Building Winter Shelters for Community Cats – Alley Cat Advocates
It is possible to construct a winter shelter for your outside cats that is both simple and affordable. The following are two of the most common designs:
- Packaging made of Styrofoam, such as that used to carry perishable food and medical goods
- RubbermaidTM storage containers, for example, are made of plastic and have detachable lids.
When constructing a shelter, here are a few basic ideas to keep in mind.
All effective shelter designs have two characteristics in common:
- In order to trap body heat, effective insulation is required, which transforms the cats into little radiators. Instead of hay or blankets, straw should be used. There is very little air space within, which means that less heat is required to keep the people warm.
The size of the shelter is really essential.
- A single or two cats can provide enough heat for a smaller shelter. More spacious facilities that just have a single cat or two inside will stay frigid. Two smaller shelters are preferable than a single large shelter. Don’t underestimate the quantity of cats that exist in your neighborhood. One or two may be seen at a time, but there are most likely more. Make an effort to provide more shelter area than you anticipate being required
When it comes to keeping cats safe from predators, the location of shelters is critical.
- As a precaution, if dogs are a danger, build your shelter behind a fence so that the dogs cannot get in. Make the entrance to the house face a wall so that only cats can get in or out. It is essential that all shelters and feeding stations are out of sight, no matter how nice the surrounding environment appears to be.
It is not recommended to set the shelter directly on the chilly ground. Raising it off the ground with two 2x4s or other materials will allow you to pile straw below it. Because of this, the cats have an easier time heating the inside with their body heat. Reduce the size of the door as much as feasible. Cats just want an aperture that is approximately five and a half or six inches in diameter, or about the breadth of their whiskers, to be comfortable.
- Using a tiny entrance inhibits larger, more aggressive creatures from entering, such as raccoons. A narrower hole allows for more heat to be retained. If an escape door is required, avoid cutting holes that are exactly across from each other since this will produce a draft.
Place the door a few inches above the level of the surrounding ground.
- A door that is above ground level will not be splashed by rain. When it snows, it is less probable that the cats may become trapped by blocking an above-ground entryway.
An awning that covers the opening, constructed of roll plastic or thick plastic waste bags, gives greater insulation, helps to keep the rain and wind from entering the shelter, and helps to make the cats feel secure. Avoid the back of the shelter slightly higher than the front of the shelter to keep rain from pooling inside and snow from building up on the roof. Preventing moisture
- Rainwater can be channeled away from the shelter through a tiny hole bored into the side or bottom of the structure. The use of a sloped roof may help deter predators from using the roof as a stalking platform.
Despite its little weight, lightweight shelters must be secured against the wind.
- Place a pair of flat barbell weights weighing between five and ten pounds on the floor of the shelter beneath the mattress. Place hefty, flat boulders or pavers/bricks on the lid or the top of the container. Two shelters should be placed side by side with their doors facing each other, with a thick board placed on top of both shelters — this will weigh the shelters down and offer a covered entryway
The cats’ comfort and warmth will be enhanced by the use of insulating materials within the shelter itself.
- If you want to employ insulation, only materials that cats may burrow into should be used. Blankets, towels, flat newspapers, and other materials that absorb moisture should not be utilized. They will actually make the cat colder since they will absorb the heat from the cat’s body. Straw is an excellent insulating material to employ. Straw is preferable to hay because it has a greater ability to absorb moisture and is less susceptible to mold and decay. Only if the shelter can be examined on a regular basis to determine whether the insulation materials have become wet or unclean and should be replaced should they be utilized. Additionally, do not install water dishes within the shelter since they may be knocked over
One of our favorite designs uses two storage bins with removable lids.
As a result, an earth-tone bin is more visually pleasant to you and your neighbors, and it appears more natural to the cats since it mixes in better with the surrounding environment. Container sizes that are commonly used include 30-35 gallon (22-32 inches high x 16-20 inches wide x 16-20 inches long) and 20-22 gallon (16-26 inches high x 20 inches wide and 17-22 inches long). Because exact measurements vary from brand to brand, be sure that the smaller bin will fit entirely within the bigger bin while both bins are closed with their lids on.
In order to assemble:
- One of the long sides of the bin, towards the corner, should have a six-inch-by-six-inch opening cut into it. To prevent flooding, cut the hole so that the bottom of the doorway is several inches above the ground. A piece of Styrofoam will be used to line the floor of the bin, and the piece will be cut using the yardstick and box cutter. It is not need to be an exact match, but the closer the match, the better
- The Styrofoam should be lined along each of the bin’s inner walls in the same way as it was along the outside walls. Perfect cuts are not required in this instance. Three inches should be left on top of these Styrofoam “wall pieces” between them and the top of the bin’s upper lip. The doorway in the Styrofoam internal wall should match the one that has previously been cut out in the storage container. Measure the length and breadth of the inside area, and then insert a second, smaller-size bin into the open interior space to complete the measurement. This container should be as close to the Styrofoam wall pieces as feasible in order to be effective. Create a gateway into this container where the entrances into the Styrofoam and outside bin have already been created
- Pile straw or other insulating material (but not blankets or towels!) in the bottom of the inside bin to give insulation as well as a comfy place to lie down
- Make a “roof” out of Styrofoam that will lay on top of the Styrofoam wall sections. The lid of the trashcan should be closed
By removing the lid and the roof, it is simple to clean this sheltered area. It is a lightweight item that may require additional weighting. The use of a flap over the doorway is entirely optional.
