Feral cat shelter pics

jomuirSeptember 10, 2011

I don't want to derail the feral cat shelter thread, so I thought I'd post some pics of what we've done for Baby, the feral cat who turned up on my porch several years ago, pregnant & starving. DH told me not to feed her, that we'd never be rid of her. I couldn't stand the sight of her, it was winter & she looked awful. It took 2+ years & 3 litters of kittens to capture her and TNR her & she is a real sweetie.

I wanted to bring her in, and even tried, but one of our house cats got sick and we decided to let her stay outside rather than risk the health of our 2 inside cats, plus she is quite feral, we've never been able to get closer than arm's length to her. We added the kennel heater to the house after I threatened to bring her in for real, it was a cold winter & she was getting in DH's truck underbody for warmth when he came home from work !

Here is the view of her house from the driveway, kind of hard to see, but shows that she's hidden.

Another view of the house

Inside the house, showing kennel heater, time to change out the straw

Food setup, no ants! We had ants all the time prior to using disposable bowls

Baby herself

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Thanks for posting this. Do you know the measurements? Yesterday I spoke to a guy that is going to build two for me and we decided on 18" long, 14" wide and 16" high and to sit 4" off the ground with a hinged lid for cleaning. After I got home I got to thinking about it. I wanted to add some insulating foam panels on the inside walls and also there's the straw to consider. I don't think the box is going to be big enough.

I measured Kitty (not the feral)and he is 18" long, and I know cats sleep curled up but how do you feel about my measurements? I'm having two built because I know Kitty will sleep in it and not let Pretty(feral) in there during the day. They will be inside a small barn, not outside. The guy is charging me $25ea. which I'm ok with. I don't want either one of the shelters to be like 4'long, that's too big.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 2:48PM
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How Great! Thanks for sharing. I want to do something for our ferals and this is helpful to get me started. Thanks for your big heart.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 2:50PM
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Ok. I called my guy back and gave him the following measurements: 20" long, 16" deep (wide) and 14" high. An additional 4" to make it up off the floor. This is the size of the old open crate I have straw in right now.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 3:35PM
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Our colony of six ferals shared a 12" x 18-24" by 24-30" high shelter all winter last year.

As far as insulation, you'll want to line the styrofoam with mylar so they don't shred the styrofoam. You can use just an emergency camping blanket, or the mylar and bubble wrap stuff from Lowes/Home Depot. The actual foil duct tape (not Duck Tape- the real stuff from the HVAC department) will stick and hold to the styrofoam- most other tape won't.

However, one other thing to consider- if you're equipped with a fur coat for 15* outside, 70* in shelter in the barn is really hot. They might be happier just in the 50* barn.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 3:38PM
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The shelter is approx. 31 X 22 outside, and 13-16" tall. Inside is smaller due to interior walls to allow for insulation. Inside 'living' area is 21" X 21", that's not including the doorway section. The door cutout is 7" X 5".

DH used fiberglass batting, because he had some already. You can def. use foam as cocntmom suggested.
The plans we used said several cats could fit in it, keeping in mind they'll tend to cuddle when it's cold out.

We do often see Baby peeping out of the doorway at night, she must lay in the door area sometimes. The kennel heater has an adjustable thermostat which is handy. We can set it lower for warmer months and higher Dec-March. Before we added the heater, it was lined w/mylar from the army surplus store, it helps reflect & hold heat from their bodies.

$25 is a great price! The hinged lid is great, you can change the bedding,etc. Good luck with her.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 5:29PM
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cocontom - good point. Might just fore go the insulation since the shelters will be inside. The barn/shed is unheated, but what you said makes sense.

jomuir, thanks for the measurements. I think I made a good decision then. As far as my indoor/outdoor cat cuddling with the feral - not going to happen at least don't think so. They tolerate one another and that's about it. :) That's why I'm getting two shelters and sitting them apart from one another so there's no bullying. I like your design of the small "hallway" beyond the opening, better to keep drafts out. Mylar is another good idea, someone mentioned that in the other post.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 5:42PM
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We had a wooden box with a plexiglass window in the garage for our outside feral kitty. Doorway was covered with a heavy cloth. Never used any type of insulation, her bedding was an old sleeping bag, with a heating pad underneath a couple of layers. She used this box every winter for about 10 years! Evidently it was warm enough because her window would fog up! Fortunately she was very loving for a feral...I miss having her around..she had some sort of seizure and we had to put her down.

I would do this again for another kitty who wanted to live in our garage!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 4:21PM
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Sounds like you did good, whimzikl. I only wish my feral would go into the shed where the new shelters will be.

You know I was thinking that since I cleaned out that barn/shed and removed the stall panels, she has nothing to jump up on to get to the loft. Maybe that's the problem - she'd rather be up in the loft where she feels safer. After all, that's where she ran and stayed when I first found her. Not to mention that there's far more wide open space now and no old straw heaped up on the floor and in nooks and crannies. Maybe I need to build a ladder or at least lean a board up against the wall, clean out the loft and put the shelters up there? Ugh.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 5:39PM
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I LOVE that you go to such great lengths for a feral! I myself foster kittens that are too young to be adopted through my local humane society! Do you keep the door open? You could always use a rubber door that is easily passed through but helps to insulate!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 8:30PM
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Today is a dismal, rainy day. Just a few minutes ago I walked down to the barn out of curiosity - my indoor/outdoor cat Kitty was sleeping on the cat bed on the floor and the feral cat Pretty was laying on a wicker chair. So she's decided she'll go inside IF I have chair she can get up on huh? Ok....the transition to a shelter, up on a work table maybe (yet to be put in there)might not be as difficult as I thought.

Hens, yes at this point there is no door on the one side, but there will be. The other door is on a roller, and doesn't shut all the way tight so there is room for a cat to slip through but weather proof enough.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 3:50PM
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