Introduction: Cat House for Those Chilly Nights

Picture of Cat House for Those Chilly Nights

Weather changes quickly and can be rather nasty here in Ontario. There were times our cat didn't make it home before lights out and got stuck outside for the night. Being in the rural area, a cat door was not a solution either.

So, we decided to build him a cat house for him to hang out in and give him some shelter. With the weather we had this year, this was one of the better projects we built.

Step 1: Building Box

Picture of Building Box

Since our cat does not like small spaces, we had to build it large. Using several 2x2s to frame the box added the extra support needed to withstand our dogs using the roof as a lookout point.

Our cat house ended up 18" by 26" by 18" tall. Any size would do according to your cat's preference. We used exterior plywood left over from other projects and sealed the wood with waterproof paint. The roof/lid was attached with hinges to allow us to clean the inside. A strip of weather stripping around the lid helped seal out drafts. We had some plastic left over from a storm window repair, so added a small window to give some natural light.

A piece of leftover carpet (which can be easily removed for washing) added comfort A cat blanket from the local dollar store added some extra warmth and gives it that homey feeling.

Step 2: Happy Cat

Picture of Happy Cat

We were not sure whether our cat would actually use it or how well it would hold up to the harsh weather. Here is a picture after one year on the deck.

As far as use goes, we are happy to say that the few times he didn't come home we were glad to find him warm and safe inside his cat house. And that made it well worth it.


EricS335 (author)2016-09-09

This is cool. Only suggestion is that carpet, blankets, towels, etc easily retains moisture and increases flea infestation chances. Better off using wood chips or straw for warmth. For more ideas on this topic, visit

OliviaB13 (author)2015-09-09

This is awesome.

scooter76 made it! (author)2014-09-14

thanks for he inspiration :

cannonj507 (author)2014-05-12

Use another section inside the house. Cut a doorway at the back of the section so the cat has two doorways to reach the sleeping area. The cat walks straight to the back and enters the second doorway to the sleeping area. This stops cold air from coming straight into the house which keeps it warmer for the cat during cold months. Do not face the house to the north because of the cold winds from that direction.

battlinjack (author)2014-05-04

Great idea, but you should add a back door. If another cat tries to get in and he has no where to run there will be a fight. I build winter shelters for strays/ferals and have seen it happen more than once. I use clear plexi hinged on the outside so it can only be opened from inside. Always have an escape hatch for the cat.

landongaga (author)2012-08-08

aww, thats so sweeeet

bouder (author)2012-04-18

I wish I had found this last fall ... we had trouble getting our cat to come in at night and, desperate, I left his cat carrier (complete with pillows and blankets) outside so he would not freeze. Since carrier = vet, he refuse to use it. LOL! I am happy to report he did not freeze, nor lose parts, but I will make this house and get him used to it over the summer! Thanks for the great idea!

pensativo (author)2011-12-05

Super cool. Thanks for documenting this. I am about to build one of these myself as my wife and children have adopted a stray. It has to stay outside because we have severe allergies. Thanks again for taking the time to put this on.

janetsellers08 (author)2011-11-27

Oh, new idea: maybe I can put the cat box in a cat If I find one big enough, then the cardboard can be decorated. My kids always loved the giant boxes we got and made a playhouse that we all colored with crayons and markers. They still talk about that, and they are in college now.

janetsellers08 (author)2011-11-27

love it! Our cats go in and out a "cat window" but they love to snuggle in a small space such as open cardboard boxes. I think I'll start making them a cat condo with a few boxes and pillows. I can discard the boxes as they get and use new ones and launder the pillows... perhaps a dedicated nest will keep the hair fallout more contained... but I'm not betting on it.


qboid (author)2011-11-20

I would probably put a canopy and seal the edges with silicon sealant, With pushable doors made of glass to keep the heat in just a little bit more.

Scammah (author)2008-03-20

This is a great idea I want to try this. I have been looking for someone to make an instructable like this for awhile. Is that a door mat on top of it?

feiheck (author)Scammah2008-03-20

Yes, it is a heavy weight rubber door mat. It helps protect the roof/lid from the dogs and cat's nails when they jump on and off. Even during heavy winds it didn't blow off.