The provision of winter shelter is essential for feral and stray cats living in cold climates, as it allows them to survive and thrive despite the freezing temperatures. It is intended that the examples provided here serve as examples of inexpensive DIY shelters that can be constructed in a matter of hours or less. All of the designs have three important characteristics in common: they are well insulated, have minimal air space, and are waterproof. They must be well-insulated in order to retain the cats’ body heat, have a minimum amount of air space so that there isn’t too much empty space to heat up, and be waterproof in order to keep the interior dry.
More information on winter preparation can be found at how to keep water from freezing. Check out your local options for purchasing pre-fabricated winter shelters and straw if you are a caretaker in the New York City area.
Neighborhood Cats Winter Shelter
Neighborhood Cats was developed in New York City, which is known for its frigid winters in the Northeast. The first person to teach us how to make a winter shelter was Karin Hancock of Port Jefferson, New York, who showed us how to transform a Styrofoam sheet used for wall insulation into a beautiful winter shelter that can easily accommodate three or four cats. A single sheet (8 ft long, 2 ft wide, and 2 in. thick) is cut into all of the components required from a single piece of material. Installing adhesive linoleum tiles on the floor is followed by applying silicone glue to the joints to hold everything together.
This sanctuary has seen a lot of cats through some very difficult winters!
It is advised that you use a table saw to chop up the Styrofoam so that the edges are straight.
CSM Stray Foundation Winter Shelter
With this concept, which was inspired by the CSM Stray Foundation, you can transform a robust storage container (like as theHusky Heavy Duty 54 Gallon Storage Tote) into a cozy winter hideout. The inside walls, floor, and ceiling are lined with pieces of 1 inch thick Styrofoam that were cut from a sheet that was 8 feet long by 2 feet wide and chopped into pieces. Because precise edges are not required, the pieces may be cut by hand without causing damage. Stuffing straw into the bottom and cutting a hole on the side complete the construction.
Build in accordance with the directions (photo by Carole Milker, CSM Stray Foundation).
Feralvilla (for purchase)
Feralvilla makes the most popular outdoor cat shelter on the market, the Feralvilla Cat Shelter. Built of wood composite, it comes pre-primed for painting and can be put together in 15 to 30 minutes with only a screwdriver. There are two levels of difficulty. Cats enter the lower level from the outside and then climb up via an inner aperture to reach the fully insulated top floor through which they entered. The use of shingles on the roof is optional. LP’s SmartSide is a wood composite material that is ecologically friendly and employs a low-toxicity glue to bond the fibers together to form a composite material.
Styrofoam shipping boxes
Perishable goods such as meat and fish are frequently delivered in Styrofoam containers. The containers that are used to export Omaha steaks are a good illustration of this. Supermarkets, seafood markets, and butcher shops are all good places to find Styrofoam shipment boxes. Even vaccinations are packaged in them, so your veterinarian may be a useful source as well.. These well-insulated boxes may be quickly and cheaply converted into winter homes for stray cats: (1) Using a utility knife or box cutter, cut a 6-inch-by-6-inch doorway into one of the box’s short sides, allowing the box to expand.
(2)Use silicone glue to permanently connect the top cover to the main body of the box. Waterproofing will be provided by the silicone used to seal the shelter’s lid. (3)To hide and better protect the shelter, paint it with a coat of deck paint in a color that matches its surroundings.
An suitable temporary shelter can be swiftly constructed when time is of the importance, such as when a severe storm or unexpected cold snap is expected to arrive shortly afterward. Duct tape and shredded newspaper are required, as is a cardboard box, a plastic drop cloth that is at least three millimeters thick or contractor trash bags that are three millimeters thick, and a drop cloth that is at least three millimeters thick. Follow these steps to get started: (1) Begin by taping all of the seams of the cardboard box together using duct tape.
- (2)Use the drop cloth or garbage bags to thoroughly cover the box, ensuring that there are as few seams as possible.
- The shelter will become waterproof as a result of this.
- Duct tape can be used to hold the loose plastic in place around the aperture you just created.
- Burrowing into the newspaper will provide the kitties with additional warmth.
- This will provide additional insulation.
- When placing your cardboard shelter, try to locate it behind anything that will provide protection, such as a porch or tree.
- Weigh down the shelter with a large boulder or a few bricks, but don’t use anything too heavy that it will destroy the roof.
The location and design of your cat shelters can have a significant impact on whether or not your feline patients choose to utilize them. For starters, locate the shelters in areas where the cats are already accustomed to visiting, such as near their feeding station or in an area where they are known to congregate. Placement near the feeding station has the advantage of decreasing the distance the cats have to travel to eat when it is snowing or otherwise inclement weather occurs. Do not place the shelters in the open, such as in the middle of a yard or lot, but rather under or against something, such as a building, fence, tree, porch, shrub, or any other form of overhanging structure.
- The front entrances of two shelters should be facing one other, and they should be roughly one and a half feet apart.
- Cover the space between them with a board that spans their roofs (as seen in the photo above) to prevent wind, snow, and rain from getting through.
- If you want to go this route, be certain that the shelters are solid and will not wobble when elevated.
- Placing bricks or other heavy things on the tops of your shelters will help to weigh them down if they are constructed of lightweight materials, such as Styrofoam.
Encourage your cats to begin using the shelters by distributing catnip around the perimeter of the building.
Interior insulating materials
Providing your cats with the opportunity to burrow into the insulating materials you’ve put within their shelters can keep them warmer and cozier. Straw is an excellent choice since it is loose, dry, and provides additional insulation. It is also possible to use shredded newspaper. What you should avoid placing on the floor are goods such as towels, blankets, folded newspapers, and other such items that are lying flat. When cats sleep on top of these materials, their body heat is sucked out, resulting in them being colder rather than warmer.
