This picture simply confirms (if we need it and we don’t really) that neighborhood cats crave warmth. When cats are stuck outside because they become stray, feral or semi-feral, they must feel the cold. Cats are very tolerant of discomfort. However, you can see that as soon as a person put down a heating pad they immediately migrated to it. I don’t know how cold it was outside when the picture was taken but it doesn’t look too cold. The heating mat would have been even more popular if it was covered with fabric rather than what looks like plastic.
However it can hardly be warm enough for domestic, stray or feral cats. They gravitate towards warmth. They find the sunny spots in the house. It’s not surprising because we all know by now that their wild cat ancestor, the North African wild cat, lives in North Africa and the Middle East – hot regions. This is another reason why domestic cats are rather bad drinkers because they are basically desert cats. Well, that’s an exaggeration. However, they’re used to very dry conditions.
Preferred material to rest on
Incidentally, a study found that cats prefer wood as something to lie on compared to plastic (also some cats are allergic to plastic). They also like materials which maintain a constant temperature such as fabric, wood shavings, hay and straw. Plastic must be less stable in temperature therefore it can become cold when the ambient temperature decreases.
In another study (Crowse and colleagues 1995) it was found that the welfare of laboratory cats was improved by providing them with soft resting surfaces in the form of pillows. In a further study (Hawthorne and colleagues 1995) it was found that cats preferred polyester fleece to cotton-looped towel, woven rush-matching and corrugated cardboard for lying on.