Providing an Outdoor Winter Shelter for Cats
Outdoor cats tend to roam and wonder. Whether it is your own cat, a community stray cat, or a feral cat, being outdoors in the winter is very hard on them. Not having the right shelter can be deadly.
Cat shelters should be constructed of a good solid material to withstand the elements – resist wind and rain/snow. Be sure it is large enough for multiple cats, as they tend to group in families. However, a shelter too larger will be hard to retain heat. Be sure to provide warm bedding – straw/hay or blankets. Be sure your structure is water proof! Bedding is only warm if it is dry. Tilting the structure slightly will allow any moisture to collect on one end, while keeping the upper end dry for warmth. A small doorway will help retain heat generated by the cat’s own body, keep wind and rain/snow out.
Understandably you may not want to invest in a permanent structure, here are some ideas for temporary DIY structures that are inexpensive, dry, and warm. (Shared from Urban Cat League.)
The styofoam cooler – picture above provides a warm insulated structure. This is a simple and low cost structure to make. It is light weight, however, and should be positioned in a location not prone to wind. (Find instructions & materials needed here.)
This is another easy one that doesn’t take much work or require many tools.