- Unlike straw, hay should never be used as an insulating material because, unlike straw, it attracts and retains moisture.
- A variety of big garden retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s, have straw for purchase.
- Another alternative is to look for retailers, restaurants, and banquet halls that utilize bales of straw to decorate their fall displays.
- You may also get a 4 lb.
- There is a free delivery option available.
- Wrapping Snuggle Safe Microwave Heat Pads in fabric and putting them into the shelter is another option to offer warmth.
- The Snuggle Safe pads may also be used to keep water from freezing in the event of a power outage.
- When a cat lies down on it, the peanuts will mold to her shape and envelope her in insulating warmth.
- Using a plastic bag, seal the peanuts to keep them from getting wet and melting away.
Extreme cold (Mylar blankets)
Shelters may be made warmer by covering the inner walls, floor, and ceiling with Mylar blankets, which are especially useful in far northern locations where extreme cold is typically the norm throughout the winter. Body heat is trapped and reflected back to its source by mylar, which is a thin polyester material. The most popular application for Mylar blankets is in winter survival packs, where wrapping one over one’s body may keep one warm in freezing weather conditions. Their cost is low, generally less than a $1 or two per item, and they may be purchased from a number of sellers on Amazon.
Weldbond glue may be found on Amazon by searching for it. Make sure any slack material at the seams is tucked in so that the cats aren’t tempted to tug or chew on it.
In order to keep cold air out and warm air in, a cover, or flap, over the entryway of your shelter is recommended. A piece of strong vinyl or rubber, such as a car’s floor mat, would suffice. The material must be thick enough to give some insulation while yet being lightweight enough for the cats to readily pull or push it open with their claws and claws. The method through which the flap is fastened will vary depending on the type of material used to construct the shelter. Drill two holes through the mat and above the doorway with a Styrofoam drill bit, and then place plastic nuts and bolts, such as those used to attach toilet seats to toilets, into the holes.
Alternatively, duct tape can be used to connect the flap, at least temporarily.
Otherwise, they may be discouraged from entering and investigating the space.
How to Build an Outdoor Shelter
In every state and country in the United States, as well as around the world—including right in your own neighborhood—cats live outside. All of these community cats are seasoned outdoor dwellers that flourish in their outside enclosures. Cats might be grateful for your assistance at times, such as when winter arrives and the cold weather strikes. You may provide a hand, just like millions of others have done before you, by constructing warm outdoor shelters for the displaced people. Even though cats are hardy creatures, providing them with an outdoor cat shelter where they can sleep, relax, warm up, and remain protected might make life in the great outdoors a little more bearable.
Here’s how you go about it: Check out ourCat Tips: DIY Outdoor Cat Sheltervideo on YouTube for more information.
What You’ll Need
- Large plastic tub (about 30 gallons)
- Tiny plastic tub (roughly 20 gallons)
- Box cutter
- Straw (NOT hay)
- Permanent marker
- A pair of scissors
- The use of a hair dryer
- Styrofoam slab that is thin and long
- Choose a plastic flowerpot that is not too narrow at the bottom, as this will be used as an entrance later on.
This is just one example of the many different kinds of outdoor cat shelters you may give. Check visit the Shelter Gallery at alleycat.org/Shelter for many more ideas on how to build an outdoor cat shelter yourself or buy one pre-built. As reported by Fox5.com Good morning, Washington, D.C.
How To Build A Feral Cat Shelter
There are millions of stray and wild cats roaming the streets of the world. They are fighting for their lives and are only able to eat once a day. Removing them is unlikely to “resolve” any concerns because others will rapidly move into the established area if they are not removed first. However, there are some fortunate felines that live in wild cat colonies and are cared for by kind and kind people. They are fed on a regular basis and gradually gain the confidence of their carers. These cats, on the other hand, require protection from the weather.
The weatherproof feral cat shelter we built is one of the easiest ways to help keep our furry friends protected from the elements.
This is the source code that we utilized to create this version. When you only have one cat or if you have mom and infants, an 18 gallon tote is the perfect size for you. Knife– Please use a box cutter with a protective case and have an adult complete this step for your safety and protection. Take care to ensure that the Styrofoam cooler fits inside the tote you’re using! Straw should ALWAYS be used rather than hay.
Hay absorbs moisture, which causes the shelter to become chilly and damp, and it can also cause mold to grow. It is also recommended that you avoid using materials such as blankets and towels, which will absorb and retain moisture. Image courtesy of commons.wikimedia.com
ALWAYS Remember to have an adult supurrvise when using knives; Be SAFE!
1. Create a hole with a diameter of 5 1/2″ on one end, making sure that it is raised off the ground but not too high so that kittens may get into it if necessary. **TIP: Before cutting, preheat the plastic with a hair dryer to ensure a smoother slice. 2. Insert the Styrofoam cooler inside the tote and cut an opening to match the opening in the bag’s lid. 3. If desired, place straw for a bed on the inside of the cooler’s floor and between the cooler and the tote to provide additional insulation.
Replace the Styrofoam lid and secure it with the tote lid, and you’re finished!
Here are a few other tips/options/considerations for this type of cat shelter.
To melt any sharp points on jagged edges, have an adult use a hair drier or a lighter to soften the edges. Leaving a smooth edge can help to prevent cats from becoming injured. Instead of straw, other materials such as Styrofoam, insulating board, or matting can be used. Using this method, you may mold the insulation into bigger or “strange” shaped containers that can be used. When we were purchasing the storage containers, we reasoned that for a few dollars extra, we could create a super-sized version that would be able to accommodate a couple more cats.
