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Heat source for the winter

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
In the interest of keeping my electrical bill to reasonable rate, I'd like to buy heating items for my kitties. The three I've seen discussed are the 1) a pad/spot that is microwaved, 2) thermal pads and 3) hot water bottle.

I think the thermal pads are ideal and are actually cheaper than option #1. I'm worried though that they may not provide enough heat for my cats. This is my first winter with my kitties. I adopted them in March and they had severe URIs. Every little chill, ensuing sniffle and I'm full of dread...

And I've never used a hot water bottle, will it stay warm for 10-12 hours?
post #2 of 16
Here's a dumb question: how cold are you going to keep your home? I have an unheated sun room and in the winter, the cats spend most of their days out there, even though it gets down to about 45 degrees there. The cold doesn't bother them.
post #3 of 16
i wouldnt of thought inside the house will be to cold as you yourself wont want to be cold, but if its to cold for them they would probably surl up together or they would find a warm sspot where we wouldnt even think of, thats what ive found anyways
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Typical winter, I turn off the heat during the day when I'm at work, turn it on for the evening (mid 60's) and then turn it off at night, no matter how cold. I find I sleep better without the drying heat. I just jump out of bed and sprint to the thermostat in the morning. Winter around here is usually in the 40's and in the 30's for the evening. With a cold storm, we can dip below into the 20's.

I'm estimating that I will leave the heat on during the day in low 60's. If possible, I can go a little lower with heat pads, then all the better. I'd love to leave the heat off at night when I'm sleeping but am worried that it will be too cold for my cats.

So I guess I'm looking for something to help the cats tolerate the 60's. If no heat, then the 30-40's.

And yes, cat tree is in the living room where there's plenty of sunshine, weather permitting.
post #5 of 16
What about heated cat beds or heated huts? They don't run up your electric bill at all. Most of them are self-adjusting so they keep a constant temperature instead of up/down/up/down.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'd prefer to not use things with electrical cords. I know they are safe, but as much as possible, I want to avoid anything plugged in.
post #7 of 16
We have 1 heated bed, 3 of the heat reflecting pads, 2 of these pads, and 1 of these Snuggle Safe disks. I have them mostly for my senior who has arthritis, but the other 2 cats appreciate them too. We keep the house in the mid-60's during the day and 68-70* when we're home in the cold months. It gets well below zero outside in the depths of winter here.

The Snuggle Safe and the reflective pads sound like they will be what you are looking for. The other 2 microwavable pads (Petstages) we have don't hold their heat long, but the cats do like them. They have a small buckwheat packet in them. If you look on Amazon you can get a good deal on the Snuggle Safe.
post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
So a combination of heat sources then? If I use the these items, would it be okay to leave my apartment at 60F during the day? And I'd love to be able to leave the heat off at night, so I'm hoping the cats will take to snuggling under blankets.
post #9 of 16
I'm trying to remember to completely reheating a home like that every single day would actually be less efficient than just programming the thermostat to reduce the heat during certain times of day - I know it's like that with AC. I'll ask my FIL later, that's his job specialty, and comment back here.

If you leave it in the low 60s your cats will be fine. They'll snuggle up on you or each other if they get chilled.
Those that have indoor/ outdoor or even outdoor cats in weather in the 60s will tell you that their cats are usually very active and tend to be more frisky - or at least this is the pattern I've noticed.
post #10 of 16
Right now it is 60 in my house. We heat with wood and have not put in a fire yet. I only have cushy cat beds for my cats. IMO they do not need heated beds inside the home. It's nice maybe for old arthritic animals. But they do just fine. They curl up with eachother for warmth. If it was 60 outside, you can believe they would be outside all day. I am sure they will be fine.
post #11 of 16
Bad URIs are generally caused by stress, not actual cold - many cats get a sniffle but that horrible to deal with URI is always worse in the stressed cats. It is rare for cats in a home to get them, it is usually all the change from being plucked off the streets, brought to a shelter, then a vet then maybe back to the shelter and then a new home.

