Makeshift Outdoor Cat House--Suggestions Plz?

katclaws_moNovember 21, 2011

Hello everyone, I'm a regular at the KT forum & occasionally lurk here.

I've been taking care of a stray for awhile now. As much as I want to, I can't bring him in the house to live for reasons I can't go into right now. I already have 2 indoor rescue kitties for approx 8 years. Mama & her baby. Lost my 3rd beloved 20 yr old gentle sweetest boy ever a year ago.

Anyway, I need to get a small "insulated" dog/cat house quickly before the weather gets too bad. I'd love to get something like an igloo, but really can't afford that right now.

I'm thinking maybe a plastic trash can laying on it's side filled with straw or some type of warm bedding material??? and maybe another covering over that to keep out rain or snow that can be tied down to the deck. He also needs to have either an escape route or a long narrow entrance since we have racoons, possums, skunks etc. & the ocassional neighborhood harassing dogs, so he can protect himself.

I am not handy to build a dog/cat house. The one we had for him didn't make it thru late last summer after a bad storm & downed trees took it out. Also, I have not been seeing any igloo types on Craigslist... except the very large ones.

Many Shelters here are not taking in many "foreclosure"/strays anymore because of the overcrowding, so I'm afraid if I brought him in they'd just euthanize him--and there's no reason to do that to such a sweet kitty. It took him long enough to trust me to let me pet him without hissing or getting scratched or bitten. He even brings me his latest prized mouse catch de jour as a present. I'd love to see him examined, neutered, vacinated & then released back to me to live on our property, but as I said finances just can't cover that right now.

ANY SUGGESTIONS/IDEAS FOR CAT HOUSING WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

At least he's getting food, water, and lots of petting & loving. He waits by the door daily to get his goodies & will headbutt the door when he sees me. I feel so guilty that I can't bring him in to join my other two girls, but DH & I are in a real transitional situation right now.

TIA ~~ kat

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Elly_NJ

I looked after a stray for a cold and snowy winter by using a large plastic kennel-crate right next to my door facing south. I lined it with thick, warm blankets, covered the crate in quilts AND took a plywood board to make a lean-to over it. I also kept a heating pad set on low under the blanket. Sammy loved it! It kept him warm and completely dry in a bad winter.

I did get a home for him.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 7:38AM
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ilovepoco

Whatever you decide on as a cat house, consider getting a microwaveable pet warmer to keep him cozy at night.

I once had a cat who decided late one fall to move out of the house when we got our third dog. Once I realized that he had no intention of hanging out or sleeping indoors that winter (I'm in New England), I borrowed a medium-sized igloo from a friend and put it out on the front deck facing south (conveniently facing towards the slider, so I could keep tabs on him). I filled it with an old down throw and some towels. I'd heat the saucer in the microwave every night before going to bed, tuck it under some of the bedding, and there he would curl up all toasty and warm. He'd come into the house a few times a day to eat, but would then insist on being let out again.

The system worked well throughout a long, snowy New England winter. Some mornings I'd peek out through the slider and seem him curled inside the snow-covered igloo... he'd come out when I called his name and he would would be warm all over. I'd see him napping in there during the day sometimes too.

He spent the winter like that, then decided to rejoin the family in the spring... By then the puppy had learned---from the other, indoor, cat---how to behave.

You can google "microwaveable pet warmer" to see some different types... I used the "SnuggleSafe Pet Heating Pad" - looks like a pink frisbee.

Good on you for thinking and caring for this lucky guy.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:54AM
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mtnester

Here's an easy-to-construct shelter for feral cats.

(This photo is from Charm City Animal Rescue, Baltimore; I'm not sure of the original source.)

Sue

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:07PM
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jomuir

Here are some links, but the one Sue posted is the basic idea. Easy, inexpensive and definitely doable for those of us who aren't handy.

The igloo-style are expensive, aren't they? Use that money for kibble!
Good luck to you an your stray.

http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/HOW_TO_FERAL_CAT_WINTER_SHELTER

http://www.urbancatleague.org/Shelters.html

http://www.alleycat.org/Page.aspx?pid=631

http://www.spayandstay.org/wintershelter.htm

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:26PM
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cocontom

You can also stick a styrofoam cooler in the container, lined with a mylar camping blanket, or just use the cooler/blanket by itself, although that does look pretty bad. You do want to line the styrofoam though, just to keep the cat from scratching at it.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:18PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

I have a cat that is strictly outdoors. I took a covered litter box (clean, of course) and lined it with fleece pads. It's on my porch, out of the wind. It is covered with mover's quilts and has a kind of eskimo entrance with a towel that flaps over it.

My cat gets food several times a day, and fresh water several times a day too. We have temperatures that will dip below zero, so I know my cat is comfortable and well cared for.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:42PM
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lily316

I think what Sue posted is great. I'd do that.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:54PM
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katclaws_mo

THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!

The Feral Shelter looks like something even I can do!!!
Wonderful Ideas & Suggestions!

Thank you all again for caring so much to help me and my "outside" boy have a safe warm place to live & be loved.
~~ kat

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 6:36PM
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mtnester

My friend from the Rescue says she buys styrofoam coolers when they're on sale and cuts them down, to fit inside the outer box. She also uses the microwaveable disks to heat the shelters.

I just looked at JoMuir's links; they have some construction details that may be helpful.

I haven't tried this myself, as our cat is strictly an indoors cat (though she would dearly love to explore the great outdoors).

Sue

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 10:16AM
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KDWalker

You could do something like this - http://i.imgur.com/UBl0ni6.jpg

My feral cat is very suspicious of anything I set outside but wonderfully settled into this custom-built house after a couple of days. Initially I bought this - http://superblog.co/the-kitty-tube-outdoor-cat-house-review/ - but he never really used it so that was a waste of money. I tried enticing it with cat nip but he only stays inside The Kitty Tube for about a minute or so at a time before heading back out. I followed the instructions on how to build this one from a YouTube video and he likes it! My only problem is the lid leaking at the hinges when it rains too hard outside. I could caulk it but I'm afraid I won't be able to lift the lid anymore for cleaning purposes. Any ideas to keep it from getting wet inside? I'd really appreciate it so thanks in advance!

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 6:26PM
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emma

I saw a photo one time of a large wire cage built close to one of the windows. The cats could leave through the window then be in a cage with walkways built so it could be up high or down on the ground. If I lived where I could do that I would and also have litter box on the outside where the cat would have access and I could empty it and wash it outside the cage.

Edited to say it was a large cage, larger than a walk in closet.

This post was edited by EmmaR on Tue, Apr 8, 14 at 21:08

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 9:07PM
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emma

Thank you for posting that. When I first read the OP, I thought it was a question about letting a cat out to play and to confine it where it would be safe. My apology. I forwarded the photo to my sis because she feeds feral cats.

You could use duct tape to cover the hinges so it wouldn't leak. That would be easily replaced.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:48AM
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emma

Thank you for posting that. When I first read the OP, I thought it was a question about letting a cat out to play and to confine it where it would be safe. My apology. I forwarded the photo to my sis because she feeds feral cats.

You could use duct tape to cover the hinges so it wouldn't leak. That would be easily replaced.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:50AM
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