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Old 10-20-2008, 06:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Keeping cats warm in the winter

It's been awhile since I've posted here, but each time I come back I'm always enthralled with the interesting posts out here!

Anyhooooo... I have bit of a dilemma (sort of). I have 3 "indoor" cats. They never go outside (unless they are trying to escape, at which point they are relegated back into the house). With the rising natural gas costs (we are looking at a 28% increase this winter) and the economy being what it is, we are of course looking for was to conserve our heating costs. If I didnt have 3 cats, I would completely turn the thermostat off when we leave the house, however, I have to keep my furry kids warm enough while indoors, particular our "Miss Kitty"... she's our resident senior citizen and is actually quite feeble. She's small in size and has less fur then the other two. She seems to need more heat as she huddles with the other cats when she's cold.

I guess my question is to ask if anyone knows of recommended thermostat ranges for indoor heating in the winter for cats? I want to turn it down low when we are gone, but I refuse to freeze out my kitties at the expense of saving money either. What is considered a safe indoor temperature in the winter for our cats?

My husband and I are also purchasing thermal curtains and working to winterize our home a bit more this year... I'm sure that never hurts.

Thanks loads,
Jenny & the furry kids
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Keeping cats warm in the winter

My house goes down to 62-63 at night and the kitties definitely come seeking warmth. So I wouldn't go too much below that. You might want to look into heated beds or pads.

On another note, I don't know where you live, but it's never a good idea to completely shut off the heat if you're in really cold climate.
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Keeping cats warm in the winter

There's also the question of safety versus preference. I'd say temperatures around freezing are perfectly safe for healthy, well-fed, adult kitties, but not particularly pleasant for them. (The ferals around my parents' house seem to do fine in Denver winters, but I bet they'd rather it be 68 year-round if they had the choice!)

I think for a healthy kitty, any temperature you're willing to let your house fall to is probably perfectly safe.

For your older kitty, that I'm not sure about. Maybe ask your vet?

If you do start turning the temperature down (I agree that it's probably not a good idea to turn it totally off) I would definitely provided a heated bed for the older kitty (and maybe for all the kitties, so that they don't chase older kitty off to use it themselves.)
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Old 10-20-2008, 06:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Keeping cats warm in the winter

I like the idea of getting them each a heated bed... I think I'll check in to that one. Any ideas where to get the best one?

Thanks a bunch!
Jenny
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:06 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Keeping cats warm in the winter

You don't mention where you live. Does your local climate have freezing winters? If yes, you really shouldn't turn off your thermostat. You might come home to broken pipes and severe damage to your walls, floors, furniture, and personal belongings. Yes, it can be costly to heat your home, but you need to consider the price of major home repairs and replacing your furnishings. Also, you probably have priceless items that could never be replaced.

I know about this from my own experience. Many years ago, I foolishly turned off my heat to save a few dollars. I ended up paying for new pipes, drywall, carpeting, and furniture. I also lost a cherished photograph of my recently-deceased father and his 4 siblings (no, I didn't have the negative).
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Keeping cats warm in the winter

My husband corrected me on that tonight as well... We live in Erie, Pennsylvania where it does get below freezing. Unfortunately, I'm a native of California and moved here with my husband (who is an Erie resident)... he explained that to me tonight. I had no idea, since in California it never is below freezing.. I was born and raised along the coastal areas where winter (in terms of where I live now) is non-existent! He explained that we should not turn it below 60 degrees and prefers to keep it around 62 when we are not home................. I'm just worried that 60 - 62 degrees may not be warm enough for my furry babies. Do you think that is an adequate temperature for indoor cats, providing we supply them with heated beds? I really like that idea. When we are home, we keep it around 68 for us. I don't mind layering on the clothes. Maybe I'll knit the kitties some sweaters!

Thanks loads,
Jenny
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Keeping cats warm in the winter

It gets down into the 50's in San Diego overnight in the winter, sometimes lower. I keep the space heaters set to 62 overnight. The twins sleep entwined with each other in their room, with their own space heater, and the other two sleep on my bed, with my electric blanket - and this year, our own space heater.

The heating system in this little old drafty house is so awful that it tripled my bill!! I won't be using it this winter.
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Old 10-21-2008, 09:55 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Keeping cats warm in the winter

As long as your cats have nice, thick blankets or comforters that they can snuggle into, they'll be just fine at 60-62 degrees. I have 15 cats and live in northern MN where temps can reach -30 or so in the winter. I keep my upstairs temp at 68 and my basement around 50. Even as cool as the basement is, some of the cats prefer to hang out on the couches down there instead of upstairs where it's much warmer. OTOH, some of the cats also prefer to sleep on top of the floor heat ducts. In fact, a couple of the heat ducts have dressers standing over them that create a somewhat enclosed space for the heat to rise into. I call those the "kitty saunas" and in winter can usually find cats snuggled under those dressers enjoying the concentrated heat.

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Old 10-21-2008, 10:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Keeping cats warm in the winter

I'm considering buying one of these for my boy this winter

http://www.petsathome.com/find/category ... t-is-13052

And I know there are many similar products like it in the US - have a look on Amazon.
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:34 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Keeping cats warm in the winter

melyson - I think such mats are a gimmick.
if you want to use that approach, try to find
a pocket or cave with insulating properties
that are nearly fitted to the cats size. even a
cardboard box would insulate better than a mat

imagine you are laying on top of your blanket
on a cold night. that's pretty much the benefit
your cat enjoys, since you both lose the majority
of your heat around and above you, not under.
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