Super Simple Method for:
DIY Winter Shelter
This DIY outdoor cat shelter provides a cozy retreat for outdoor cats, offering protection from the elements during colder seasons. There are many tutorials available online, with various methods of insulating. Over the years we here at Sweet Whiskers have found that the simplest and most straight forward route is simply two totes, with two holes, with lots of straw. But be sure to block the tote up off the ground!
30 gallon Rubbermaid-type tote
18 gallon Rubbermaid-type tote
Box cutter, utility knife, or 6" hole saw.
Straw or bedding material
Step 1: Choose Your Totes:
Select a larger tote as the main shelter and a smaller tote that can fit inside it with some space around the edges for insulation. The larger tote will act as the outer shell to provide protection from the elements.
Step 2: Measure and cat the entrances:
Take the smaller tote and trace a 6" circle on one of the sides. You can then use the box cutter or utility knife to carefully create an entryway that's large enough for the cat to comfortably enter and exit but small enough to retain heat inside. We recommend no larger than 6 inches.
Stack the totes, use your permanent marker to create a second 6" hole pattern on the larger tote through your already existing hole. Now simply cut out this matching hole in the larger tote so that the entrances will line up.
Step 3: Stack the totes together:
Place the smaller tote inside the larger one. The smaller tote will serve as the actual shelter space for the cat, while the larger tote will act as a weather-resistant shell.
Step 4: Create a Bedding Area
Place straw or bedding material inside the smaller tote to provide warmth and comfort for the cat. Straw is an excellent insulator and doesn’t retain moisture as much as other materials.
Step 5: Add Insulation:
Line the bottom and sides of the larger tote with the insulation. simply fill a small layer of straw at the base of the large tote. Ensure the insulation covers all surfaces but doesn’t block the entrance of the smaller tote.
Step 6: Secure the Totes Together
Use duct tape to fasten the two totes together, ensuring the smaller tote stays centered and doesn’t shift. Then add additional straw around the exterior of the smaller tote, between the two walls creating a insulation barrier.
Step 7: Place the Shelter in a Secure Location:
Position the shelter in a safe and sheltered outdoor area, away from direct wind or rain. Elevated areas or places under a porch or sheltered corner work well.
Be sure to block up the totes up off the ground to create an additional cold barrier. Adding additional straw directly below the tote will help hold extra warmth in the flooring of the tote.
Step 8: Test and Adjust:
Monitor the shelter during various weather conditions to ensure it remains dry and warm. Check the bedding regularly and replace it if it becomes damp. Adjust the insulation or add more bedding as needed. If it is not sheltered enough from the wind, be sure to anchor down with ties or weight the top with weights or bricks.