Making a Shelter for Outside Cats

Now is a good time to make a Shelter for Outside Cats. While the greatest need is in the winter months, the cats will appreciate a place to get in out of the rain on stormy days. Making a shelter for outside cats is easy and inexpensive and a perfect family project. Read through the instructions before acquiring the supplies so you understand clearly what is needed to make a proper shelter for your outside cats. You may have at least one bin that you can recycle and pick up the second bin at the Dollar Store but it is important that they fit well together taking into consideration the difference the Styrofoam makes.


According to National Geographic some experts estimate that there are 70 million feral cats in the United States. Source: National Geographic – U.S. Faces Growing Feral Cat Problem

  • Two bins (one that will fit inside the other)
  • Small Styrofoam cooler with lid or Eight-foot by two-foot sheet of one-inch thick hard Styrofoam
  • Yardstick
  • Box Cutter*
  • Straw

*To be used by an adult

  1. In the larger bin, cut a doorway six inches by six inches in one of the long sides of the bin towards the corner.  The bottom of the doorway should be several inches above the ground to prevent flooding.
  2. Put the Styrofoam drink cooler inside the larger bin and cut a doorway to align with the doorway in the larger bin. If you can’t find a Styrofoam cooler you might consider the alternate solution listed below.
  3. Place the second, smaller-size bin inside the Styrofoam Styrofoam cooler. This bin should fit as snugly as possible against the Styrofoam walls. Cut a doorway into this bin to match the larger bin and cooler.
  4. Place straw or other insulating material in the bottom of the shelter (no blankets or towels!) to provide both insulation and a comfortable spot to lie down.
  5. Measure and cut a roof out of Styrofoam that will rest on the top of the sides and place the lid on top of the box

This shelter is easy to clean by taking off the lid and the roof. It is lightweight and may need to be weighed down. Making a flap to go over the doorway is optional.

Alternate Styrofoam lining:

  1. Measure the floor of the bin and use your box cutter to cut a piece of Styrofoam to line the bottom, It doesn’t have to be an exact fit, but the closer the better. Then line each of the four interior walls of the bin with a piece of the Styrofoam. Again, perfect cuts are not necessary. Leave a space of three inches between the top of these Styrofoam sides and the upper lip of the bin.
  2. Cut  a doorway in the Styrofoam interior wall to match the doorway that has already been cut in the storage bin. Continue with instructions 3-5.



Girl Scout Feral Friend Fun Patch
Free Kids Crafts

Award your kids with an inexpensive and colorful Feral Friend Patch from They can wear them, collect them or trade them.


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