Most of us who have gardens* and are fond of nature and animals have outside shelters for them...

  • birdhouse

  • dog house

  • green house

  • cat house?

'Cathouse' seems off to many Americans because of the usage as a slang term for brothel, and will probably draw a snicker or two..

I participate on Pets.SE, and can find only 1 reference to 'cat-house'

"Cattery" has been suggested on Wikipedia and Quora, but that sounds like a kennel for cats. In other words, similar to an 'aviary'.

'Shelter' sounds like a place for adoption of strays.

Is there a less-suggestive word for the house of a single cat, that works like 'doghouse'?

SWR:My cat lay comfortably dry inside her ______, watching the rain fall on the patio below her.

*My usage of garden here is more the European or Latin-American idea. Garden for Americans often evokes the image of tidy rows of vegetables ripening on the vine and close to hand of the home cook, or a bed of seasonal flowers. By way of contrast, for the rest of the English-speaking world , it usually indicates trees, flowers, bushes, grassy patches, etc.

The perfect environment for birds, rodents, and various creepy-crawlies...

In other words, paradise for a cat.

  • 3
    In context, I think "cat shelter" works just fine; there's no chance the reader would think the cat is waiting to be adopted.
    – Hellion
    Jun 16, 2021 at 20:51
  • 1
    For us non-Americans, what on earth is wrong with "cat house"?
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 17, 2021 at 15:01
  • 7
    @AndrewLeach - I think they use it to mean 'brothel'. Jun 17, 2021 at 19:00
  • 3
    @Cascabel Poor kitty. Honestly, if humans didn't know how to hunt tuna and other tasty canned goods, I don't know why the cats would put up with us :P I guess we're sometimes suitable cat furniture. We had plans to build a small catio for our older cat so he could watch the hummingbirds, but we didn't get it done before he got sick and we had to euthanize him. Have you seen the cat TV videos on YouTube? Sometimes they can make up for gloomy weather. Our cat enjoyed this one of mice running around: youtu.be/6pbreU5ChmA
    – ColleenV
    Jun 18, 2021 at 19:39
  • 3
    Maybe it's because I'm a cat owner, but my first thought of "cat house" would not be a brothel even though I'm an American. Where I'm from those are whorehouses.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 18, 2021 at 19:42

10 Answers 10


I find plenty of hits on Amazon and other sites for Cat kennel.



  • 1
    Yes, but the doghouses on that site are also called kennel/shelter...I am asking for a word similar to 'doghouse'..'.kennel' is an umbrella term, as is 'shelter'. Jun 16, 2021 at 20:19
  • @Cascabel - Hmm, given your sentence as context, in what way do you think “kennel” could be misconstrued and what nuance of does “doghouse” capture that it lacks?
    – Jim
    Jun 17, 2021 at 4:24
  • 2
    I have two cat kennels in my garden. My neighbour has one in her garden. That's what we call them (BrE). (Up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    Jun 17, 2021 at 7:37
  • 2
    If 'kennel' is an umbrella term, what is the 'house' part of dog house/doghouse, birdhouse etc. I'd say 'cat kennel' is becoming as much a single term (lexeme) as dog house/doghouse; open compounds are merely spelling variants of closed ones by this stage. Jun 17, 2021 at 14:05
  • Lemme think on it... Jun 18, 2021 at 0:28

Cat hut—has a roof, at least. Or close it—cathut? Cathut! Sounds like a hairball...

Or cattyshack—has walls...and balls, maybe snacks.

A cat folly has a fountain...and a chaise, of course.

A cat retreat has towers, plural, and all the amenities, but everybody knows that.

Per suggestion in comments below:

My cat lay comfortably dry inside her catio, watching the rain fall on the patio…

Now that's really cute, no doubt.

  • 1
    Cattyshack is my favorite--but then, I do have a twisted sense of humor.
    – RobJarvis
    Jun 17, 2021 at 20:45
  • 1
    Oh My Dog ...I wanna check this one... Jun 18, 2021 at 0:03
  • 4
    @EdwinAshworth - Most outdoor cats live in cat huts per the 2020 Felinnial Census. I blame the economy.
    – user294180
    Jun 18, 2021 at 3:32
  • 1
    Google seems to have quite a few hits for a catio, but I think that's more than the bungalow alone.
    – tchrist
    Jun 18, 2021 at 13:28
  • 1
    @tchrist, yes, catio normally refers to an enclosed outdoor run, for an otherwise indoor cat (e.g., of course, a patio with a high fence and wire mesh rig)
    – Chris H
    Jun 18, 2021 at 18:18

I withdraw my earlier suggestion of catloo because I agree it sounds like a litter box, and moreover would not be immediately obvious to the vast majority of readers. So, herewith is:

Cat cabin or Kitty Cabin

This was mentioned in a comment by @KannE under the cat hut answer, above, but they did not develop it into an answer.

