Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cat Shelters

Yesterday, my husband looked at the weather report and saw that we are expecting a storm. That made him leave his environmental assessment paper to build a couple of more emergency cat shelters.  In managing a feral cat colony, we provide food, medical care, and adequate shelter. We also have what I call transient cats--those who roam several neighborhoods. They usually look for food, females, and temporary shelter during inclement weather.  

Here's how we make emergency shelters.

You will need a plastic tub-the kind with a lid, sheets of 3/4 to 1 inch thick Styrofoam, duct tape, and bedding.  

Step 1: Get a plastic tub that has a lid. By the way--these also make excellent covered litter boxes. Cut a hole in one side just large enough for a cat. 

Step 2: Measure the inside of the tub and then cut the Styrofoam to fit. Be sure to measure for the floor and roof of the shelter. You may have to adjust and trim a bit to make a nice fit. But you can always use the duct tape if you over cut. 

Fitting the bottom

Using duct tape to fit the pieces together to make a tight fit.
Good thing Styrofoam is flexible. Some may call this cheating but it works in a pinch.

We build in layers. The foam doesn't have a great R-Value but it does provide some padding.

While most feral cat organizations feel that straw is better for ferals, we ran out of bales. We use old cotton blankets that will help cats stay warm. They can burrow under the layers or just nestle down into it if they choose. With eleven cats in the house, we can always get a feline opinion in such matters as well.

Tilly made herself right at home.  That's one cat's approval.
Merlin is asking Tilly how comfy the blanket is.

The Feline Seal of Approval 

Then add the roof or the top. It needs to fit snuggly and work with the lid of the shelter. You can see that D used pieces to make the top. He's the Duct Tape Master, I swear. He can fix anything as long as he has a roll of duct tape.

For the final touch, D adds a bit of duct tape on the outside edges to help seal air leaks. 

The shelter of the Blues Brothers: Buddy and 2B
We added an old runner so they can sit on top in the sun and D added a rain flap made from a garbage bag.  

This morning I awoke to this sight. Lovely but cold. The ferals and the transients have emergency shelters on the side of the house, away from our backyard colony. For extra measure, D added a tarp for added insulation and wind break.



  1. You two are amazing. I give you so much credit for what you do. Those kitties are so very lucky to have you!

    I can't believe you got that much snow. We've only had a dusting so far and that's okay with me until December 24th. Then I like snow for a few days and then it can go bye bye!! :)

  2. Bless you two...

    I used to know a woman who caught all the feral cats she could and had them spayed and neutered. If she could not find homes for them she released them back to their roaming ways.

  3. What fortunate cats to come wandering into your neighborhood! Your kindness to these animals is touching and inspirational. Enjoyed the tutorial!

  4. Excellent directions!!! These are inexpensive and easy enough to make...providing you have lots of duct tape of course!
    Hope you don't mind ...I'm printing these instructions to share at work ! Thanks for posting this =^..^=
    m.e. :)

  5. I'm glad everyone found this to be informative! ME--please print and distribute as needed. Knowledge is to be shared!:D

  6. There has to be a special place in heaven for you and others who help the homeless kitties of the world.