LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Dangerously cold temperatures will be making life outside for outdoor cats even harder in the coming days. If you know of any stray/feral cats in your area and would like to help them out, here is an easy DIY project, from alleycatadvocates.org.
Here's what you will need:
- Multiple Rubbermaid™ plastic storage bins with removable lids. According to alleycatadvocates.org, it's best to use Rubbermaid™ so the plastic walls won't crack in cold temperatures. **For a medium-sized shelter, you can get at least two bins. Just make sure one can fit inside the other.**
- Straw to use for insulation. **Do not use hay, it will soak up moisture and make the shelter cold and it can get moldy.**
- You can also use styrofoam insulation board instead of straw.
- A knife or sharp tool to cut into the bins
- Marker or something to draw on the bin with
- To begin with, plan out how you want to put together your shelter. We will be laying out the procedure for a medium sized shelter.
- Now, decide where your entry will be and make sure it is several inches off the ground. Then use your marker to draw a circle (6-inches by 6-inches) and cut it out. If you are having issues cutting, you can use a hair dryer to heat up and soften the material.
- Then, put a layer of straw or styrofoam board on the bottom of your large bin. If you are using a styrofoam board, you can use this time to also line the four walls of the bin as well.
- Place your second bin inside the larger bin and again, trace the hole from your entry onto this bin and cut it out.
- If you are using straw, then fill in any extra space around the inner bin with it and also put straw inside the bin as well. Do not use a blanket or towel!
- Put the lid on the inner bin and then put some more straw on the top and cover that bin.
- Put the lid on the outer bin
Things to consider:
In order to make sure the shelter stays in place, look around for something that you can place on top that will weigh it down so it won't tip over in case it gets windy. A heavy flat rock or some paver bricks should be enough.
Raise the back of the shelter up slightly so if any water does get in it won't pool inside. This will also help keep snow from piling up on the roof.
Do not put water bowls inside the shelter, they can easily be knocked over.
If you're worried about other animals that may pose a danger to these cats while inside the shelter, then place the shelter behind a fenced in area. Have the entry face a wall with enough space that a cat can get in.
For more information, here is a PDF provided by alleycatadvocates.org.