Tomasauk (author)feiheck2011-09-12

It would be cool if you put it underground and the roof would be the doormat to your house.

Wolfram (author)feiheck2008-12-30

But why dont you just get one of those doors that open because the cat's collar is magnetic ??

Scammah (author)Wolfram2008-12-30

Well then he wouldn't be able to make this cool house.

Wolfram (author)Scammah2008-12-30


Scammah (author)Wolfram2008-12-30

This is instructables not :)

mhancock3 (author)2011-09-11

I don't know if this instructable was actually any help but I made one of my own haha. Had to figure out the measurements of the walls and inner frame on my own, which is a challenge when you've never built anything before! Luckily there are some power tools around my house so I was able to use a jigsaw to cut the door and window. I just got Home Depot to cut the rest for me. They did it for free, I guess it's too much bother for some people to charge for cutting lol.

For the window I grabbed a piece of 10x11 acrylic and drilled holes into it so I could screw it into the inside. Then sealed it around the window on the outside with some silicone caulk. Also caulked the seams on the inside.

The door is a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet Home Depot had next to the astroturf and stuff. It is screwed into the wall on the top and just cut down the middle. The thick bed is interfering with it but I will eventually replace the bed with a wool blanket. My roof does hinge as well, and I plan on covering the underside of it with the same carpet to help insulate it. The minimum you can buy is enough for this.

I used particle board for the walls, but double coated it with exterior paint. Hopefully that will keep the water out well enough.

I should have kept the list of measurements, sorry guys! The front, back, and bottom are all 18x26 on mine. The sides are 18x18, but for one of the measurements make sure to subtract the thickness of the wood twice, so it will fit between the front and back. I made the top something like 20x28 to help keep the rain out. It has 1.25x1.25's supporting the corners and top on the inside. I asked for 2x2's and they gave me the wrong wood, but it just left some gaps on the top and it's still very sturdy. I can sit on it with no worry.

Edgecution (author)2011-07-22

Once you build a cat home, how can you get your cat to start using it?

gady (author)2011-04-19

On this picture you can tell its not a dog inside! It got me mixed up really badly. This picture solved a lot of my problems, and questions.

bythepiece (author)2011-03-13

As a cat mother I think this is a great labor of love to care for ones cats. Cats should be spayed/neutered and one must be extremely careful with scents, ie candles as cats can be sickened or killed if the product contains the wrong ingredients. Cats should be inoor pets as there are so many dangers to them outside. Having said all that, I saw where someone converted old furniture (or yard sale finds) like stereo consoles or cabinets to a similar purpose (cat house) or a cabinet to hold a litter box. The one I saw had entry on the sides and the front was original. Would someone like to do an Instructable on that?

cararta (author)2011-02-07

My vet says NEVER use hay for bedding for cats and dogs. I found out the hard way with an almost impossible to get rid of skin infection. Use cedar chips etc if you don't want to use carpet or a blanket.

Dani1996 (author)2011-02-02

I would try it with mi cat.

nfk11 (author)2011-02-02

its freezing(actully freezing)here in san antone so we let are cats in the house instead of building a house for them.

TattyPinkWombat (author)2008-11-06

Guy.Fawkes - be careful about venting the dryer exhaust near cats. The softener fragrance and chemicals can make them very sick. Just FYI.

Good call! I was thinking about making a kitty house and the place I was going to put it was by a dryer vent. Thanks!

Ding...good point!

Khari (author)2009-11-21

Nice cat house!!! I love the idea of the hinged top.

I'd only add 4 things:

1. a flap of some sort for the door way
2. insulation (ie:styrofoam on all 4 corners). This helps keep the cat house much warmer
3. face the door of the cat house towards the human house, etc.. This keeps the cat house sheltered from the wind
4. They say hay is better to keep the cats warm then a blanket. B/C the blanket gets wet and cold.

waterbaby (author)Khari2009-12-10

Just one addendum to these good ideas, regarding #4: use straw rather than hay.  Because hay is a feed product, it has some moisture and can become moldy.  Straw is an end product, contains little if any moisture, and is an excellent material for insulation and bedding.