What Cat Man Chris done for a MEGA shelter at one of the colonies he feeds may be seen in the video above.
Some people may choose not to do so because it significantly reduces the amount of insulation in the shelter.
Bear in mind that cats are still apprehensive about having to walk through plastic at first.
There are many different options when it comes to building an outdoor feral cat shelter.
This is the simplest and most straightforward recipe out there, and we’ve made it hundreds of times. Even if it is not the finest, it will more than suffice to keep a few wild or stray cats warm over the winter. Or cool in the Florida sun…and shade, to be more precise! There are also some fantastic possibilities for purchase as well. Nonetheless, the most essential thing you can do is purrlease DO SOMETHING!! If you are aware of any feral or stray cats in your region who may benefit from a winter shelter to remain warm, please take action immediately.
Thanks fur learning how to make a difference and remember to be nice to feral cats
Check out this video for additional information about cat trapping!
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10 Outdoor Cat Houses
Returning to the abode Feral and stray cats sometimes struggle to find a comfortable spot to rest their heads at night, no matter what time of year it is. Unfortunately, there are simply too many of them for all of them to find secure, warm permanent homes. While spaying, neutering, and cat adoption are all important steps in long-term solutions to the problem of feral cats, many cat lovers go the extra mile by purchasing or building outdoor shelters for the feral cats in their neighborhood — especially during the winter months — to provide them with a safe haven.
Examine the following outdoor cat shelter ideas for inspiration on how to make a homeless cat’s life more comfortable and safe on your property.
10 GREAT OUTDOOR Shelter ideas for stray or feral cats
A winter shelter made of a plastic storage container and a flowerpot is being taught by the folks at Bushwick Street Cats, who are working to enhance their objective of serving the wild cat population in the neighborhood. Take a look at the step-by-step instructions.
2. Insulated, straw-lined DIY feral cat shelter
Neighborhood Cats provides a DIY tutorial for creating an ultra-warm shelter out of Styrofoam and linoleum tiles for cats living in really cold climates. Latex deck paint gives it a lively appearance while also protecting it from the weather. Find out how to create one.
3. Ultra-deluxe heated cat House
Not the do-it-yourself type? With this outside heated cat housing from Cozy Winters, you may continue to assist stray cats in staying warm. Predators will not be able to catch cats if there are two exits available. Take a look at it.
4. Cat mansion made from wood pallets
Provide outdoor refuge for stray cats in a fashionable manner! A more serious carpentry project, such as this A-frame fashioned from salvaged pallets, would keep stray cats protected from the weather while also looking wonderful in your backyard. (Please note that you will need to add insulation to this shelter in order to make it acceptable for outside cats in the winter.) See how it’s done on Pinterest.
5. Super-cozy, super-easy DIY cat shelter
For this winter cat shelter, a large, clear plastic container serves as the core of operations. This shelter, which is filled with straw for insulation, will provide your neighborhood’s wild cats with comfortable days and nights. Take a look at how it’s done.
6. Converted doghouse
Wood and straw transform this robust doghouse into the ideal winter home for wild cats, bridging the gap between a ready-made and a do-it-yourself alternative. Take a look at this.
7. Best-ever use for your picnic cooler
Wood and straw transform this robust doghouse into the ideal winter home for wild cats, bridging the gap between a ready-made and a do-it-yourself project. Please have a look at the attached document.
8. Adorable outdoor cat hotel
Wood and straw transform this strong doghouse into the ideal winter home for wild cats, bridging the gap between a ready-made and a do-it-yourself option. Take a look at what I mean.
9. Ultra-simple Styrofoam cat shelter
In order to build this basic yet efficient wild cat shelter, you will just need a Styrofoam cooler, a box cutter, some straw, and a few boards at hand. Inquire with a nearby restaurant or medical office about donating a heavy-duty Styrofoam cooler—they’re normally thrown away anyhow. Read over all of the suggestions for making it work.
10. Totally tubular outdoor cat shelter
For those seeking for a readymade feral cat shelter, the Kitty Tube is a good alternative. It is fully insulated and comes in a “feral variant,” which includes straw bedding instead of a conventional fabric cat bed, making it an excellent choice. You may get it on Amazon. Make sure to locate your outdoor cat shelter in an area that is safe from dogs and other predators, and to maintain the entrance free of material (such as snow) so that cats do not become trapped within the shelter itself.
And, of course, you should give food and water for any wild cats that come into your refuge. Whether you purchase or build your shelter, wild cats will appreciate your efforts.
WONDERING WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A FERAL CAT?
For those seeking for a readymade feral cat shelter, the Kitty Tube is a good alternative. It is fully insulated and comes in a “feral version,” which includes straw bedding instead of a conventional fabric cat bed, making it ideal for feral cats. On Amazon, you can find it. Remember to locate your outdoor cat shelter in a safe area away from dogs and other predators, and maintain the entrance free of material (such as snow) to prevent cats from being trapped within. Provide food and water for any wild cats that come into your shelter, of course.
- Build shelters for your wild cats that will remain dry and accessible in all weather. It is recommended that you build your dwellings on stilts (as shown in the video) if your location receives a lot of snow or rain. This will prevent the doors from becoming buried by heavy snowfall and water from entering your home during strong summer rainfall, respectively. In your cat homes, make sure there are two entrances. Cats require a simple escape path so that predators and bully cats cannot readily trap them in their homes
- Otherwise, they would become prey. Make sure the homes of your cats are easily accessible to you. Build your wild cat shelters so that you can easily get in and out of them to clean them every year or to assist an injured cat if the situation calls for it. Make any necessary repairs and replace the straw before it becomes too chilly. Cats are not particularly fond of change, so allow your cats plenty of time to become used to the new scents before winter arrives. Provide your cats with access to fresh water, which is a precious item in cold weather. A heated water dish ($20-30) provides for unfrozen water all year round, regardless of the weather. (See this page for further information on how to keep wild cats’ water from freezing.)