URI is also something that is in the common vaccines, so as long as you had them vaccinated when you got them they should be fairly immune to the bad kinds - it is more a problem in shelters where the cats are brought in newly vaccinated or unvaccinated as the vaccine takes a while to build up the immunity.

Also, remember that they have a fur coat on compared to you and can snuggle up to each other for warmth. We usually have the baseboard heaters on at 16c and the cats will sit in a cold window instead or by them. We have fleecey beds around if they want them but only Autumn sleeps in them regularly.

We use snugglesafe at the shelter for orphaned kittens and they hold their heat well, and easily 12 hours, they are quite pricey though.
post #12 of 16
I asked, and my FIL did verify that I was correct. Completely reheating a home a couple times a day won't help you save much. I hadn't even thought about what that could do to a home - here turning off the heat in the coldest winter months would result in busted pipes. Just something to consider and not risk.

As icklemiss pointed out, colder temps won't make your cats sick. But if they, or you, were to get sick it could make it more difficult to get better - probably more of a problem for you than the cats.

Frankly, I don't understand how all of you can handle your houses so cold! I'm cold if it goes below 72F - likely due to my low body temp, I can't keep warm very well and will drop down to 95F in no time.
Currently it's around 70F in the house and my cats are starting to force their way under the covers and snuggle up to DH who they usually don't snuggle because he moves too much.
post #13 of 16
I don't love it being cold in here, but it is out necessity. Old farmhouse, uninsulated adds up to 400.00 per month in gas bills. It is not cold in the dead of winter because the woodstove is on almost all the time. It is just in this transition from warm to cool to cold that it gets a bit chilly!
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
Frankly, I don't understand how all of you can handle your houses so cold! I'm cold if it goes below 72F - likely due to my low body temp, I can't keep warm very well and will drop down to 95F in no time.
I grew up in L.A., trust me, now that I'm on the East Coast, when I'm actually home, I turn the heat up into the 70's. Having grown up a certain way, I still insist on wearing shorts and t-shirt indoors so yeah, I crank up the heat when I'm home. But like I said this is my first winter with cats and when alone, I'd turn off the heat whenever I wasn't home or asleep. Now that I do have cats and have to leave the heat on during the day (possibly night), I'm looking into ways to shave a few degrees off the thermostat. I anticipate my bill to be higher this winter, I just don't want it to double or triple...
post #15 of 16
Don't forget that you can also use old towels and blankets/comforters to provide heat for them. I buy the scrap fleece pieces from the store and cut those up into kitty sized pieces and put them in their beds as well. I have an older kitty who's got arthritis, so I use a kitty heating pad for her during the nights when it's really cold, but I unplug it during the day. When it's on, it's covered by a towel, eventho it's one of those that will regulate the temp itself. I think it's still too warm for her at times.
post #16 of 16
Originally Posted by tdonline View Post
I'm looking into ways to shave a few degrees off the thermostat. I anticipate my bill to be higher this winter, I just don't want it to double or triple...
You haven't said whether you're in a home or apartment?
Obviously the best way to save money is to make sure everything is insulated well - but that's only something you can do if you have your own home. Something you might try doing is checking all of your windows. If you don't have storm windows on them, or if the storm windows are old, you may very well have quite a bit of air coming through. If this is the case you can get plastic sheeting to cover most of your windows with.
We'd always cover the windows this time of year in my childhood home. I remember having to help everyone, too. I was so little I could barely squeeze the stapler. It made a big difference on the temperature inside, though.

You may want to look up and see if there are some other tips to help save costs, while making it still comfortable for you and your kitties inside.

One of the most important things you, and everyone else, can do is get your furnaces checked out before the weather turns cold and you need them! It's better to schedule someone to come clean it out and check it on a week day than to have to call them up on a weekend...
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