Sunday, January 5, 2014

Build a Feral Cat Shelter - Its Easy!

At the beginning of the holidays, the mom attended a community workshop teaching people how to build feral cat shelters.  She should have posted this before, but now we've had our first snow, this is a good time.  It's a nice hour long weekend project.  I know some folks feed and take care of outside cats, so I hope you find this useful.

Here's what you will need:

Measuring tape and yard stick
Exacto knife or box cutter
Magic Marker
Hair dryer

18 gallon Rubbermaid storage tub (36 gallon if you want to build one for a couple cats)
Styrofoam for the flooring
Reflectix for lining the top and walls (this is bubble wrap with a shiny reflective material on both sides, and can be found in hardware stores.)
Duct tape

The Rubbermaid tub and Reflectix.

Measure the bottom of the tub and cut the styrofoam to fit.
You may need to round the corners as I did here.
I find it's easier to measure with the measuring tape
then cut using a yard stick.

Mark the opening for the door flap, making it 5x5"
and about 4" from the bottom.
Any larger will allow foxes and raccoons in.
I put mine off center so one side had 
more protection from the wind.
Make sure the door is on the flat surface.

The top of the door flap will not be cut.
Heat one side with the hair dryer,
then cut and repeat for the other two sides.
I found it easy to score it with the Exacto knife
then go over the score harder the second time
(still using the knife).
It doesn't have to be heated for long.

Cut the Reflectix to fit the bottom and the top.

The measure and cut the Reflectix for the sides.

Trim the Reflectix to fit the top
and tape in place.
Be sure not to tape over the parts
that clamp the top to the bottom.

Cut the Reflectix for the door opening,

Duct tape around all the open seams and sides of the Reflectix,
inside and out, wrapping it around the door openings. 
(Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the inside all taped up.
Tape along the top, the sides and tape the sides to the floor.
It should be completely sealed.)
I heated the top of the door and held it open 
so it wouldn't lie flat against the side.

Test the top and make sure it fits securely.  You can place rocks on the top so the wind doesn't blow it around.  Place a nice bed of straw in the bottom, find a sheltered place outside and you're done.  You can use catnip to lure your kitties in.  Hay retains moisture and isn't good for bedding.  Newspaper inks are toxic so you shouldn't use newspaper.  You can buy straw at a hardware store or garden center.

At the workshop they had an example made by some girl scouts.
Note they cut their door all the way out and hinged it at the top.

The girls left messages for the lucky kitties.
This one says, "Big cat, little cat, fat cat, skinny cats, all cats are welcome here."

Another welcoming sign:
"Come in little kitty you're so-
pose to come in."

How cute!  I just loved it!

Because I can't have things like this in my yard, according to the home owner's association, I donated mine to the local TNR group. They were happy to have it, and it will go to one of their care takers.

There are other styles of shelters, even ones using egg cartons instead of Reflectix.  You can click here to see how to build different styles.  Good luck!  I hope some find this of interest.


Cats Herd You said...

That's a great project! We love seeing how many cost-effective ways there are to shelter feral cats.

meowmeowmans said...

Thank you for such an important and informative post, dear friends. We worry so much about the ferals in all this very cold weather.

Pat Hatt said...

That is awesome to do, crummy apartments don't allow much though

Gigi said...

Wow! We don't worry so much in this temperate climate but of course it does rain sometimes. The Human thinks she might try her hand at making one or two and ask around about a rescue or TNR group in the city.

Katnip Lounge said...

What a great post! I see those tubs occasionally at the resale stores, dirt cheap, and that's a great way to re-use them.

Team Tabby said...

Thanks for posting this, these instructions are very informative and useful!

Summer at said...

That is awesome! With the weather much of the U.S. is having, outside kitties need all the help they can get!

Layla Morgan Wilde ( Cat Wisdom 101) said...

Bless you doing this. I'm sharing.

Thanks for your kind words of condolence.

Marg said...

Those are some great instructions. That doesn't look too hard to do. I am very lucky that I have two barns for my outside cats and I have lots of wheelbarrows that I have turned over and made into little cat homes. Take care.

Katie Isabella said...

What GREAT instructions and I am saving it in case one takes up residence here. One some occasions there have been tame kitties who wanted to be here and I was beside myself how to protect them in the bad weather.

Kjelle Bus aka Charlie Rascal said...

What a pawsome project !
Looks so easy to do that even my mom-person could manege to make one :)


Brian said...

I agree, those are wonderful instructions and we we give it a try soon!


excellent demonstration and post this will help lots to build their own feral enclosure for the winter.

The Furries of Whisppy said...

Some kitties are going to be very appreciative of this warm shelter during the cold winter.
There is no need for those here as our weather is pretty hot year round. :)

Anonymous said...

BEST DESCRIPTION EVER! Thank you for showing everyone how easy this is to create! And for helping those outside kitties! Purrs...

Mariodacat said...

What a great, worthwhile, usable project. You gave really detailed instructions, so one cannot fail at this project.

Memories of Eric and Flynn said...

Those are very good and detailed instructions. I never see ferals in our area, but some mornings when I turn the horses out I see a little oval shape in the wood shavings in the stables where a kitty has been sleeping during the night.

Hilary said...

love it!

Annie Bear said...

It's been so incredibly cold here lately with ice too and I just shudder to think about ferals and homeless animals even more so at this time. Thanks so much for posting this and in such detail.

Kitties Blue said...

This is a fantastic shelter. Thank you so much for printing all the instructions and photos here. I think this is something the TNR group Mom works with would really be interested in doing. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

The Island Cats said...

This is so helpful! There's a couple of cats hanging around our dad-guy's business and the workers built a shelter outside for them, but it's not really good. So the mom needs to make one or two of these for them.

Mark's Mews (Ayla, Marley, and Laz) said...

We hope that shelter gets good use!

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