Feral cats frequently go unrecognized and uncared for in neighborhoods and industrial regions, causing their population to balloon to uncontrollable proportions, resulting in complaints and the imposition of harsh measures. Maintaining a healthy colony and using TNR will ensure that the cats are as happy and healthy as they can possibly be. Ensuring that they do not breed any more cats will also help to keep your neighbors pleased.
Winter Shelter Bins for Community Cats FAQ
Simple foam cooler containers may be transformed into simple and affordable winter homes for the local cats in your area with a little imagination. Is it truly as straightforward as it appears? It is, in fact, true! An opening may be readily made in the foam cooler with a knife or box cutter because it is watertight and insulated, and it is just approximately two inches thick. Another nice choice is a Rubbermaid container, which is shown farther down on this page. These should be double-insulated, and you may put weights in the bottom to make them more sturdy.
Most Commonly Asked Questions
Simple foam cooler containers may be transformed into simple and affordable winter homes for the local cats in your area with a little imagination…. It appears to be straightforward on the surface, but is this actually true? You are absolutely correct. An opening may be readily made in the foam cooler with a knife or box cutter because it is watertight and insulated, and it is just around two inches in thickness. Another nice alternative is a Rubbermaid container, which is shown farther down on this page.
- Placing a pair of flat barbell weights weighing 5 to 10 pounds on the shelter’s floor beneath the mattress can help. Heavy, flat rocks or pavers/bricks should be placed on the lid (some people use Liquid Nails to put the rocks in place)
- Two shelters should be placed side by side with their doors facing each other, with a thick board placed on top of both shelters — this will weigh the shelters down and offer a covered entryway
Lie down on the shelter’s floor beneath the bedding and place a few 5- to 10-pound flat barbell weights on top of them. Heavy, flat rocks or pavers/bricks should be placed on the lid (some people use Liquid Nails to attach the rocks on). Two shelters should be placed side by side with their doors facing each other, with a huge board placed on top of both shelters to help weigh them down and offer a covered entryway;
Build Your Own DYI Feral Cat Shelter
- Posted on March 28, 2015, in Blog, Boston, Brewster, Dedham, News
Help keep them safe by building a simple DIY cat shelter in your yard
A “feral” cat is characterized as a cat that has had little or no human contact since it was a young kitten. Many were once domestic cats that had been lost or abandoned, and they were re-homed. For the most part, these cats are still reliant on their human carers for food and shelter. Learn more about feral cats by visiting their website. Some feral cat colonies seek refuge under sheds and in unoccupied buildings, where they can survive the winter. These cats are at risk of being killed or injured while living in these constructions since their safety is often in doubt.
DIY shelters are affordable and straightforward to construct.
You may learn how to make your own wild cat shelter by watching this video: What if I told you…
Every year, the ARL provides free spay and neuter TNR (catch, neuter, and release) clinics to feral cat carers in the greater Boston area.
Cats are also provided with immunizations and other veterinary procedures in addition to spay/neuter services at the clinic. More information on the ARL’s TNR clinics may be found at www.arlboston.org/fix-a-feral/index.html.
7 Ways To Convince Feral Cats to Take Shelter
First and foremost, I’d want to express my gratitude to everyone who has taken the effort to construct a feral cat shelter. Weatherproofing is essential, especially during the colder months, and your consideration will undoubtedly save a great number of lives over the course of the winter season. For those of you who haven’t yet built a shelter for your local feral colony, here’s some advice. Take a look at this little film. It’s an easy, reasonably priced strategy that might be used by even the most inexperienced of builders.
7 Ways to Convince Cats to Take Shelter
Now, for those of you who are ready to furnish your finished shelter, you’re undoubtedly wondering how you’ll go about convincing wild cats that it’s a secure place to hang out and relax. Feral cats require your assistance at all times of the year.
7. Use a Discreet Location
Let’s speak about where to put things. You’ll want to position your shelter such that the front of it is facing away from the elements (wind, rain, snow). A secluded site is great for keeping the cats safe while also keeping any neighbors who may not be in favor of wild cats satisfied. According to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, “a well-protected feeding station may make all the difference in places that receive a lot of snow.” Similarly to the temporary shelter, make sure snow is cleared away from covered feeding stations to ensure that all cats can get the food without difficulty.
- The subject of placement is now up for discussion: Your shelter should be positioned such that the front of it is facing away from the wind, rain, and snow. If you want to keep the cats secure while also keeping any neighbors who may not be in favor of wild cats pleased, an inconspicuous site is excellent. Animal Rescue League of Iowa says that “a well-protected feeding station can make all the difference in locations that receive significant snowfall.” Similarly to the temporary shelter, make careful to brush snow away from covered feeding stations to ensure that all cats can get the food without difficulty.
Trap Neuter Release (TNR) methods should be practiced whenever possible.
6. Elevate the Shelter
It is not recommended to place the building directly on the ground. It becomes colder as a result, making it a more attractive prey for interested creatures. As a result, use leftover pallets or bricks to raise it four to six inches above the ground. It is possible to elevate the shelter only a few inches above the ground:
- The door is sealed to prevent rain from splashing up through the opening. Snow accumulation that may trap cats is reduced.
Young wild cats have limited chance of surviving if they do not have access to shelter.