According to Merriam Webster a cabin is a small one-story dwelling usually of simple construction.

See also Sponsor a Cat Cabin on Cats Protection, the site for a British organization. A US organization, Alley Cat Allies has a similar construction, called a KatKabin which can be seen on this link.

The enclosures in a catio may have multiple shelves rising to the top of the enclosure, but a catio is not the same as a cat house, being at least partially exposed to the elements. Houses for felines and canines are almost always one story high and of simple construction. If more elaborate than a cabin, they are cat manses or cat mansions. Although I have never seen one, I am sure a cat mansion exists, probably in the LA region.

PS: From personal experience, I can vouch for the fact that people-cabins can have lofts, and so not all cabins are necessarily on one level.

  • 1
    Along the same lines, the place where we boarded our cat during our move referred to the kennels as kitty condos although that seems more likely to refer to indoor multi-level climbing furniture if you search Google images. The Boston PD called the house they made for the stray that adopted them a "kitty condo" too though, so maybe it would work in context. I'm also coming across "cat cottage" a lot.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 21, 2021 at 18:19
  • 1
    @ColleenV The problem I have with kitty condo as housing for the cat or cats of an individual or an individual family is that a condo is one unit in association with many others. Thus, the kennel where you temporarily placed your cat has kitty condos, but your own cat house for your own cat(s) is not a cat condo, even if your own abode is a condo. As for the Boston PD nomenclature, the police have more sense than we do, and went with a servicable name rather than agonizing over it. :}
    – ab2
    Jun 21, 2021 at 20:59
  • @KannE Purr! for the bounty!
    – ab2
    Nov 19, 2021 at 2:29

I suggest den. Lexico gives


A wild mammal's hidden home; a lair.
A room or hideout where a person can go to relax or be private.

  • You can find a 'cat den' on shopping sites. Jun 17, 2021 at 7:10
  • 1
    Fair enough, if it's clear from the context that you're talking about a cat not a husband.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 17, 2021 at 10:07
  • 1
    @StuartF as in "Tiddles is resting in the den?" I don't think any of the words shelter, kennel, house, den, cave are unique to a cat, and a cattery is a temporary home for a number of cats. Jun 17, 2021 at 10:08
  • 1
    @WeatherVane But “Tiddles is resting in his den”, disambiguates.
    – Jim
    Jun 17, 2021 at 14:34
  • 2
    Den may be the best choice, IMHO, since lions have dens, and all cats believe they are lions despite any evidence to the contrary.
    – RobJarvis
    Jun 21, 2021 at 18:31


a pen or coop for an animal

The term is most familiar for rabbits as a rabbit hutch, but there are commercial sellers and hobbyists who use the term for their offerings for cats.

  • 1
    A hutch, though, is for confining an animal, rather than being a pleasure-dome. Jun 17, 2021 at 14:57
  • @WeatherVane Consider the Playboy bunny hutch Jun 17, 2021 at 21:09
  • @Cascabel I am unconvinced that "a heavy duty Valley Girl" isn't some kind of restraint... or is that the pre-bunny? Jun 17, 2021 at 22:34
  • ... de acuerdo @WeatherVane Jun 17, 2021 at 22:36
  • 2
    Hutches are for rabbits, not for cats.
    – Lambie
    Jun 18, 2021 at 15:52

Pet house for my cat returns a surprising number of results from Google. So, if you are reluctant to go with the perfectly well documented cat house then call it a pet house and if need be, clarify it is for a cat.


If you don't like my earlier idea, how about Catcave.

some of them are suitable for outdoor use.


My cat lay comfortably dry inside her pawpen, watching the rain fall on the patio below her.



Mu. If you aren't going to follow the Yanks' ideas on what you consider a garden, there's no reason at all you need to worry about their Puritan snickering or tut-tutting over what they themselves call the things. The (presumably) largest source of these things on Earth has a specific product category for what you're talking about and it's called cat houses & condos on its American platform. (The UK version leans towards indoor cat furniture and apparently doesn't do brisk enough trade in outdoor shelters to justify breaking it out as a separate product line.)

Ngram shows the usual orthography is cathouse in published works, but Google Trends shows that people online have started chasing the marketers whose SEO is chasing them, preferring cat house by a wide margin.

Yeah, it's still suggestive but ignore the naysayers and—with a space, rammed together, or with a toffee-nosed hyphen—just say it loud and say it proud. It's already well on the way to being reclaimed, since everything else that might replace it is just silly.


I propose taking CollenV's suggestion a step further and blending cat cottage into cattage.

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