentioned above, they will generate quite a bit of heat on their own if they have a small space to hide in. I use a carrier wrapped in blankets and stuffed with fleece blankets. On really cold nights, I add in a big microwaveable heating pad- just one of those things filled with corn. Works great and it stays toasty well into the day.
Kitties in barn like the hay, if nice "caves" are left (sometimes, they make their own). A good supply of non frozen water is even more important. They will bundle together and stay warm, amazing the amount that even one little cat can generate in a well insulated space. If your horses are warm enough, your kitties will be too.
Just remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels.
I use a radiator style oil filled electric heater to heat the tack room in winter. I roll it over next to the big elevated cat bed pad at night and my two cats sleep right by it. A big south facing window heats the tack room during the day and just needs boosting over night or on snow days.
I know someone who took an old Omaha Steaks styrofoam delivery container, taped the lid on and cut a cat-sized hole in it. Put a small piece of polarfleece inside and the cats would fight over who got to go in!
I'm with the others who wouldn't risk a heated bed.
You would be surprised how warm a big enough but not too big cardboard box can get, when:
- surrounded on all sides by something to minimize heat loss
- has an electrostatic bed inside, or even an old saddle pad or good piece of polarfleece or something similar. You can find cheap blankets at Goodwill.
The styrofoam "house" sounds awesome!
______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET
I was talking to someone yesterday who said their old barn manager used to plug in the heated cat bed while she was in the barn doing chores and get the old lady cat settled and bedded down for the day/night, then turn it off when she left the barn. Kept ancient barn kitty happy and didn't use as much electricity.
What about one of those "hot seat" things for ice fishermen/hunters/Packer fans that get warm just from the heat of your bum when you sit on them? Saw them at Farm & Fleet the other day and thought they looked like great cat beds.
We're trying to figure out an option for an ancient labrador who can't get up on the couch any more so spends her days on her dog bed on the hardwood floor, which gets pretty chilly in our house. We figured if we got a heated dog bed for her, it would end up full of cats, and the dog would be the one on the bare floor!
we've been very happy with the plug in heated hard mats from Petsmart or similar for our outdoor kennelled dogs. We fold an easy to wash fleece blanket over the hard mat and the dogs love to be in their crates, which have insulated covers fashioned from recycled horse blankets for the winter. However, I do not like to use an electric heater of any sort in a barn- I think there are lots of great ideas on this thread in the non electric category!
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We've had barn cats for years and inhierted some when we bought our farm 6+ yaer ago. the love the mow and stacked hay. Plus we have old horse blankets, turned inside out so the fleecy side is showing in a draft free- as draft free as you can get in a 100+ year old barn, behind a few old hay bales.
If it's really nasty out, the barn cats know they can come up to our cellar, which is where our furnace is and they have an outside entrance. They do however have a heated water dish in the main part of the barn. Spoiled, yup. but they keep the rodent population at bay.