When we are away, the cats will.....turn into catsicles?
December 26, 2006 8:29 AM   Subscribe

CatComfort Filter: We are leaving our three cats alone in the house for three weeks. At what temperature should we set the thermostat?

We have three cats: two 1-year-olds and one 13-year-old, all healthy. We live in Cleveland, where it is winter now. Our house is old and drafty, with (good) radiator heat on the first floor and (crapass) baseboard heat on the second. While we're away someone will be feeding them daily, but not staying in the house.

Without cats, we'd leave the thermostat set at 55 degrees. Is this too cold for them? What's the lowest temperature at which they will be comfortable?
posted by picklebird to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From today's Cat Calendar: "Fernand Mery, a French veterinarian and author of numerous books on cats, observed that from the moment the sun goes down, felines head for the stove or the hearth. HIs conclusion? Of all life's gifts, the first choice of cats is warmth."
posted by Carol Anne at 8:39 AM on December 26, 2006

Cats usually do fine at whatever temperature, out door cats do fine much lower than 55. They are mammals like us and can regulate their body temperatures.

HOWEVER, they are your babies and are used to whatever you usually keep it, so to keep us all in the holiday spirit why don't you just keep the heat set at what you usually do.
posted by stormygrey at 8:40 AM on December 26, 2006

Is the sitter/feeder coming over twice a day? Maybe s/he could turn the heat on at night and turn it off in the morning.
posted by matildaben at 8:43 AM on December 26, 2006

I have been leaving our small down lap blankets out at night on the sofa for the cats to curl up on after the heater is switched off. That really seems to make a difference in comfort for our small female. The male has a soft bed which he seems to prefer.
posted by jvilter at 8:57 AM on December 26, 2006

It's worthwhile to invest in a thermostat with a clock that will turn the heat up and down on a schedule. Give the cats a couple of hours of more heat a day. If you can arrange for 1 small area - closet, or cupboard, to be warm, they'd have a place to curl up. Heating pads are nice, but not if they chew. Do they have a place to hang out and look out the window? Boredom could be an issue.
posted by theora55 at 9:19 AM on December 26, 2006

When i lived in Buffalo, I had a programmable thermostat. While my wife and I were at work, we kept it on 55 degrees. The cats were fine with that, and usually would find a nice warm place in a closet or under the bed, etc. (Which are their usual places to hide during the day anyway). However, 3 weeks can be a long time, you may want to make it a little warmer for the little buggers just to be nice!

On a different note, by two cats would like to know when you are leaving because they heard a rumor through the "cat underground" that 2 cats in Cleveland are throwing an "owners are away" party for 2 weeks!
posted by punkrockrat at 9:33 AM on December 26, 2006

We've done the cat at 55F for a long weekend. If that cat is used to going out in the winter, it'll be fine. Cats can find warmer places, especially if you leave a blanket in a sunny place.
posted by kc0dxh at 10:44 AM on December 26, 2006

The temperature seems fine (not cruel) in general, but, yeah, as others have said, they will find a spot warmer than 55 somewhere, but you can help create it for them. Do your cats like to sleep under a blanket, ever? Mine loves this nylon sleeping bag that can be propped with a peak and she will sleep under there when she's cold. Maybe you could make a cozy cat bed with some old polar fleece by one of the good heat output areas or devise something they can crawl into elsewhere, like a cardboard box with a blanket over it, making sure to leave some entry point? Or, hey, both.
posted by Listener at 11:08 AM on December 26, 2006

Thank you all for your responses. They basically confirm our thoughts as well. We do indeed have a programmable thermostat, but I was too lazy to think about changing our current program. We do also leave a fleece blanket for them on the couch, but one or more usually prefer to curl up on the down comforter on the bed. They also like to sit directly on top of, or right next to, the radiators, so I am sure they will do that. And with the thermostat at 55-60 (I think the compromise around here will be 57) in our drafty house, the radiators will stay moderately warm for the duration.

TO THE CATS IN PITTSBURGH: some cats asked me to pass on the word that the party announcement is on its way. BYOC. (Bring your own catnip.)
posted by picklebird at 7:09 AM on December 27, 2006

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