Winter is coming! That means all the ferals are looking for shelter to survive and you can help them out. If you have ferals near your home, you can easily make a cat shelter for them in an afternoon. Here's a DIY guide for you.
What you need to make a cat shelter
- One big plastic container
- A slightly smaller styrofoam box.
- A knife to cut the entrance, a hairdryer, a marker and a bit of duct tape.
- Finally some straw (not hay!) to insulate with. More on this later.
How it's done
Place the styrofoam box inside the plastic box. Place the styrofoam box with the lid ON THE BOTTOM (not as displayed in this image). That way, if water gets in, at least it wont run down the sides of the box, but will stay at the bottom.
Now draw a circle on the plastic box where you want the entrance to be. I regret making it too big. Cats don't need much space to get in and the bigger the hole, the more wind will get in. So make it smaller than I did and also place it just a bit higher maybe. IMPORTANT! Before you cut it, you need to warm up the plastic with a hairdryer or it will most likely break (speaking of experience here - doh!).
Now you can draw an entrance in the styrofoam box too. Simply draw a line that follows the hole in the plastic box. Draw a cat on the excess styrofoam for fun!
Put tape over the entrance in the plastic box, so the cats won't cut themselves on the sharp edges. If you want, you can tape the two boxes together to make sure the holes are always lined up. Your shelter is basically done, you just need to insulate it with straw. Put the straw inside the styrofoam box plus between the two boxes on the sides and on the top. Now it has to straw because hay picks up moist! The same goes for any type of fabric, so avoid putting blankets and the like in there. Put the lid on and you're done.
If you have cats of your own, they can test the shelter!
Now make a feral happy
When the shelter is thoroughly tested and approved you can put it outside. If possible find a secluded place where it's not too busy or windy. Change the straw now and them and also check on the straw between the boxes. Never put food inside the shelter where the cat is supposed to stay, as it will get messy. We put it on the balcony on top of our other cat shelter.
This year (2018) I covered it with a camouflage net to make it a bit more discrete. Sometimes the cats are more inclined to use a shelter if it's more hidden. I guess it feels more safe that way. I simply cut a line in the net in front of the entrance and weighed the net down with some rocks around the edges.
Watch the ferals use our DIY shelter in the video below.
Have fun making a cat shelter! If you want to build an even better shelter, I suggest you try this model.