How to Build a Feral Cat Shelter

Help feral cats stay warm this winter! This weatherproof shelter we built is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to help keep our furry friends protected from the elements.

Here’s what we used to make this version:

-18 Gallon Tote – This size works great for single cat or perhaps mom/newborns in a pinch.

-Styrofoam Cooler – Make sure this fits inside the tote you’re using!

-Straw – NOT HAY!



ALWAYS Remember to have an adult supurrvise when using knives or fire; Be SAFE!

1. Cut 5 1/2” diameter hole on one end, making sure that it is raised off the ground but not too high for kittens to get into if needed.

2. Insert the styrofoam cooler and cut an opening to match the tote’s entrance.

3. Place straw for bed on inside of cooler floor and in between cooler and tote for extra insulation if desired.

4. Add the styrofoam lid back on, close with the tote lid and voila! Finished!!!

*Other tips/options/considerations for this type of shelter...

-For jagged edges, use a lighter to melt any sharp points, leaving a smooth edge for cats to avoid injury.

-You can use styrofoam or insulation board instead of straw

-ALWAYS use straw and not hay! – Hay soaks up moisture which makes the shelter cold and can also get moldy. Please also avoid material as this will also hold moisture.

-You can add a second entrance/exit to the shelter if you’re worried about predators in your area, I chose not to since this cuts down on the insulation of the shelter a lot

-You can add plastic flaps to the entries/exits to help keep drafts out

There’s so many different options when it comes to building an outdoor shelter for cats, this is the simplest and easiest out there…. We’re not saying this is the best, but it’s more than adequate to keep some feral/stray kitties warm this winter! 🙂

*When buying the storage containers, we figured for just a few dollars more we could make a super sized version and provide shelter for a couple more cats… Not all feral/stray cats will share a shelter however, but colonies that live together should.

The most important thing is to purrlease DO SOMETHING if you know of any feral or stray cats in your area that could really use a shelter this winter to keep warm… if we can make one with “help” from Marmalade, we know you can too!

Thanks fur watching and remember to be nice to feral cats 🙂

For more info about trapping cats, check out this video!


Check out the Cole & Marmalade store! — CLICK HERE

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Written by catmanchris

I'm owned by internet kitties Cole & Marmalade, I'm a lifelong cat fan and hope to continue to both entertain and educate with the videos I produce and the blog posts I create

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