Johanna1476 (author)waterbaby2010-11-11

An old army surplus blanked would be good. They're wool so they absorb the water while still keeping the cat warm. Bonus, wool is naturally antimicrobial so less incidences of mold or something like that. :)

geekzoid1 (author)2010-01-10

a little heads up it would be a good idea to change the name of this ible` to cat shelter

websherpa (author)geekzoid12010-05-18

That comment kind of begs the question, just what were you searching for in instructables....  LOL!

geekzoid1 (author)websherpa2010-08-28

well me and my dad were building this and I called it that and well the rest is history.....=D

I has the same thought.  My brother was going to build a little place for our beloved feline and the neighbor couldn't wait to tell my mom that he said that he was building a cat house.

Suzanne in Orting, WA

nutsandbolts_64 (author)2010-07-04

my cat prefers plain old cardboard boxes. Now to just add a hole and some insulation lol.

Mr. Rig It (author)2008-03-21

Nice idea and you made it look nice as well. How about putting a kitty door between the house and the kitty house. Then out freezer flaps on both to keep the cold out. Just an idea and good job.

feiheck (author)Mr. Rig It2008-03-22

Good idea and having the cat house in front of the cat flap would hide the opening to the house itself. Thanks.

Big Bwana (author)feiheck2008-03-27

walmart has a nice little cat door, it even uses a magnet to hold it shut during the wind and it's easy for a cat to open, funny to watch at first as it smacks them on the rear and gets there tails for the first week (( Ok I might also have dumb cats ?? )) and you could be real nice and add a 7.5 watt light inside the house, and then the cat can live outside all the time (( the power it uses is alot less then the litter the cat uses inside ))

lshar (author)Big Bwana2010-03-03

I made a "cat house" by putting old quilts and blankets over a card table and using one of those space blankets inside a fake fur pillowcase for the flooring.  There's also a heading pad inside a thick pillowcase for really cold nights that I have hooked up to my porch outlet, so I can just reach out the back door and switch it on and off.  It works well for Atlanta weather.  The cats figured out how to get inside by nosing between and under the blankets hanging down.  Only problem is possums trying to take over and other cats spraying it, pew!  Thank heaven everything's washable!

A good name (author)Big Bwana2008-04-14

But walmart is evil :(

Big Bwana (author)A good name2008-04-15

Wal-mart may be Evil, but that's no reason for the cats to freeze, that in itself is evil.. ( Ok I live where it gets to -40 in the winter nights, and cats with no ears or tails is not cool, it's cruel. Yep those are the first things to go, and mine has all of his )

cavegirl42 (author)Big Bwana2008-12-24

A word of caution on the light bulb idea. My in-laws did this for their cat. We're not sure exactly what happened - either something got knocked against the bulb or it shorted out - but it started a fire that killed the cat and caused $90,000+ worth of damage to the house and cars. We probably would have lost the in-laws, too, if MIL hadn't had a late-night brownie craving...she saw the flames when she went into the kitchen. So, please, be careful.

meowzebub (author)2009-11-13

I'm wondering: If the climate is so harsh, why isn't the opening covered? Esp. now, as your furry friend is obviously familiar with the house and comfortable using it.
Anyways, beautiful job and I like the mat on the roof, as my kitty would definitely love the texture while sunning.
Thanks for sharing.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-03-20

Nice job! Do you have a picture of your cat? They are just so cute. :P

ReCreate (author)GorillazMiko2009-06-19

no, its an edit of some random photo

sk8erboie (author)ReCreate2009-09-13

Thats not a dog its a blanket with paws on it

ReCreate (author)sk8erboie2009-09-13

I just realized that, But the Cat is still a cheapo edit.

sk8erboie (author)2009-09-13

in the pic its a blanket in the window not a dog

ReCreate (author)2009-06-19

Umm...There is a dog in there, in the last photo, and in the first...Well look.

About This Instructable



More by feiheck:Cat House for those chilly nights
Add instructable to: