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How To Make A Cat Shelter

Keeping Cool Cats Warm

How to Make a Feral Cat Shelter

Winter shelter is critical for feral and stray cats living in frigid climates and can help them thrive despite the low temperatures. Listed here are mostly examples of inexpensive, do-it-yourself shelters that can be built in a matter of hours or less. All;designs share three essential qualities -;;they’re well insulated, have minimal air space;and are waterproof. They need to be well insulated to trap the cats’ body heat, have minimal air space so there isn’t too much empty room;to heat up, and be waterproof so the interior remains dry. Further down this page, you’ll find info on placement of shelters, insulating materials to place inside your cat cabins, extra protection for extreme cold and flap doors.;For more on winter care, see how to stop freezing water.;For New York City area caretakers, check out local options for;purchasing pre-fabricated winter shelters and straw.

How To Make A Temporary Shelter For A Stray Cat

Stray and feral cats can often find it difficult to find warm and safe places to sleep, especially during the winter months.

If you’ve encountered a cat on the street and you’re unsure of whether it has an owner, keep in mind that it might be a feral cat. Feral cats are less likely to appeal to human contact and might even display aggression if they feel anxious try not to approach unless you need to.

Find out how to identify if a cat is stray or feral by clicking on the post in the ‘Related articles’ section below.

If the cat appears friendly, you should first try to find out whether it has a microchip. If the cat is uninjured and you can take it to a vet, they will be able to find out if it has a microchip and get in touch with the owners. .

If the cat appears well but you’re unable to take it to the vet for scanning, get in contact with your local CP you’ll find contact details at While we will always help as soon as we are able, branches are run by volunteers in their spare time so we are unable to offer an emergency service.

As they may not be able to come to collect the cat straight away, there are a few things you can do to help. Aside from providing the cat with fresh and clean drinking water, building a cat shelter will give them a space away from the elements.

Check out the video below for a handy how-to on making your own shelter.

Cat Walk Outside House

This bigger vertical cage is the next most beautiful outdoor cat enclosure for your cat! Just install the building frame using wood pillars and cross supports and then cover the frame with chicken wire! Install custom tree branches and ladders there for cat gym routines! An airy type of outdoor cat residence!

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How To Build A Cat House

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A small, warm house can save a feral cat’s life in winter. These are easy to construct from a plastic storage container, or from scrap lumber if you have a little carpentry experience. The indoor version is even easier and will entertain your cat and yourself as it scampers through cardboard boxes.

Cut The Opening In The Inside Container

Learn How to Make the Cheapest and Easiest Cat Shelter for ...

I took the Utility knife and keyhole saw and cut around the circle I traced.; This was very difficult to do and the hard plastic was very hard to cut and it actually cracked a few times as I cut it.

As I stated earlier, if I were to build another one of these outdoor cat shelters, I would pick a sturdier type of container for the inside of the shelter.

Here is the final result.; You can see the cracks in the plastic under my hand and at the bottom of the opening.; I ended putting some duct tape over the cracks just to seal them up nicely.

Remember, the inner container isnt very big.; The hole above is 6 inches across, so the container is only 10 or 11 inches high.

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How Does Something Simple Like An Outdoor Cat Shelter Save Lives

Outdoor cat shelters are literally the difference between life and death, says Donna Baldridge, community cat expert. Donna has been running a successful feline feral program in conjunction with the North Fork Animal Welfare League for over a decade. The benefits of an outdoor cat shelter to the cats are multifaceted. Cats seeking refuge from the elements can put themselves in dangerous situations from being injured in a car engine to being trapped in a basement or accidentally locked in a shed; an outdoor cat shelter mitigates these threats. She also emphasized that having access to an outdoor cat shelter dramatically reduces the risk of serious illnesses like upper respiratory infections. Upper respiratory infections, if left untreated, can result in blindness and can be fatal.

You dont have to be a cat expert to be part of the solution to animals facing the death sentence in shelters across the country. According to Austin Pets Alive!s Cat Program manager, Monica Frenden, 70 percent of cats entering the shelter system die.

Donnas work with the;North Fork Animal Welfare League is a testament to TNRs lifesaving properties: the North Fork has a 97 percent save rate for dogs and cats. Managing a sterilized community cat colony requires a few straightforward ingredients: food, water and shelter. And you dont need an architectural degree to make a fabulous outdoor cat shelter!

Outdoor Cat Houses For Feral Cats

If you are having access to some free wood, then you must build this wooden cat house, will rock for feral cats! A nice entrance, solid wooden design, and tilted edged roof are the prominent features of this hand-built model! Make the inside comfy, too, using rugs, carpets, pillows, and custom insulation!

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Roughneck Homes Outdoor Protective Cat Shelter Instructions Concept By Indy Feral

Roughneck Homes are easy to make and a lot of fun to construct. Using the instructions and pictures below, you can construct your feral cat shelter in just 15 minutes. Always use the utmost caution when using a blade or knife to make the entrance/exits of your shelter.