The most important thing to do is to camouflage your shelter. The less attention it attracts, the better it is for you and me. Earth tones are an excellent choice for painting a room. Shelters should fit in with their surroundings so that they do not become an eyesore for their neighbors, according to Feral Cat Focus. Put some leaves or any kind of brush on them, or you may paint them a dark color.” Feral cats require protection from the weather during the winter months.
4. Use Straw Instead of Hay
Straw should be spread on the internal floor of the shelter in a healthy amount. Also, be certain that you’re using straw rather than hay! When hay is exposed to moisture, it molds, but straw is resistant to the weather and stays a viable and warm bedding material. A stray cat sanctuary in your community may be able to assist kitties in need.
3. Avoid Blankets
It’s tempting to put a nice blanket outdoors for any wild guests, but this is not the greatest idea in the long run.
According to Alley Cat Advocates, “blankets, towels, flat newspapers, and other similar materials absorb moisture and should not be utilized.” As a result, they absorb the cat’s body heat and actually make him colder.”
2. Make A Small Opening
Finally, in order to dissuade predators, maintain the aperture to the shelter no wider than six to eight inches in width at all times. The following are the recommendations of Feral Cat Focus:
- The pet shelter should have two openings so that predators and bully cats will not be able to easily trap the animals within. Each entrance should be equipped with a flap or shielded doorway to keep predators and the weather at bay. Otherwise, make certain that the door is facing away from the prevailing winds or toward a wall.
If you do these things, the wild cats will come in and seek refuge in your home! Perhaps not in large numbers to begin with, but remember that patience is a virtue. Before you realize it, your shelter will begin to exhibit signs of wear and tear, which will leave you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. A excellent feral cat shelter is one that is hidden, well-protected, and comfortable.
1. Consider a Feeding Station
You might be wondering to yourself right now: what about the food? It is unanimously agreed upon by the experts that food should not be kept in the cat shelter. Wild animals, on the other hand, find it tempting, and they’ll gladly disturb someone else’s snooze in order to get their hands on some of the treats. Instead, a feeding station for both food and water should be constructed. It is much more straightforward and takes less time than constructing your shelter. Find out how to do it!
Help Rescue Animals
Free food and supplies are available to shelter dogs through The Animal Rescue Site.
Shelter Dogs Can Barely Contain Their Excitement As They Pick Out Their Own Toy For Christmas
At The Animal Rescue Site, you may provide shelter creatures food and essential necessities for free!
- Ferals require shelter, bedding, size, maintenance, a doorway, protection from the elements, camouflage, and the ability to deter wildlife. Roughneck homes are ideal.
FERALS NEED SHELTER
Feral cats are content to be outside, but they could always use a little additional assistance during cold or severe weather. In cold weather, shelter is considerably more necessary for wild cats than food, making it the most critical factor in their survival. One of the most important responsibilities of a wild cat caretaker is to provide suitable winter housing. Despite the fact that cats are typically excellent at seeking shelter on their own, this might take them to locations that are potentially harmful for them or regions where the property owners do not want them.
- Feral cats require a safe, dry place to live in order to be protected.
- When it comes to winter, feral cats normally produce a protective coat, but the efficiency of their hair as insulation is considerably diminished if it becomes wet or frozen, and this can frequently result in hypothermia.
- Make sure there are adequate shelters for everyone.
- Cats rely on their own body heat to keep warm, so keep your shelters modest and only house a limited number of cats.
- For more densely inhabited colonies, several shelters of a larger size should be considered.
- There are many different sorts of shelters that you may construct or purchase ready-made.
If you install loose-fill insulating material within your shelter, it will be warmer and cozier. To allow for the cats to dig into and below the material, it must be dry and loose in texture. FOR FERAL CAT SHELTERS, STRAW, NOT HAY, IS RECOMMENDED. Despite the fact that straw and hay appear to be identical in appearance, they are vastly different when it comes to insulating your feral cat shelters. In animal feed, hay is employed because it attracts and keeps moisture, which you don’t want in your cat shelter.
- Straw, which is the dried stalks left over from harvesting crops, repels moisture, making it an excellent choice for keeping cats and other animals warm and comfortable during the winter.
- Straw is less susceptible to mildew and decay than other materials, and it does not provide a danger of an allergic reaction in cats.
- Consider splitting a bale of straw with other caretakers or enveloping your cats’ shelter with bales of straw to keep them warm.
- For information about availability, please contact Clyde’s –.
- It is not permissible to use anything that will contain moisture such as folded newspaper, blankets, towels, carpets, faux sheepskin, or any other material.
- Some caretakers sleep using Mylar thermal safety blankets, which are made of Mylar.
- Mylar blankets are affordable and may be obtained at locations such as Walmart, as well as survival and outdoor supply stores and online.
While you can use hardwood shavings (but not cedar or pine), it is important to remember that softwood shavings are not recommended owing to the possibility of toxicity.
When it comes to shelters, size counts. The cats’ body heat must be trapped by the shelter in order for the shelter’s inside to be heated. If the shelter is too large, it will be difficult for the cat’s body heat to maintain a comfortable temperature in the space. Cats provide body warmth to one another and will cuddle together in the cold to keep warm. It is recommended to have a room that is just big enough for three to five cats. A suitable shelter should be at least 2 × 3 feet in size and at least 18 inches high.
Shelters should be inspected on a regular basis to verify that they are of the highest possible condition and performance. It’s important to consider that some of the low-cost solutions will need to be examined and updated more regularly than some of the more permanent and professionally constructed shelters when making your decision. Changing the insulation materials on a regular basis is necessary to ensure that they remain dry.
