Thursday, December 9, 2010

How to Make a Winter Shelter for an Outdoor Cat

This blog entry was originally posted 1 year ago. I have added additional commentary and photos that I thought may be helpful.

We did it! We did it! We made Smokey, our outdoor cat a winter shelter. I was/am so concerned about her welfare outside that I did some internet research and I found instructions on the Spay and Stay website. While we were making the shelter, my husband suggested making a video of the process. So here it is. I hope this is helpful for other cat lover's that are in need of the same information. Credit for the original instructions goes to Jim and Nancy at Spay and Stay.



Additional Comments to the Original Blog Post on 12/9/10

So we had this shelter out last winter and Smokey would not go in it. I think we may have made the tube opening too small for her. That or she was just too spooked to try it. I have had feedback from other cat owners, though, that have had their outdoor cats use it. My sister in NY told me she had a female cat that just had kittens and that the whole family stayed in the shelter for the winter. So it does work.

Here are some photos of my cat Motor, showing us how it works.

First, we have to have our older cat Tiger, make sure his younger brother Motor has made it inside safely.

Yes, he sure did.


And he is looking pretty comfortable in there.


But now it is time to come back out.

You can see that the original outdoor shelter has a lot of insulation to it to keep a cat warm.
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I had a comment left on You Tube by Catweedhigh that I thought might be helpful:

"I use plastic flower pots, for the tunnel in, the vinyl bigger ones plants come in from nurseries, and cut the bottom out, leaving about half inch around the perimeter in the bottom. That lip left in the bottom can be used to secure it with screws or bolts to a wooden feral housing unit or even a plastic storage container. Or, you can reverse it, since they're usually tapered, bigger at the top than bottom, and insert the bottom through from the inside, which makes it also easy to secure."

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Since Smokey is spending this winter in our yard again, I had to come up with something, at least to protect her from the winds and rain.

So here is outdoor shelter #2. No styrofoam and hay for insulation, and no tube entrance. But a larger opening and lots of dry blankets to sleep on. This one seems to be working out better for Smokey. She is actually using it.

And here is Motor again, modeling how the newer shelter looks.




And hanging out with our 3rd indoor cat K.C. on a sunnier day.

Hope this is helpful information for all you cat lovers out there.

33 comments:

Eric and Flynn said...

That is a great shelter. Smokey should stay lovely and warm in there. We have put a link to you in our latest post and also posted it as news on the Cat Blogosphere. That will probably go up within the next hour or so. When you make a post it is a good idea to put your link to that specific post on the Cat Blogosphere too.If you haven't already been there, you can get there via the first link on our link list. Hope you get plenty of visitors.

The Island Cats said...

Hello! Nice to meet all of you! Even though we are indoor kitties, this is very good information to have! Smokey should have a good place to stay!

Wally, Ernie & Zoey

jenianddean said...

Congrats on building the outdoor shelter. It is so nice to have a warm, safe place outside.

Nice to meet you...
--Jasper

Cats~Goats~Quotes said...

That looks like a nice place for an outside kittycat. We have to stay in, but some of us were feral and outside for a while!

It is very nice to meet you, Eric and Flynn mentioned you on their blog.

~ The Bunch

Jan's Funny Farm said...

Well, we're glad you two people have "nothing better to do with your lives" than this. :-) That was a neat video. Thanks for thinking to make it and share it.

Fat Eric said...

Hello! I came over from the Cat Blogosphere to meet you all. Particularly nice to meet more gorgeous ginger kitties like myself. I think Tiger and Motor should sign up for the Gorgeous Gingers page (http://gingergang.blogspot.com). I am a fat ginger kitty blogging in London, UK. Come and visit me some time!

Purrs
Fat Eric

PB 'n J said...

Hi there, it's a pleasure to meet you all! Eric and Flynn told us we should come by and meet all you cool cats! That shelter sure is neat, we're mostly indoor cats, but Mommy tries to make sure that we have good shelter when we want to go out. We'll have to try some of these tricks!

Pearl, Bert and Jake

Cecilia, The 2Bs and Madness said...

Ha, ha. That is so funny that she only sticks her head in and lets her bum stick out! We hope she will eventually go inside and curl up.

Zippy, Sadie and Speedy said...

