How to Build a Feral Cat Outdoor Shelter Box



If you're on Pintrest as much as I am, then you've probably seen tutorials on how to build an outdoor survival shelter box for cold weather for stray cats/feral cats. Being an animal lover, I've always wanted to do this but never got around to it.

Until last night.

Starting tonight here in Wisconsin, the temperature will be dropping down below zero with the windchill (talks of -25 degrees was on the news this morning). I've seen a couple of stay cats around our apartment complex over the past year, so I figured now would be the time to build an outdoor cat shelter.

I bought most of the materials from our local goodwill and the insulation (Styrofoam) from Home Depot.

Materials bought at Goodwill:
*straw (which is better) or fleece blanket as an alternative approx $3
*1 large plastic bin with lid $4
*1 small plastic bin (no lid) $3
*2 small bowls (25 cents)

Materials bought at Home Depot:
*styrofoam $6 (came in a package, had plenty left over)

Already had:
*duct tape to secure lid

Total Cost: $16.25 

**Tip: You can cut cost if you have any/all of these items already on hand.

I had the boyfriend "eyeball it" and just let him do his thing. It was a pretty simple job. His only complaint was that the styrofoam was a bit messy, so we had to vacuum afterwards. When making the door for the cat, remember to make it big enough for a cat, but small enough that something bigger (racoons, etc) can't get in.

Basic Instructions:
*draw a box on the one side of the large bin (for the cat door), cut out with a razor blade/x-acto knife.
*place the smaller bin inside, use a marker to trace the already cut-out doorway, then cut out the square.
*measure & cut styrofoam, place in between the 2 bins for insulation, including on the bottom.
*place 2 sheets of styrofoam inside the smaller bin, place fleece blanket over it
*put lid on, duct tape on all 4 corners (so that the lid doesn't blow off)
*place bowl with cat food inside
*place the cat shelter box in an area where stray cats are known to roam

That's it!

It was a very easy and cheap project to do and knowing that we're helping stray kitties stay warm, makes us happy! :) Frostbite & hypothermia can happen to cats just like with humans. If you see a cat that could have frostbite or is injured, call your local humane society for help.

Don't forget to share this on Facebook, Twitter & Pintrest to spread the word!


4 comments:

OIK2 said...

With the addition of some electronics, this could be used to monitor a feral population without the trauma of trapping. Have a pressure sensor to tell when it is occupied and turn off the electronics when it is not, NFC/Chip reader to ID the cat in the box, low light camera for visual reference (picture of unidentified cat, kitten pictures, opossum pictures), thermometer, and a radio (wifi or 3g) to phone home. When in use this would also provide some heat, so maximizing retention would be useful, but minimizing battery use would be a key to making it cost effective. Protecting them from theft and vandalism would also be important for keeping costs from exploding.

beautifulscar said...

Do not use blankets. They get wet and cats will lose all body heat. Straw ( not hey) is the best bedding. It doesn't absorb water. I did not know this until recently and for two years used big blankets. But it is said if a cat can stay dry they can survive any temperature and blankets are like a sponge , they absorb the water and the kitty stays wet

beautifulscar said...

Do not use blankets. They get wet and cats will lose all body heat. Straw ( not hey) is the best bedding. It doesn't absorb water. I did not know this until recently and for two years used big blankets. But it is said if a cat can stay dry they can survive any temperature and blankets are like a sponge , they absorb the water and the kitty stays wet

Anonymous said...

Don't place food or water in the shelter for two reasons: 1) Food draws other animals and without an escape door a possum or raccoon will kill the cat. 2) If the water is spilled it will add moisture and reduce warmth.

As others have said - use straw, not hay. Cats can survive cold weather but not drafts or being wet in cold weather. Straw insulates and dries, whereas hay gets wets, mats and draws warmth from the cat - the same as blankets. Lining the area with a survival blanket to reflect the cats heat back to him is a good idea too. I like to use the foil covered bubble wrap as it provides insulation and heat reflection.

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