- Make sure that the door is only big enough for cats to get in and out through. The door should be 6-8 inches wide in order to keep out bigger predators and wildlife. To prevent cold air from blowing in through the aperture, a flap or an L-shaped entryway should be installed. If neither of these options is feasible, make certain that the door is facing away from the prevailing winds or toward a wall. Place the entrance at one end of the room so that the cats may cluster at the other end of the room to get out of the wind
- It may be beneficial to provide additional protection from the weather as the cats become acclimated to their new home by installing a sturdy plastic or vinyl door flap at each entrance to your roughneck home as they become more accustomed to their new surroundings. Some cats will refuse to enter a shelter with just one exit because they believe they will be put in a vulnerable situation. It is possible that you will need to incorporate two openings in your cat shelter in order to prevent predators and bully cats from trapping them in their homes.
PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS
- It is possible to secure the safety of the cats by building shelters that are waterproof, windproof (particularly in cold areas), and high off the ground. Pallets from shipping companies, hardware stores, agricultural supply stores, and pet stores can be used to raise the height of the building. It is recommended that the space beneath the shelters be kept as dry as possible. Insulation is an useful substance to utilize in this situation
- Consider placing bales of straw around the perimeter of your cats’ enclosure.
TIP: Placing two shelters facing each other and placing a board on top of them to span the two roofs will help to break up the wind and provide greater protection from the rain.
Shelters should be designed to fit in with their surroundings in order to avoid becoming bothersome to their neighbors. Cover them with leaves or other brushwork, or paint them a dark color to make them stand out. Shifting cat shelters into woodland areas away from buildings, parking lots, and other high-traffic areas is also a good idea for the protection of the cats and to minimize complaints from nearby neighbors.
In the shelters you create for the cats, it is possible that wildlife will opt to make their home there. This problem may be resolved by narrowing the aperture of the shelter entrance to 6 inches wide. Use of repellants is not recommended because the majority of them will repel the cats as well. It has been suggested that some caretakers resort to providing more shelters and accept the possibility that some of the shelters would be exploited by wildlife.
The use of Rubbermaid Roughneck bags to offer a safe and secure refuge for wild cats has become more popular. Rubbermaid Roughneck is the best choice since it is long-lasting. This shelter is extremely effective and simple to construct. You may purchase huge pieces of Styrofoam insulation and trim them to size, or you can utilize a Styrofoam cooler to keep your food chilled. After that, just add some straw to help keep the kitties warm. OPTION 1: RUGGED NECK (holds 1-2 CATS) The shelter makes use of an 18-gallon Rubbermaid Tote and is best suited for one cat, while it may be able to accommodate two depending on the animals.
Check out these step-by-step directions for constructing an outside cat shelter that will keep your cat safe.
Have trouble cutting the plastic? Here’s how to do it. Try blowing hot air from a hairdryer on the area where you intend to cut to warm it up. When you use this method, the plastic becomes softer and simpler to cut through.
ROUGHNECK OPTION2 (holds 2-3 CATS)
The exterior box of the shelter is made up of a 36-gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck latching tote, while the inside box is made up of an 18-gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck latching tote. It can accommodate up to three cats. Insulate the inside of a 36-gallon container with Styrofoam insulation in Step 1. (or a large cooler) Using an 18-gallon container, insert it into the hole and fill it with straw (do not use hay) Step 3 – Place the container top on top of the 18-gallon container. Step 4 – Cover the top of the 18-gallon container with more Styrofoam insulation.
Here’s how to do it.
When you use this method, the plastic becomes softer and simpler to cut through.
Plastic Rubbermaid Roughneck latching totes are used for the outer and inner boxes, respectively. The outside box is a 36-gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck latching tote while the inside box is an 18-gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck. For 2-3 cats, it is a good size. Using Styrofoam insulation, line the interior of a 36-gallon container (or a large cooler) Measure 18-gallon container and fill to the brim with straw in Step 2. (do not use hay) Container lid should be used to cover the 18-gallon bucket. Additional Styrofoam insulation should be placed on top of the 18-gallon container in Step 4.
Here’s what you should do.
This softens the plastic, allowing it to be sliced more easily with less effort.
How to Help Feral Cats During Winter Weather
Winter is not a magical time of year for stray cats. Temperatures in the winter are stressful for outdoor pets, and they are especially difficult for homeless animals. We adore feral cats; our beloved Felix was once a stray, and we’ve had a special place in our hearts for these cats that require our assistance, particularly during the chilly winter months. Affiliate links are used in this article.
The Dangers of Winter Weather
In the same way that cold weather affects people, Dr. Christine Rutter, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, says that cold weather affects dogs as well. Dr. Rutter explained that “the bulk of cold weather-related disorders are caused by being exposed to the cold itself.” ‘In some climes, widespread hypothermia as well as frostbite of the toes, ears, lips, nose, and tail are definitely possible.’ According to her, hypothermia may lead pets to appear cognitively sluggish or antisocial, whereas frostbite manifests itself as swollen, red blisters on the skin.
While frostbite does not occur at a precise temperature, it is caused by a combination of factors such as very cold weather, heat loss, and reduced blood flow.
Listed below are some suggestions for assisting feral cats in surviving the winter storms–as well as preparing for TNR initiatives in advance of kitten season (which isn’t that far away!)
Provide shelter for feral cats.
Feral cats might find refuge in an old dog house that has been repurposed as a cozy shelter. (You may find free dog homes on websites such as FreeCycle; other sites such as NextDoor and Craigslist are also wonderful possibilities.) Smaller dog homes are frequently the best since the cat can heat the area with his or her body heat, but any dog house will serve to give shelter for the cat. Plastic storage bins that are weighted on the top can be lined with Styrofoam to provide insulation for the contents.
