Shelter From the Storm: Outdoor Cat Shelter DIY

Shelter From the Storm

Looking to provide a safe haven for your outdoor cat during stormy weather? Look no further!

In this DIY guide, we’ll show you how to build a sturdy and cozy cat shelter. You’ll learn all the steps, from choosing the perfect location to waterproofing the shelter.

With just a little effort and some basic supplies, you’ll have a reliable and comfortable shelter for your furry friend in no time.

Choosing the Right Location

Choose a location for your outdoor cat shelter by placing it near your home, but away from busy streets and areas with heavy foot traffic. This will ensure that your cat feels safe and secure in their new shelter. Cats are territorial creatures, so it’s important to choose a spot where they can still be close to their familiar surroundings.

Find an area that offers some protection from the elements, such as under a porch or against a wall. Make sure there’s enough space for the shelter and that it’s easily accessible for your cat.

Additionally, consider the direction of the wind and place the shelter in a way that minimizes exposure to harsh weather conditions.

Gathering the Necessary Supplies

To gather the necessary supplies for your outdoor cat shelter, you’ll need a few key items.

First, you’ll need a large plastic storage bin with a lid. This will serve as the main structure of the shelter. Make sure it’s big enough for the cat to comfortably fit inside.

Next, you’ll need some insulation material, such as straw or Styrofoam. This will help keep the shelter warm during cold weather.

Additionally, you’ll need a box cutter or scissors to cut openings for the cat to enter and exit the shelter.

To provide extra warmth, consider adding a heating pad or a thick blanket.

Lastly, don’t forget some strong tape or zip ties to secure everything together.

With these supplies, you’ll be well on your way to creating a cozy outdoor shelter for your furry friend.

Designing the Shelter Structure

After gathering the necessary supplies for your outdoor cat shelter, it’s time to design the structure that will provide a safe and cozy haven for your furry friend.

Start by choosing a suitable container, such as a sturdy plastic storage bin or a wooden crate. Make sure it’s large enough for your cat to comfortably fit inside.

Next, decide on the entrance location and size. You can cut a small opening near the bottom of one side, ensuring it’s big enough for your cat to enter but small enough to keep out predators.

Consider adding insulation materials like straw or foam insulation boards to keep the shelter warm.

Lastly, make sure the shelter is raised off the ground to prevent moisture from seeping in.

Assembling the Base and Walls

Once you have designed the structure for your outdoor cat shelter, it’s time to move on to assembling the base and walls.

Start by gathering the necessary materials, such as plywood for the base and walls, as well as screws and a drill for securing them together.

Begin by constructing the base, making sure it’s sturdy and level.

Next, attach the walls to the base, using screws to secure them in place. Remember to leave a small opening for the entrance of the shelter.

As you assemble the walls, ensure they’re aligned properly and securely fastened. Test the stability of the shelter by gently pushing on the walls.

Once everything is secure, you can move on to the next step of providing insulation and a roof for the shelter.

Insulating the Shelter for Added Warmth

To provide added warmth, insulate the shelter by lining the walls and base with materials such as styrofoam or straw. These materials create a barrier against the cold air, helping to retain the cat’s body heat inside the shelter.

Styrofoam can be cut to fit the walls and base of the shelter, providing excellent insulation. Alternatively, straw can be used to line the shelter, creating a cozy and warm environment for the cat. The straw acts as a natural insulator, trapping air and preventing heat loss.

It’s important to ensure that the insulation materials are securely attached to the walls and base to prevent them from shifting or becoming damp.

Creating a Cozy Bedding Area

To create a cozy bedding area for your outdoor cat shelter, start by arranging a soft blanket or cushion inside. This will provide a comfortable and warm spot for your feline friend to rest and sleep. Choose a blanket or cushion that’s thick and plush to provide extra insulation against the cold. Make sure it’s large enough for your cat to stretch out and curl up comfortably.

You can also add some straw or shredded newspaper on top of the blanket or cushion to create additional padding and insulation. This will help to retain heat and keep your cat cozy during chilly nights. Remember to regularly check and clean the bedding area to ensure it stays dry, clean, and comfortable for your outdoor cat.