  • Depending on the climate, shelter may actually be more important for survival than even food.
  • A dry, wind-proof shelter can do a large part in fending off frostbite in the ears and paws from elements such as freezing winds, snow and rain.
  • While feral cats typically build a thick protective coat for winter, the effectiveness of their fur as insulation is greatly reduced as it becomes wet or frozen and can often times result in hypothermia.

Help Assist In Rescuing Feral Cats

How to Build a Cat Shelter is proud to support the ongoing fight to maintain the overwhelming population of feral cats in the Unites States. Through our “Roughneck Homes” program you will find this helpful resource to help build and maintain a safe living environment for feral cats in your area, as well as access to our popular Rubbermaid Roughneck tote storage box containers for use in building your shelter or donating to a charitable organization.

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When Constructing A Shelter Here Are A Few Basic Ideas To Keep In Mind

All good shelter designs share two qualities:

  • Strong insulation needed to trap body heat, which turns the cats into little radiators. Use straw, not hay or blankets.
  • Minimal air space a smaller interior area means that less heat is needed to keep the occupants warm.

Shelter size is very important.

  • Smaller shelters can be heated by only one or two cats. Larger shelters with only one or two cats inside will remain cold.
  • Two smaller shelters are better than one large one.
  • Dont underestimate the number of cats in your area. You may only see one or two, but there are probably more.; Try to provide more shelter space than you can imagine needing.

The placement of shelters is important in keeping cats safe from predators.

  • If dogs are a threat, place your shelter behind a fence where the dogs cant get in.
  • Have the entrance face a wall so only cats can get in and out.
  • All shelters and feeding stations should be out of sight, no matter how friendly the area may appear.

Dont place the shelter directly on the cold ground.

Use two 2x4s or other materials to raise it off the ground and place straw underneath. This makes it easier for the cats to warm the inside with their body heat.

Make the door as small as possible.

Cats need an opening of only about five-and-a-half or six inches in diameter, or the width of their whiskers.

Locate the door several inches above the ground level.

Creating extra protection:

Preventing dampness:

Building A Feral Cat Shelter Can Help Keep A Feline Safe And Sound This Winter And Could Even Save Her Life

During the winter months, its more important than ever to provide shelter to feral cats in your neighborhood. Harsh weather conditions pose a huge threat to these felines, who often have nowhere safe to seek solace. While cats are often great about finding shelter on their own, this can lead them to places that might be dangerous for them or areas where the property owners dont want them , says Jesse Oldham, Senior Director, Community Outreach at the ASPCA. Other times, theres just no sufficient option for them. These are all reasons providing an insulated feral cat shelter is a great idea for community cats in cold climates.

Ready to help? Heres how to build your own feral cat shelter:

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Easy Winter Cat Shelter

This easily constructed cat shelter is perfect for our outdoor feral friends during those cold months. From start to finish only; took me less than a hour to complete. I had everything to make do this project around the house, besides the styrofoam cooler which was only a couple dollars.

Get Creative With Your Outdoor Cat Shelter

The Very Best Cats: How to Make a Winter Shelter for an ...

In addition to the tote/cooler/straw community cat outdoor shelters, there are other sliding-scale, cost-efficient items available to create perfect year-round shelters.

For the dozen community cats in my colony, I use mostly dog house igloos, shares John. He buys used dog igloos off Craigslist for about $20 each. Other than the initial cost of the igloos, its mostly free as theyre lined with old bedding. Theyre great because they have a relatively small entrance but a large interior.

As John built his house, surplus materials were readily available. One of his community cat structures is constructed like a mini-house with a rubberized roof. For handier folks, John recommends repurposing wooden pallets. Theyre not only free , pallets are also good for using as a base for a variety of cat enclosures, especially for areas of the country that experience a lot of rain or snow.

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How To Build An Outdoor Cat House


The first step of the outdoor cat house project is to build the floor frame from 2×2 lumber. Cut the components at the right components and then secure them together with 2 1/2 screws. Align the edges flush and make sure the corners are square. Drill pilot holes through the 14 long components and insert the screws into the perpendicular components.


Attach a piece of 3/4 plywood to the floor frame. Align the edges flush, drill pilot holes through the floor and insert 1 5/8 screws into the joists.


Assemble the back wall for the cat house from 2×2 lumber. Drill pilot holes through the plates and insert 2 1/2 screws into the studs. Make sure the corners are square and align the edges flush, for a professional result.


Build the front wall from 2×2 lumber as well. Cut the components at the dimensions shown in the diagram. Drill pilot holes through plates and insert 2 1/2 screws into the studs.


Build the left side wall from 2×2 lumber. Use 2 1/2 screws to assemble the walls tightly.


Build the right wall frame from 2×2 lumber. Drill pilot holes and insert 2 1/2 screws to assemble the frame together tightly.