You’ll also discover shelters designed specifically for stray cats that live outside.
Create a dry place for cats.
Regardless of the sort of shelter you give, keep it comfortable by providing bedding that will not become contaminated by moisture. Instead of blankets, use straw to keep cats warm and dry during the winter.
Make sure cats have access to fresh, unfrozen water.
The challenge of ensuring that water bowls do not freeze during the winter months is not an easy one. Solar bowls, such as those created by Solar Sippers, are specifically intended to use sunshine to keep water bowls from freezing, and they are available online. Other methods include adding a pinch of sugar to the water to reduce the freezing point, as well as positioning the water dish where it will get early sunlight to defrost it after a very cold night. Although it may seem like a good idea to leave the water bowl in the shelter with the cats, you should avoid doing so since the bowl might easily be spilt, causing the cats to become chilled.
Offer extra food.
Cats require additional energy to remain warm throughout the winter months, which necessitates the consumption of additional food. Wet cat meals can provide a nutritious boost while also providing more hydration (in case, after all your efforts, the water bowl winds up freezing overnight). Adding more water to the canned food ensures that the cats will drink the water straight away rather than waiting until it may be frozen hours later, as is the case with certain canned foods.
Check community resources.
Is your local animal shelter offering Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) clinics or does it have traps available for lending to the public? Is your shelter able to provide low-cost spay and neuter services for feral cats? Getting a communal cat colony spayed and neutered is critical to maintaining a healthy population of cats, therefore you’ll need this information.
Set up a feeding and care schedule.
We are well aware that cats enjoy their routine, and this is true even for wild cats. Establish a consistent feeding schedule so that the cats will become accustomed to your frequent visits to leave food and water. Having this timetable in place will make your work of capturing the cats much easier when the time comes to bring them in for spaying and neutering.
Talk with neighbors.
It’s understandable that community cat colonies can be a contentious topic, but you’ll want individuals who live in the vicinity of the cat colony to understand what you’re doing and why it will help not only the cats but also the rest of the neighborhood.
Your assistance will aid in the maintenance of a healthy colony as well as the reduction of the number of kittens through TNR. As a result of your conversations with your neighbors, you may possibly receive offers of assistance!
Download the freeNeighborhood Cats TNR Handbook.
You’ll learn all you need to know about the TNR procedure from start to finish in this 160-page book, which includes sections on equipment, caring for feral cats throughout the winter months, socializing feral kittens, and more. It also includes useful information on how to communicate effectively with neighbors and local officials concerning neighborhood cats. Alley Cat Allies has provided some extra cold weather advice, including the following:
Provide an Outdoor Shelter and A Refuge from Cold and Wind
While pre-built cat shelters are available for purchase, for a relatively cheap cost, persistently dedicated cat lovers may keep their feline companions warm and dry all winter long with a refuge created from a Styrofoam cooler that can be assembled in about five minutes. Even a minimally modified huge storage container can provide our purring companions with shelter from freezing temperatures. Inspiring images may be found in the Alley Cat Allies shelter gallery. To provide winter shelter for a cat colony, the following steps were taken:
- Elevate the shelter off the ground and locate it in a location where it will not be disturbed by other people. A good-sized shelter has enough room for three to five cats to huddle together, yet the amount of space available should be minimized if only one cat requires a place to sleep. maintain a safe distance between the shelter and predators by having the shelter door no wider than 6 to 8 inches wide
- Installing a flap over the door will prevent snow, rain, and wind from entering the house.
Insulate the Shelter Against Moisture as Well as Cold
- Straw (rather than hay) serves as both an insulator against the chill and a comfy sleeping surface.. Blankets should not be placed inside the shelter because they absorb moisture like a sponge
- If your garage or shed is being used as a shelter, make sure to remove any potentially fatal antifreeze products that may have been stored there. Use a less-toxic antifreeze manufactured with propylene glycol rather than the extremely poisonous ethylene glycol if the use of antifreeze products cannot be avoided.
Provide Fresh Water Daily and Additional Food
Those with a desire to assist neighborhood cats in surviving the harsher regions of winter could provide bigger supplies of food out during periods of extreme cold weather. While wet food stored in insulated containers is the best option, a generous serving of dry food will also assist to prevent dehydration from setting in. An application of foam insulation to the hollow underside of a conventional plastic feeding dish can prevent the cat’s food and water from freezing at an alarming pace in the winter.
- Maintain the drinkability of water by putting bowls (which should be deep rather than broad) in a location that receives direct sunshine. Get yourself some hot electric bowls. It is not advisable to put out hot water since it freezes more quickly than cold water. Make sure that all entrances and exits to the cat’s shelter are free of snow in order to avoid the cat from being trapped.
Avoid Salt and Other Melting Products
Cats can be poisoned by the salts and chemicals used to melt snow, and their paws may become harmed as a result. The use of such items should be done with caution, especially if they are marketed as “pet friendly.”
Check Your Car Before You Drive
Before starting your car, check under the hood to see if there are any temporary occupants hiding within. Cats have been known to sneak into the engine or hide beneath a car for warmth, so make sure your vehicle is free of any unexpected visitors. Keep antifreeze out of the reach of cats and other animals as well. With an estimated 50 million feral cats in the United States alone, there is a significant demand for feral cat colony caregivers. A colony of feral cats or, in the case of younger cats that might potentially be socialized, such as our Felix, a permanent home are both dependent on the generosity and assistance of animal lovers to enable them live out their lives in a happy, healthy fashion.