DIY: Warm Winter Cat Houses

Pet cats living outside and stray & feral cats have a really hard time in winter—those low temperatures can be deadly.  If your neighborhood has cats living outside and if your living situation allows, here are some inexpensive, DIY shelters you can make to give them a warm, dry place to sleep.

Obviously, don’t place the house where a dog can get to it, or where your indoor cats can see it, if your cats are threatened by strange cats in their territory.  Seeing a strange cat outside can disturb indoor cats and trigger redirected aggression where they attack other cats in your house.  If there are predators like raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, etc. in the area, cut a hole in the front and the back of the shelter so cats have a way to escape.

styrofoamshelterThe Urban Cat League has several designs for easy, low-cost shelters.  The styrofoam cooler house is probably the easiest and cheapest shelter. (Find instructions & materials needed here.)  The shelter intentionally tilted so that in case any water gets inside, the high end stays dry for the cat.

____________________________________________________________

igloocoolershelterThe picnic cooler house is also pretty easy and used coolers can often be found at thrift stores and garage sales.  (Find instructions & materials needed here.)  This shelter will be quite durable.  It’s also tilted to the high end stays dry even if water gets inside.

____________________________________________________________

largetubshelterThe insulated storage bin house is lined with foam core insulation that’s moisture resistant and has a foil covered side to reflect body heat back towards the cat.  (Find instructions & materials needed here.)  This shelter has drainage holes for any water that might get inside.

____________________________________________________________

foilbackedinsulationshelterThe foam core insulation house is made by bolting together the rigid foam insulation using large washers.   (Find instructions & materials needed here.)  This design places the entrance higher to keep bedding inside.  It also has drainage holes.

____________________________________________________________

2tubshelterThe Ian Somerhalder Foundation (yes, that Ian Somerhalder) has a design for an insulated 2 bin house.  This is another easy one that doesn’t take much work or require many tools.  They also suggest lining the inner compartment with a mylar blanket to reflect the cat’s body heat.  These blankets are found in the sporting or camping section of discount stores.

____________________________________________________________

insulatedcondoshelterThis insulated condo won’t win any beauty contests, but it is clever, low cost, and easy to make.  The exterior is rigid foam insulation glued together with heavy-duty construction adhesive.  Two storage bins serve as the inner compartments.

7 thoughts on “DIY: Warm Winter Cat Houses

  1. This is a fantastic idea! I have 2 wonderful kitty girls who HATE each other with a vicious HATRED!! One of them must live indoors; the other does very well outdoors. I will make one of these great shelters for that one! All winter long I stress about her getting too cold. Once she gets a house like this, I’ll be able to relax. Thanks!

  2. Great idea! We have lots of feral cats at the office. We have fixed them all, but I want to protect them in the winter.

  3. These look wonderful but how practical are they in areas where there’s 12″ of snow is the norm? Thank you.

  4. We have a feral kitty who has been around for five years. Having a few (4) of her abandoned kitties plus 3 more inside keeps us in cats, as the indoor ones NEVER go out. During the winter we have arranged one of our potted trees to become her home. It’s tucked up on the porch, has a blanket attached to PVC poles with clips, and the inner liner is a mylar blanket, and warm fuzzy towels to sleep on. To keep her toasty, a 40W bulb in a reflector globe is attached to one of the branches, and aimed down at her. Yes…she sleeps with the light shinning on her, but she’s smart, and stays warm!

  5. I used a storage bin turned it upside down,filled the bottom with leaves and then hay and stuffed it with straw,I use an old rabbit hutch on legs put it over the bin and then wrapped in tarp,and made an opening for the cat.She is a wild cat and she sleeps in it all the time, I blocked the back off with small pieces of wood and leaves which has kept it dry.I used what I had and it worked with the single digits temp we have had.

  6. Wonderful ideas everyone of them!! I have a set up now that allows me to sleep well on a cold wintery night, knowing that I have heated pads and a heated cat house plus straw, I don’t use blankets because they get wet and stay frozen and then the cats get stuck to them, no,straw is the very best because it also retains the heat around the cat, the cat is able to burrow into the straw, and it drys with the warmth of the cat therefore warming the cat. I hope that alot of people/animal lovers out there that will do this DIY warm house for the outdoor strays so none have to suffer at all!! God Bless those of you who do ‘ go the extra mile’ for our un- loved and un-wanted cats and kittens!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>