How to build a feral cat shelter

build a feral cat shelter

Building a feral cat shelter can help keep a feline safe and sound this winter – and could even save her life!

During the winter months, it’s more important than ever to provide shelter to feral cats in your neighborhood. Harsh weather conditions pose a huge threat to these felines, who often have nowhere safe to seek solace. “While cats are often great about finding shelter on their own, this can lead them to places that might be dangerous for them (warm car engines) or areas where the property owners don’t want them (basements, boiler rooms),” says Jesse Oldham, Senior Director, Community Outreach at the ASPCA. “Other times, there’s just no sufficient option for them. These are all reasons providing an insulated feral cat shelter is a great idea for community cats in cold climates.”

Ready to help? Here’s how to build your own feral cat shelter:


– Large plastic tote and large sheet of Styrofoam (approximately 16 square feet) OR Styrofoam cooler

– 1 piece of 6“ black corrugated tubing

– 1 roll of duct tape

– X-acto knife

– Measuring tape

– Straw


1) If you’re using a plastic tote, measure the inside dimensions and cut the Styrofoam to fit using the X-acto knife. Secure the Styrofoam on the inside using duct tape. Seal as best as possible.

2) Cut 4-5 inches of tubing using the knife. Be sure the edges aren’t sharp.

3) Draw a circle about the same diameter as the tubing on the front of the tote/cooler. The bottom of the circle should be no more than two inches from the bottom of the tote. Cut out the circle using the knife.

4) Take black tubing and insert it into the hole you just cut. Half of the tube should be inside the tote, and half outside.

5) To secure the tube, cut slices halfway through a strip of tape. Place the solid edge of the tape on the tubing, and the cut portion on the wall of the tote/cooler. Do this as many times as necessary to seal the entire hole.

6) Fill the tote/cooler half full with straw. This material provides warmth without holding moisture.

7) Place the lid on the tote. You can tape this for extra security if needed.

Once you’ve built your feral cat shelter, place it somewhere on your property away from foot traffic and noise. With any luck, a cat in need will locate it, and spend the winter

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