Today I am going to write about building an outdoor cat a house that is protected from the cold, wind, and rain. It is a secure shelter. A blog or so ago, I mentioned that when you are a humane and caring person, you never know when a stray, starving, cold cat might appear in your yard. We had this happen a little bit ago, and this is why I was inspired to write this blog post.
We had a cat show up in our yard. The cat was cold, hungry and very skinny. We wanted to do something to help her out, but since there is no room in our house with our other cats, we wanted to do the next best thing. Provide her with an insulated outdoor cat house!
So when the weather reports predicted the extreme cold weather was coming, we made a project of making her, her own house. Overall it took us an hour to build it. Here are the step-by-step instructions to what we did. We went the extra mile as we bought an outdoor cat mat heating pad. Besides that we happened to have most of these materials around the house, but you can also use other materials.
What we used:
• Animal Heating pad (purchased locally at one of the animal supplies store)
• Fiber glass insulation
• Wooden crate
• Heavy-duty cardboard
• Heavy-duty plastic leaf bags
• Duct tape
• A staple gun
1. Staple the cardboard to the box
First step was to staple the cardboard inside the box on three sides plus on the top and bottom. Leave open the side where you want to have the door. We left one side open for the doorway, because we are going to cover the house with a tarp and create a hallway. If you are not going to cover the house, you might want to consider to enclose all sides and the cut an entrance hole. You want to use the cardboard as the inside walls to separate the inside from the fiber class and to keep the heat in.
2. Attach the insulation
We cut the fiber class insulation to fit each three of the sides and top and bottom of the box. Then we stapled the insulation to each side, once again leaving the side with the door open. Then, to make sure that the insulation won’t come off, we duct taped it. Insulation is important so that the heat created by the heating pad won’t escape the box. It is important to remember to insulate the bottom, because the most of the damp cold comes from the frozen ground.
3. Use heavy-duty plastic leaf bag
We wrapped the leaf bag around the box and secured it with the duct tape. The leaf bag is good in order to water proof it from dampness, so that it is comfortable for the cat resident.
4. Place the heating pad inside
The heating pad we bought was fairly big, but it fits the house well. It is plugged in to the outdoor electrical lead. And there is no need to worry about the amount of electricity used as this heating pad uses electricity equal to a 60 Watt light bulb and it has a thermostat that controls the temperature inside.
5. Took the box out and placed on some bags
We found a good place for the box, a spot protected by a wooden fence and fir trees hillside facing south (where you get sunshine all-day). We placed the box outside on top of some black leaf bags filled with pre-cut fiber glass insulation to lift the box off the ground, so that the box is not directly in contact with the ground. You could also use a wooden frame of 4-by-4’s or whatever you have in hand and remember you will need insulation under the box.
We also covered each side of the house and the top of the house with leaf bags filled with insulation.
6. Place the tarp on top of the box
We placed a waterproof tarp over the house to cover it from the wind and rain. We secured the tarp with rocks and boards to make sure it stays put. With the tarp we also created a hallway and awning to make sure rain or snow doesn’t get inside the box entrance, yet she could still see outside which was important to her.
We didn’t place the box very high off the ground, because we have a chain linked, fenced yard so no dogs or predators can get in. In an open space you might want to raise the box up a little more like a rabbit hutch.
7. Plug in the heating pad and let the cat enjoy!
We have an outdoor plug, so we could use the heating pad. However, even without the heater the house is well-insulated and protected so it would be comfortable. If you have a wool or warm blanket, you can use that as they are very warm and comfortable.
How did it work?
The day we put the box out, I gave the cat a little rescue remedy and helped her to go in and petted and praised her while she was in her house. She walked right out of the house. Then we got her some food and fed her right in front of the house and that did the trick. She felt more comfortable and began to trust her new house. The heat and the wool blanket felt good and so she stayed in and enjoyed her warm , dry and comfortable house, and she now loves it!
We feed her during the day, but never leave food out for the night, as it could attract predators. We also have a heated water bowl out for the cat.
So there it is our Holiday gift of humaneness for a little sweet cat soul. We named her Beautiful Friend and she is now a lot healthier than when we first met her.
Have you built a cat house or planning on building one? I would love to hear your solutions or how this solution worked for you!