Find building materials.,
Size it for a snug fit.,
Make the roof removable.,
Raise the house off the ground (if necessary).,
Create an entrance and exit.,
Waterproof the shelter (if necessary).,
Insulate the walls and roof.,
Fill the house with burrowing materials.,
Provide food and water.,
Lure cats in with catnip.
Outdoor cats need shelter from wind, rain, and cold. Use sturdy building materials or repurpose an existing container. Try these:
Plastic storage tub from a hardware store (about 35 gallons / 132 L)(Easiest option)
Old doghouse from a friend or neighbor
Plywood or lumber (one 4 x 8 ft sheet, or assorted scrap);
, A cat’s body heat can only warm up a small space.There’s no magic size to aim for, but the largest shelters top out at about 26″ tall x 26″ x 32″ (66 x 66 x 81 cm).If you’re using an existing container significantly larger than this, saw it apart or divide it using plywood.
These dog house instructions will work for cats as well, with the modifications described below. Use these if you’re building the house from lumber or plywood.
, A removable roof lets you easily change dirty bedding and check on an injured animal if it wanders in. If you’re building the house yourself, attach the roof to the walls using a hinge.
If you’re using a plastic storage tub, use the lid as a roof. Once complete, you can weigh down the roof using rocks or other heavy objects.
, The shelter must be raised if you expect snowdrifts or floods in your area. 18 inches (46 cm) is enough for most areas, but 12″ (30 cm) or less will work in areas with less severe weather. There are several solutions possible:
Keep the shelter on a covered, raised patio.
Stack the shelter on stacks of scrap lumber, concrete blocks, or other objects. The stack must be completely flat and sturdy. Surround it with heavy objects if necessary to prevent collapse.
Keep it on a sturdy plywood sheet, raised off the ground by four 2x4s (38 x 89mm) legs attached with coated deck screws., Cats prefer shelters with two entrances, so they can escape from predators sniffing in one.Cut two 6 x 6″ (15 x 15 cm) doorways on different sides.If using plastic, cover the sharp edges with duct tape.
If the house is not raised, start cutting the doorway about 2″ (5 cm) above the ground to prevent flooding from rain.
If the house is raised, cut the entrance on a side with a ledge in front of it (from the plywood or stacked objects) so the cat can jump up to it. Cut the exit somewhere with no ledge beneath it, so predators can’t easily access it.
For added warmth, staple or glue canvas drop cloth over the interior of each doorway.
, The plastic storage tub is already waterproof, letting you skip this step. If you are using plywood or lumber, or a doghouse, sand and paint it to protect it from rain.
For serious protection and further insulation, cover the roof with roofing material.
, A lumber cat house may be warm enough without this step, but any other material requires insulation. Line each wall by gluing on 1″ (2.5 cm) thick foam insulation board from a home improvement store. Leave a 3″ (7.5 cm) gap at the top of the walls. rest an additional piece of foam on top of the walls, to insulate the roof.
In areas with severe winter, consider using Mylar instead, which will reflect the cat’s body heat.You may line the floor with Mylar as well.
Cut the foam with a utility knife.
, Put in plenty of straw, without blocking the doorways, for cats to burrow in for additional warmth. If you don’t have straw, use pillowcases loosely stuffed with packing peanuts or shredded newspaper.Do not use hay, which absorbs moisture and can cause allergies.Do not use blankets, towels, or loose newspaper. These can absorb body heat and chill the cat.Some cats will eat packing peanuts, which can cause intestinal blockage.Double-bag them with pillowcases to minimize this risk.
, You can keep food inside the shelter, but water should be left outside to avoid spilling. Keep the water dish nearby.
In temperatures below freezing, use an electrically heated water dish. If you can’t afford one, use a ceramic or thick plastic dish and surround it with styrofoam.
, Invite feral cats into the shelter with a small amount of catnip just inside the entrance.