DIY feral cat winter shelter

It’s getting cold, a tough time of year for any outdoor-dwelling animals. Like feral cats, which likely inhabit a colony somewhere near you.

Luckily, it’s easy to build a simple, feral cat shelter using easily obtainable and affordable materials. This picture shows a simple how-to:

The blue inner box is an 18-gallon Rubbermaid “Roughneck Tote” or similar. Cost about $5. Line the bottom with a few inches of straw (not hay).

The purple outer box is a larger, 35-gallon tote, e.g., Rubbermaid “Latching Tote” or similar. Cost $6-15. Whatever brand of totes you buy, make sure that one easily fits inside the other with enough room for the installation.

The pink stuff is 1″ rigid polystyrene insulation, also available at Lowe’s or Home Depot. A large sheet costs about $10, and cuts easily with a utility knife.

Having difficulty cutting a hole in the plastic? Soften it first with hot air from a hairdryer. (Watch your fingers!)

Here are a few more good ideas.

  • If you can find one, use a piece of a discarded solar pool cover/blanket as a liner. Ask a neighbor who has a pool.
  • Keep an eye out for those mylar “solar blankets,” which are great at reflecting body heat.
  • Consider surrounding the shelter with bales of straw — a wonderfully efficient insulator.
  • Place shelters where they are protected from wind and snow (especially shelters like this one, without a covered door).
  • In an area frequented by predators, consider adding a back door as an escape hatch.

For many more feral cat shelter ideas, visit the Pact Humane Society’s website. Or Google “feral cat shelter instructions.”

Have you built a feral cat shelter? Are you planning to? Please share your experiences, ideas, photos, instructions, etc., in the comments below, so we can all learn from your experience. Thanks!

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3 Responses to DIY feral cat winter shelter

  1. Heidi Harrod says:

    I have a momma kitty and 3 babies that I built 2 of the tote shelters for. They are fully insulated with foam insulation and lots of fresh straw. They absolutely love them!!! It took no time at all for them to get used to them and they are in them all the time. If anyone needs shelters for their cats this is by far the best way and the least expensive to make a shelter. I hope this helps anyone looking for ideas for their furry friends.

    • Joyce says:

      One of our volunteers, Fred, built several of these for Safe Haven and they have saved the lives of many cats! The only thing he would add is a back door in case of a predator attack.
      How wonderful to know you have created warm housing for these kitties! Tonight is bitter cold and colder days are coming. Thank you for your kind heart and busy, helping hands and for helping to tell others how fast the kitties moved into it and how easy it was to make! We hope you are an inspiration to many more!

  2. Pingback: Cat Shelter Instructions | Calvert Animal Welfare League

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