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Microwavable heat disks?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I hope those of you in either rural settings or urban settings who have outdoor cats in cold climates can help me. I live in a small rural town and last winter fed a lovable stray. Enjoyed her so much that I decided to adopt her even though it turned out she was pregnant.

I have an indoor cat, but was able to close off the back two rooms in my house to keep the very pregnant new one inside out of the cold. My hope was to let her have her litter, socialize the kittens and give them away. Unfortunately the day she decided to have them, she streaked out when I opened the outside door. She had five kittens under the back porch of an old uninhabited house a block away. Finally at 7-1/2 weeks, she brought them up and of course they were wild as March hares. A few weeks later, Mama got spayed. Then in August they were five months old and I had the little four females spayed and the male neutered. And I cannot bear to part with a one of them.

Now it is fall going into winter in Kansas and starting to get cold. I built them a hay bale fort outside my back door, with an old piece of decking as a floor, covering the bales with cloth so they wouldn't get so dirty, laying old shelving across the bottom bales, then setting more bales on the shelving, and covering all with a very heavy tarp, leaving an opening. The space is very clean and I have a water supply inside. They do use this fort, thank goodness. It is definitely wind protection and does provide an improvement on the temperature, but I want to also try to provide a heat source for when Kansas temps go down to near zero.

As you can imagine, a heat lamp is not safe (a resident some blocks away placed a heat lamp near straw and had a fire last year). Does anyone have experience with those microwavable discs made by Snuggle Safe? I've seen them advertised in a Revival Animal Health catalog. They are supposed to stay warm for 12 hours--but is that indoors or outdoors? Do they really work? Any other ideas?

You might wonder why I don't let them in the house. #1, I live with my 88 year-old mother and she already deals with one cat underfoot. #2, after 6 months of trying, our older indoor cat still gets furious and enraged with the outdoor Mama, let alone five others! I have tried all the "introducing a new cat" hints that websites and books offer. The indoor cat was so enraged that she bit me severely one time, so sharing the house is not an option on all counts.

Also, two of the kitties really panic when inside the back of the house in those two cordoned-off rooms. Although I feel they are safe outside with Mama (who is smart, brave and a wonderful mother), I am uncomfortable leaving just two young ones out by themselves. We do not have a fence, nor can we afford to build one. There are skunks and possums--yup, this is farmland territory, "city" population about 300!

This is a long post from a brand new member, and am so hoping this forum can be of help to me. (I am retired and my very first cat, our indoor cat, was also a starving abandoned adopted stray who turned out to be declawed and neutered. So I have little experience with cats.) Thank you so much for any replies to this new thread! alliecallie
post #2 of 8
Hi and welcome to TCS. I have one of the discs purchased over the internet from America. They are absolutely great! They stay warm (without dropping temperature) for around 8 hours and then slowly up until around 12 hours. They work best when they are a little bit insulated top and bottom so that the bedding is over and a towel folded in half under it too. You'll find it also provides some ambient heat in the fort.
post #3 of 8
Something else that has been used successfully are the rubbermaid container homes. You purchase a really big rubbermaid comtainer with a lid and also purchase the very next size down so it sits just inside the bigger one. Then you need to cut a hole in both so they line up and not too near the ground. Then you can pack insulation between the two containers eg. hay, shredded paper, or even that stuff that you spray from a can and it expands. I think it's for cracks in walls. Put the lid on the smaller one, more insulation on top and put the lid on the larger one. They usually have handles that lock the lids on. set this house slightly off the ground. A disc would go nicely in one of these.
post #4 of 8
I have & use several of the Snuggle Safe discs and they work. I put them in condos so he can go in there if he's chilly, or even if he's not and just wants to take a nap. I like them a lot. I've never used them outside, but you're supposed to wrap them in something anyway, so maybe it would help if you added a thermal t-shirt or "long underwear." If they don't last long outside, it'd make it easier for you to get more than one for each place you want to put them, so you can microwave one and take it out to replace the other. If you put it in snuggly beds, or a place they can get inside, it might help too.

I don't know how much they are in your catalog, but you can also get them here: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...tid=3487&Ne=40
post #5 of 8
rice bags work great as well and stay warm for a long while if they are insulated
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much and I will look into rice bags!

Leann (I'm such a novice that when I wanted to edit, I inadvertently sent a second post on the same subject and now don't know how to delete it, so did write the webmaster!)
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hay is a wonderful insulator, so it was so good to hear that the microwave disks do work. They might start to lose their heat a little sooner. I had already purchased a thrift shop comfortor and my plan was to make at least 4 pockets in it to hold the disks. The floor has a rug plus towels and some lambskin on it, so I do think I will go with the disks. Thanks again.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much! Between you and several other people who say the disks work, I will go ahead and order them. I replied to another person that straw is such a good insulator that I think these disks, placed in pockets in an old comforter, will stay warm pretty long. The space they are in is long and fairly narrow--so if the four disks are way at the back, I think it will work. A sidenote: my mother justs shakes her head: she grew up on a farm where cats were definitely barncats and totally unpampered. I replied, "Mom, this is their barn!"

Again, thanks! I just didn't want to invest 60-70 dollars in something that didn't work well. alleycallie & brood
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