My cat Kiwi was born in November 2011, I lived with him for 3 years with my father and my sister in our apartment. In 2013, my father met my future stepmother who is really, really obsessed with cleanliness. In 2014 we all moved in to our current house and here is the problem.

As my stepmother is obsessed with cleanliness, she can't stand any dirt in her house (she vacuums nearly every day to give you a clue), and as a consequence, she can't stand any hair falling from my cat. And you guys know how much pets lose their hair... Finally, in 2014, my cat was expelled from our place and since, he lives exclusively in the garden.

I wouldn't say the garden is small, he can run within 8 meters easily and jump over some little stuff, there are 2-3 trees and some grass.

However, each winter since 2014, my cat disappears at the coldest time of the year, when it snows. My father put a small heater last year in his hut for him, but it sounds it's not enough. We don't see him for 1 to 3 weeks, and I'm very worried at this time of the year, hoping I'll see him again. The worst moment as a pet owner was the first winter when he left our garden for several weeks before the vet called my father as someone dropped him there as he had a broken paw !

So my question is, what are the odds that my cat is happy despite his situation, it has been a large subject of argument with my stepmother and a little bit with my father too, as they really reject him, shouting at him when he tries to enter the house and so on. I also know cats are more used to live outside than we, humans, so I guess he's not as sad as a homeless human can be.

I would finally finish my question by telling you guys, I won't, unfortunately, be able to move into my own house before 6-7 years left, as I'm still a student.

1 Answer 1


Cats are susceptible to cold just as a person is. By genetic analysis, we have determined house cats originate from the Middle East. They are not particularly adapted for the cold. Their ears, for instance, are if anything, designed to shed heat, with sparse and short hair, and jutting quite far from the head, with no particular adaptation to help cover them when it is cold.

The general rule of thumb is if you're uncomfortable with the temperature, they're uncomfortable. The space heater might not be good enough if its shelter is not very well insulated. The heat from it would quickly disappate in that case.

At the least, I recommend researching into creating or purchasing a cat shelter for him, one that is intended for winter. There are designs available to shelter feral cats from extreme weather, and so you can be more reassured that he has appropriate shelter. Some shelter designs are very cheap and easy to make. https://www.neighborhoodcats.org/how-to-tnr/colony-care/feral-cat-winter-shelter

However, more ideally, I'd try to convince your step-mother and father about the fact your cat will suffer from the cold, and so he should be let inside when it is too cold outside for it to be safe to leave him there. You could even sequester the cat to one room of the house where cleaning won't be as much of an issue.

  • Thank you for you answer @Kai ! I've already tried to convince my step-mother that my cat suffers from cold, but they say it's an animal and it has much more hairs than we have, so he's more likely to endure winter... Finally, I will try to ensure he's hot enough this winter in his hut. My father says a shelter like the ones in the website may not be the best solution as he already has a hut and a heater. (The air couldn't circulate enough in his new shelter). Last winter, my father wasn't ok to put the heater at its maximum power (for energies savings), but I convinced him to.
    – JKHA
    Commented Sep 3, 2018 at 9:11
  • *...if you're uncomfortable with the temperature, they're uncomfortable." To expand on this, if you are at a comfortable temperature in your home, your cat likely feels cold. That is one reason they like enclosed spaces, as it helps conserve their body heat. Commented Sep 14, 2022 at 17:10

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