Adding a Door or Entrance

To provide easy access for your outdoor cat, install a small cat-sized door or entrance in the shelter. This will allow your cat to come and go as they please, providing them with the freedom to explore and seek shelter whenever they need it.

When choosing a door or entrance, make sure it’s large enough for your cat to comfortably fit through, but not big enough for any unwanted visitors to enter. You can purchase pre-made cat doors from pet stores, or you can create your own using materials such as plywood and hinges.

Ensure that the door is securely attached to the shelter to prevent it from falling off or becoming loose. By adding a door or entrance, you’re creating a safe and convenient space for your outdoor cat.

Providing Ventilation for Air Circulation

Ensure proper air circulation in your outdoor cat shelter by providing ventilation. Ventilation is crucial to maintain a healthy and comfortable environment for your furry friend. Without proper airflow, the shelter can become stuffy and damp, which can lead to respiratory issues and mold growth.

To prevent this, you can incorporate ventilation holes or gaps in your shelter design. These openings will allow fresh air to flow in and stale air to escape. Consider placing the ventilation holes near the top of the shelter to prevent rainwater from entering. Additionally, you can cover the ventilation openings with mesh or wire to keep out pests and predators.

Waterproofing the Shelter

To maintain a dry and cozy environment for your outdoor cat, it’s important to waterproof the shelter. Waterproofing will protect the shelter from rain, snow, and other elements, ensuring that your cat stays warm and dry.

Start by choosing a waterproof material for the shelter, such as marine-grade plywood or plastic. Apply a waterproof sealant to all the seams and edges of the shelter to prevent water from seeping in.

Make sure to cover any openings, such as windows or doors, with a waterproof material or flap. Additionally, elevate the shelter off the ground to avoid water pooling underneath.

Regularly check the shelter for any signs of leaks or damage, and make necessary repairs as needed. By waterproofing the shelter, you can provide a safe and comfortable home for your outdoor cat.

Placing the Shelter in the Ideal Spot

Positioning the shelter in an area with minimal exposure to wind and precipitation is crucial for providing the ideal spot for your outdoor cat. Look for a location that offers protection from strong winds, such as against a wall or under a porch. This will help keep the shelter stable and prevent it from being blown away during storms.

Additionally, choose a spot that isn’t prone to flooding or standing water, as this can make the shelter damp and uncomfortable for your cat. It’s also important to consider the direction of the rain and place the shelter in a way that the entrance is facing away from the prevailing wind.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Introduce My Outdoor Cat to the New Shelter?

How do you introduce your outdoor cat to the new shelter? Start by placing the shelter in a familiar location, like where your cat usually hangs out. Use treats and toys to entice them inside, and give them time to explore and get comfortable.

How Often Should I Clean the Bedding Area of the Shelter?

You should clean the bedding area of the shelter regularly, at least once a week. This helps maintain a clean and comfortable space for your outdoor cat, reducing the risk of pests or infections.

Can I Use Alternative Materials for Insulation if I Cannot Find the Recommended Ones?

If you can’t find the recommended insulation materials, you can use alternatives like straw, hay, or even old blankets. Just make sure they provide adequate warmth and protection for the cats.

How Can I Make the Shelter More Attractive to My Outdoor Cat?

You can make the shelter more attractive to your outdoor cat by adding soft bedding, toys, and scratching posts. This will create a cozy and stimulating environment that will encourage your cat to use the shelter.

Are There Any Tips for Keeping the Shelter Cool During Hot Summer Months?

To keep the shelter cool in hot summer months, you can place it in a shaded area and use light-colored materials to reflect sunlight. Additionally, provide ventilation by adding windows or vents to allow for airflow.


Building an outdoor cat shelter is a practical and compassionate way to provide a safe and warm space for stray or feral cats.

By following the steps outlined in this DIY guide, you can create a shelter that will protect cats from harsh weather conditions.

From choosing the right location to waterproofing the structure, every step is essential in ensuring the comfort and well-being of these vulnerable animals.

So why wait? Start building and make a difference in the lives of outdoor cats today.

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