Fit the wall frames to the floor of the cat house. Drill pilot holes through the bottom plates and insert 2 1/2 screws into the floor. Make sure you align the edges flush, for a professional result.

Awesome Outdoor Cat House Ideas

No matter the time of the year, feral and stray cats can struggle with finding a warm place to crash for the night and unfortunately there are just too many of them for all of them to find safe, warm forever homes.

While spaying, neutering, and cat adoption are critical to solving the problem of feral cats long term, many cat lovers take the extra step of buying or building outdoor shelters for the feral cats in their neighborhood especially during wintertime.

Check out these outdoor shelter ideas for feral cats, and get inspired to make a homeless cats life more comfortable and safe.

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Putting The Shelter Together

Now that the cooler is prepped , we want to make sure to seal the lid to the container to keep out weather and wind.Step 1 1. In a well ventilated area generously apply adhesive to the outside lip of the lid. Image 12. Quickly attach the lid to the base, and apply even pressure.Step 21. Using whatever tape you choose, tape across the lid and the base. Make sure not to cover over the drainage holes. Image 22. Next, tape around the edge where the lid meets the base. This will prevent any drafts, and reinforce the two pieces together. Image 3-5

Winter Shelter For An Outdoor Cat

How-to Build a Feral Cat shelter

Build this another cozy castle for your cats using the big plastic containers. Just add the insulation inside and also a bunch of straws for added coziness and weather protection. Just place the carpet inside or a pillow to serve as a great bed. The best outdoor cat house to make in no time. Details here theverybestcats

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Outdoor Cat Houses For Winter

Let your cats feel cozy this winter using this lovely outdoor cat house! The first story comes with an extended roof veranda that makes an extended floor deck for 2nd story of this cat house! Finally there comes with a tilted roof that will not let the rainwater to retain! Make most of it using 1×8, 1×6, or 1×10 and 2x2s!

Protection From The Elements

  • You can ensure that the cats are protected by making shelters waterproof, windproof , and elevated off the ground.
  • Discarded pallets from shipping firms or hardware, farm supplies, or pet stores are a good option for elevation.
  • The space beneath the shelters should be blocked from drafts. Insulation is a good material to use.
  • Consider surrounding your cats shelter with bails of straw.

TIP: One way to break the wind and create more protection from rain is to place two shelters facing each other, and then place a board on top, spanning the two roofs.

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Scraper Boxes House For Cats

This DIY cat house is to build with the recycled items like with recycled scraper boxes and will be the ultimate comfort for your cat pets! Nicely carpeted floors, rope covered scratch posts that make the durable pillars for supporting this L-shape cat house building, too, are the main features of this cat house!

Materials For Our Outdoor Cat Shelter

Feral Cat Winter Shelter Plans

There were only a few items I needed to build our outdoor cat shelter.; Here was my shopping list:

  • Two plastic tubs.; One had to fit inside the other
  • A piece of plastic coupling for the opening to provide a smooth entrance and exit
  • Styrofoam insulation
  • Two standard size bricks
  • For tools, I only needed an Utility knife and a keyhole saw.

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    Insulated Winter Cat Shelter

    To build this insulated winter cat shelter, you need two bins here. Grab a Rubbermaid 189L and Sterilite 85L bin to build this cat shelter. Add the insulation inside and also add some straws inside for added coziness and winter comfort. One of the best cat shelters ever made. Details here diycatshelter

    Outdoor Cat House For The Winter

    A one of the most beautiful outdoor cat house that comes with an edged roof. It will make a cute handmade gift for sure. Grab 1/2 plywood, 3 pieces of 2x2x8 for framing and 1/2 insulation board to build this outdoor cat house for winters. Next, you need two cat doors, weatherstripping, solar lights, and straws to make it. instructables

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    How To Build An Outdoor Cat Shelter

    You can make several variations of this cosy shelter, depending on the supplies you already have around your home or what you can afford to buy, but heres what you need.

    • Two nested containers: Whether theyre plastic crates, cardboard boxes wrapped in duct tape, or a plastic box and a styrofoam cooler, one container needs to be small enough to fit inside the other. You also need access to the inside of both containers.
    • Insulation: You can use shredded paper, old clothing or bedding, or mylar blankets. You want materials that will fit in the space between the two containers and that will keep the cat warm.
    • Bedding: A blanket or towel to act as bedding for the cat. You may want to switch this out over time so it doesnt get too dirty or moldy.
    • A platform: An optional addition is to create a platform that will elevate the shelter off the ground so the cat stays warmer and no water seeps in. You can make this from planks of scrap wood, large rocks, or even an old welcome mat or foam padding mat. Whatever you use, you want it to be a flat, stable surface for the shelter to rest on.

    Cut a cat sized opening in the side of both containers, making sure they line up. Use duct tape to secure the two containers together at the entrance. The duct tape should also reinforce the opening.


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