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Outdoor barn cats and low temperatures?

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I have 4 barn cats that are 8 months old and I'm trying to decide what is safe temp. for them to be outside and what would be too cold. It's currently 30 outside (realfeel 30 degrees) and the high today was around 50 degrees. (Though there was frost covering the ground.)


I took two storage bins and cut entryways into them, then layered a pillowcase over a fluffy thick pet mat, on top of a blanket, then wrapped a large tarp over the tops and let it hang over a little to help block the wind. They are inside a barn and have the option of going in the bins or staying in one of the enclosed barn rooms. I also bring them in for awhile throughout the day and let them warm up, then put them outside at night. So far they seem to be faring okay, eating good and playful. A couple can be moody and one doesn't like staying in a crate/cage or inside for long time before trying to climb the walls or wake everyone in the house yowling while the cage walks across the floor. They are bigger sized kittens. One is fixed and the other 3 will be getting fixed soon, which I hope calms them all down some.


Any ideas on safe temps or how to keep the furbabies safe as this winter gets closer? Thanks!

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I think outdoor animals are pretty hardy. Our dogs just get thicker coats. As do our indoor cats! (Indoor-outdoor) if they are sick or old, that might be a different story. 

 I think what you are doing is wonderful. We had one long aired cat that slept in the snow. 

If they have food, shelter, and unfrozen water, I think they will do fine. In fact, bringing them in to warm up may not be a favor. It’s a radical change when outdoors, they go. 

I’d observe, go out and give them the proper pets and hugs, and leave them there! Your kitties are so much better off then so many strays. They should feel happy and content with the care you are giving them.

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We do not live in the harsh cold of the north - so our cats stay outside all the time .... that means they do not get A?C when the heat is blisteringly stifling.


Cats are very resilient. Keep them with some shelter, food and thawed drinking water and they should be fine. If you are going to bring them in, keep them in. If you are going to have them in the barn, let them stay in the barn - repeated moving them from a warm house to a cold barn is harder on them then staying in the cold.

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5 hours ago, Tortuga said:

They sound like domestic shorthairs (mutt). Several sites I looked at said young healthy cats do well in cold weather but should have shelter if the temperature is below freezing.

It sounds like you are doing the right thing.



Thanks Richard for this cat picture....I really like that shot...it brings up some evocative memories 

of a couple of cats I had in my life....for some reason, I want to ask him..."are you alright...what's going on."

I'd just like to pet him....can you tell I gravitate towards felines.:)

  Edited by nanceebgd46

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Thank you for all of the kind comments and ideas I truly appreciate all of them ^_^


I have been considering the fact of bringing them inside and outside, vs temp. change. I don't want to endanger them.. I love spending time with them and going outside with temps under 60 could make me extremely sick if I stay out for long periods of time. I may consider not bringing them in towards nighttime anymore when i usually feed them wet food. I will see how the weather plays out. Also leaving just one outside (chat refuses to stay in without waking everyone up and going panicky) is dangerous here as we have coyotes, raccoons, etc. ... I'm trying to balance the act of caring for families health, my health and the cat's health - it's proving to be a challenge at times but hopefully Jehovah will help me to make the right decisions. ^_^ 

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JWTalk 19.10.11 by Robert Angle (changelog)