• Cold Weather Cat Shelter Options
  • by Dana Smook
    08 Jan 2015
  • Cold Weather Cat Shelter Options

    This is the COLDEST weather we've seen in a year. So what can we do to keep outdoor cats safe in these freezing temperatures? If outdoor cats in your community don't have appropriate shelter where they'll be warm and dry, consider providing a cat house.

    There are lots of options out there for cat shelters, from fancy prefab options to cheap or free homemade solutions. If you're not up to building your own shelter, check out the feral cat shelters sold by Feline Furniture. These shelters can be expensive, especially if you need several of them, but they have two doors (which cats like) and the rounded shape is great for snowy weather. They are also really cute!

    If you are truly handy, you can create your own cat house design, or follow these shelter building directions provided by Alley Cat Allies (alleycat.org).

    If you're not-all-that-handy, and if you don't want to spend $100 per cat house, there are lots of easy inexpensive shelter options to explore. A Styrofoam cooler filled with straw, with an entry hole cut into the side, will usually be perfectly acceptable during a cold snap. Elevate the cooler from the ground to help it maintain heat. Many medical offices receive medications shipped in Styrofoam coolers and will be glad to share them with you for free.

    There are also endless ways to turn a large plastic storage container into a cat shelter. Just Google "storage tub cat shelter" and you'll find an option that will work for you. But, just so you don't have to look too hard, here are some easy designs we like:

    • Roughneck Homes - easy to build, even if you aren't comfortable using a hammer. Required supplies: 18 gallon Rubbermaid tote, Styrofoam cooler, straw, duct tape, Exacto knife. Here is an open view of the shelter. Looks pretty cozy, right?

    • Here is a simple plastic bin shelter design from the Humane Society of the United States. This one requires the storage tote, a sheet of rigid foam insullation board, and some straw, plus basic tools. And that's home sweet home!

    • If you're a visual learner, check out this video on How to Build a Winter Shelter for Street Cats. These folks use a Rubbermaid tote, a corrugated plastic pipe to create a doorway, Durafoam insullation, duct tape, and straw, plus a few tools you probably already have.

      Rubbermaid Cat House

    Want to explore other shelter options? Check out the Feral Cat Shelter Options Gallery from Alley Cat Allies. They offer lots of shelter designs to think about. Thank you for exploring cat shelter designs and for making this cold winter a little more comfortable for a community cat.
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