Hi, it's nice to meet yoo...mom bilds lots of dem shelters but she lines da whole outside container wif styrafoam. Dem containers are da greatest invention!

The Lee County Clowder said...

The shelter looks nice, but are you sure Smokey can get in all the way? It looked a little tight for him around the tummy. Just wondering.

Welcome to the Cat Blogosphere.

HotMBC and Robyn said...

That's great! It's good to meet great cats and beans!

A Few Good Cats said...

That was good of you to go to the trouble to make a shelter for Smokey. We are glad to meet The Very Best Cats, for we are merely 3 Good Cats, and we just read about you on the Cat Blogosphere too.

Kimo and Sabi said...

Nice to meet you all - that wuz a pawsome video!

Angel said...

That is a great shelter! I hope Smokey uses it! I know Mom worrys about the outside cats that don't seem to have homes.

strawberryluna said...

Awwww, that is so cool of you guys to do. I hope that lots of other folks see your post and can do the same. Stay warm out there kitties!

Jane said...

This is just great. I would love to build one of these for the two feral cats that I feed; however, I would need to coyote-proof it. Do you have any ideas how I could that?

jumonjii said...

After checking out the web and seeing what was all out there, I built my own. Check it out.

http://www.justanutha.com/images/shelter/

There are 4 pics of it.

Cost about 100 dollars. Worth every penny if it keeps the strays warm.

Jane said...

Nice Jumonjii! Well done. I'd like to make a similar one, but I'm concerned a coyote might be able to pry the cooler open. Any ideas on how to keep that from happening?

Shannon said...

Thanks so much! I've been wondering how to help the strays in my neighborhood this winter. I laughed till I cried at the last images of Smokey--because I have an indoor cat who does the same thing with her kitty condo!

Lily said...

I would like to make a cat shelter to my husband maybe if I do that He will convince himself that he need to visit Viagra Online

Donna said...

Thanks so much for sharing. I have a stray cat who has "adopted our family" and I've been worried about the cold weather season that will be coming. I have 2 very pampered house cats and the stray is too aggressive towards my cats to come join us all inside. He is wonderful with people though. He is scheduled for neutering at the end of the month, so I'll see if that calms him down enough. But for now, he is all outside. Thanks again.

Melissa So Sassy said...

That was great! Going out today to make a shelter for the 4+ 3 new kittens (but hopefully we can catch them and domesticate them) that live in our back yards. Have been able to fix 1 female cat... 1 left to go!!!!
Thanks for the tips... did Smokey ever get out???

Kay said...

Hey, found this page when you originally posted the winter shelter. I'm going to make one of those for a feral cat that lives in my yard. Thanks so much for posting it again.

The shelter for warmer days is great too, but if you don't mind me saying so, it would be nice if it had another doorway in case a dog or coyote can get at the cat. This way it can escape and won't just trapped.

The Cat Guy said...

That's pretty cool! Between the winter shelter and the feed station, the roaming outdoor kitties will be flocking to your yard! How much did the materials cost for this project?

nikkibean37 said...

I love your shelter and i'm not trying to be negative but my only concern is there is only one way in and out. If a cat is in there and a racoon comes along and wants in then theres going to be trouble. I am wondering if there is another opening on the other end?

JustGerrard said...

Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. A fantastic read. I'll certainly be back.
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Portable Garages said...

This is the good blog with good pictures and details. Please keep on posting the more stuff. I will like to hear more from you.

Michelle L said...

Cedar and blankets retain moisture - straw should be used. Can use insulation purchased from home repair store or even styrafoam for insulation. Straw can usually be found at home repair stores as well, if not year yound than near fall/winter months.

Michelle L said...
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Michelle L said...
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terese williams said...

This is exactly what I needed! My cousin bought me a cat and it doesn't have a home yet. I could definitely use this tip for my new home in Stratford Green Townhomes.

Chester Black said...

Thank you so much for helping with our ever over population of unwanted cats! I love this idea.

RoMa said...

Please do not use hay for bedding. I've read it can cause respiratory problems in cats among other things. According to Alleycat Allies: Bedding: Straw resists the wet and keeps a shelter warm, and is the best choice for insulation and bedding. Be sure to use straw—not hay—for feral cat shelters.