27 CREATIVE WAYS TO HELP ANIMAL SHELTERS
Want to help your local shelter but aren’t sure where to start? Try donating DIY cat toys, hosting a cat fashion show, or knitting blankets. The pawsibilities are endless.
10 Awesome Outdoor Cat House Ideas
No matter the time of the year, feral and stray cats can struggle with finding a warm place to crash for the night — and unfortunately there are just too many of them for all of them to find safe, warm forever homes.
While spaying, neutering, and cat adoption are critical to solving the problem of feral cats long term, many cat lovers take the extra step of buying or building outdoor shelters for the feral cats in their neighborhood — especially during wintertime.
Check out these outdoor shelter ideas for feral cats, and get inspired to make a homeless cat’s life more comfortable and safe.
10 GREAT OUTDOOR Shelter ideas for stray or feral cats
1. Easy DIY shelter made from a flowerpot
The folks at Bushwick Street Cats help further their mission to serve the feral cat population by teaching people how to make winter shelters out of a plastic storage bin and a flowerpot. Check out the DIY instructions.
2. Insulated, straw-lined DIY feral cat shelter
For very cold conditions, Neighborhood Cats has a DIY guide to create an ultra-warm shelter out of Styrofoam and linoleum tiles. Latex deck paint makes it cheerful-looking while sealing out the elements. See how to make one.
3. Ultra-deluxe heated cat House
Not the DIY type? You can still help feral cats stay warm with this outdoor heated cat house from Cozy Winters. Two exits help make sure cats won’t get trapped by predators. Check it out.
4. Cat mansion made from wood pallets
Give feral cats an outdoor shelter—in style! If you’re up for a more serious carpentry project, this A-frame made from recycled pallets will keep feral cats safe from the elements while looking great in your yard. (Note—you’ll have to add insulation to make this shelter suitable for outdoor cats in the winter.) See how on Pinterest.
5. Super-cozy, super-easy DIY cat shelter
A jumbo-sized clear plastic bin is the foundation for this winter cat shelter. Loaded up with straw for insulation, this shelter will ensure cozy days and nights for your neighborhood feral cats. See how it’s done.
6. Converted doghouse
Halfway between a premade and DIY solution, plywood and straw turn this sturdy doghouse into the perfect winter shelter for feral cats. Take a look.
7. Best-ever use for your picnic cooler
Instead of tossing the cooler in the basement once beach season is over, why not convert it into a winter home for feral cats? (Hint: cat shelter experts suggest using straw instead of blankets for extra warmth and water-resistance.) Get step-by-step instructions.
8. Adorable outdoor cat hotel
Why not get a winter cat shelter that’s as cute as the cats inside it? The KatKabin is a sturdy, waterproof structure with an insulated floor, best for locations with more mild winters. Check it out.
9. Ultra-simple Styrofoam cat shelter
All you need is a Styrofoam cooler, a box cutter, some straw, and a few boards to create this simple, effective feral cat shelter. Ask a local restaurant or medical office to donate a heavy-duty Styrofoam coolers—they usually end up in the trash, anyway. Read all the tips for making it work.
10. Totally tubular outdoor cat shelter
Another option for those looking for a premade feral cat shelter, the Kitty Tube is fully insulated and comes in a “feral option” with straw bedding instead of a standard fabric cat bed. Find it on Amazon.
Be sure to place your outdoor cat shelter in a location that’s protected from dogs and other predators, and keep the entrance clear of debris (like snow) so cats don’t get trapped inside. And, of course, provide food and water for the feral cats who use your shelter. Whether you buy your shelter or make it, feral cats will thank you.
PLEASE change these to include emergency exits( 2 doors )! I learned the hard way when the feral cat I made a shelter for was attacked inside by a Tom……..she managed to get away after spraying liquid diarreah all over the interior……but not all will get out unscathed. Coyotes, fox, raccoons, dogs & other cats all pose a risk
Little Feral cat I have been feeding is Afraid of people and was part of family thatwas hurt by a neighbor. I use a cat igloo from Petsmart with opening on my porch facing a brick wall. The kitty can get into it from the top but not a larger animal. She prefers to crawl up under a VW bus in my neighbors back yard that is stored. Not warm for winter so thinking of a way to get her into a warm basement where human activity might discourage predators. The crawl space did attract a an animal before we put foam insulation into it but not since. it has a wire fence to separate it from the basement. Water heater and dryer and large heating system provide a good winter refuge. old 1950 window that can easily have a pain removed might be useful when using a long cardboard tube from a home improvement store. They can be large in diameter and TuffSTuff around the opening and the tube keep cold out and that is also used on other basement windows. Have shelves in this basement and many options for a good place to take a nap. Even the stairs are popular with my own cats. I would like to take cat to vet for shots since she has caused a virus with my cats and they are doing well at this point and I assume she is probably survived that virus. Keep this in mind when you expose your cats to abandoned kitties.
, access to shelfs and boxes and cabinets that I use for tools, supplies of all sorts and closed boxes. Lots of good places to lie down and cozy up. So Hopefully I can protect the kitty is she is brave enough to come inside.
Thank you for posting this. I see all these wonderful and helpful you tube clips for building a winter cat house but very few talk about two “doors”. I get it, the object is to keep them warm but I have a few feral cats that come around and I know there will be a time when more than one wants in. The only tip I have is to make sure the two entrances are not perfectly across from each other so to avoid a wind tunnel.
You can also hang material in overlapping slats over each opening. If the cat house is made of wood you can put plastic cat doors….I did that on a house inside a cold barn
YES LORI, THANK YOU FOR POINTING THAT OUT! There MUST be an exit! If not, your setting the cat up for murder by a predator or another angry cat. i use outdoor double sided tape and take the plastic from a sheet or blanket set (because its on the thicker side)to make a flap to cover all openings and my ferals love it! Is anyone else mad at God for allowing cats to get pregnant so many times a year, cuz i AM and Im not religious!!
The second door can be as small as they can squeeze through. It doesn’t need to be big and accommodating. This helps retain heat too.
While it won’t help with mean Toms, designs that get them up off the ground (but very stable) can help a lot with raccoons, dogs, coyotes, ect. A 3 foot leap up with about a 1 foot square landing pad/porch will defeat most of those. Too small for dogs, raccoons are great climbers but can’t jump well, etc.
you are so very kind! Bless you!
any tips on where to place these? I want to make some for the feral cats around my block and neighborhood but there’s dogs around and I can’t put the shelters on the sidewalk, so I want to help them but I don’t know how
I made a home out of a storage container and filled it with straw. The cat lived in it, I wanted to place a heating pad in it and the cat will not go in the house. I had to change it back before she would get out of the cold but why?
See how on Pinterest? Now there’s useless information.