Cat House





Introduction: Cat House

This is a heated cat house that will keep your outside cat warm and cozy all winter long. There is enough room inside for food, water and a bed. Inside the house the water will not freeze even when it is freezing outside.

Step 1: Start

You may need to train your cat to use the house by feeding them inside. They will see how warm and cozy it is in there and before you know it they will be using it on their own.

We keep our cat houses out all year long but we only feed them inside on very cold days. They are plugged in all winter, day and night. In the spring we unplug them during the day when the weather is warm and plug them in for the cold nights. During the summer our cats dont use the inside, so we put foam pads on top and they love to lay up there. When we turn the houses on in the fall as the days and nights start to get cold again, we find our cats sleeping inside, they really love their houses!

Having fun checking out their new house.

Step 2: The Cats

These are 2 of our cats that adopted us a little over a year ago, Squeaker and Smokey. We do know they are brother and sister and they love each other very much. We made a house for each of them but they won’t use their own, they always sleep together.

They were very neglected and abused by their owners, and then abandoned. When the two of them were abandoned they were both in bad shape, and neither one had been spayed or neutered.

Smokey, he had mats on both his sides so bad that when they were shedding off, his skin was pealing off with them and leaving open wounds that looked like burns. I cut off the mats the best I could, cleaned and medicated his wounds. It took about 3 weeks for him to heal and start growing his hair back.

Squeaker, she was pregnant and close to delivery. I thought she would go some where and hide to have her babies. But I was wrong, on Mothers Day when I came out on my porch I found Squeaker in one of the houses crying and in full labor. She had chosen one of the cat houses to be her nesting box, and that is where she / we raised her litter of 3, two girls and a boy.

When her babies were old enough we got them good homes and had Squeaker and Smokey spayed and neutered. After all this I was worried they might not be close. I was wrong again, they are back to sharing a house and just as close as ever.

This cat house is easy to make and can be built in just a few hours. It is easy to clean and will last for years.

Step 3: Parts

These are the parts you will need to build your cat house:
1 - 100 qt. cooler or larger
1 - super bright 12 ft. rope light
8 - 1" x 1" mounting bases
20 - zip ties
11 - #8 x 1/2" long wood screws
1 - 8" x 8" piece of carpet. Make sure the carpet is a couple inches larger in height and width than the doorway you are going to cut.
1" thick foam pad for the inside bed (cut to fit)
1 rug or blanket for the inside bed
3" thick for outside on top of the lid (cut to fit)

Step 4: Making the House

Making the Cat House

Start by measuring a 6" x 6" square about 1" up from the bottom, in the lower corner of the cooler. Then drill a hole in each corner large enough for a jig saw blade to fit in. Cut the square out.

Mount the piece of carpet to the inside of the cooler with 3 - #8 wood screws, making sure the doorway is covered completely. Then cut a slit about 3" long up the middle of the carpet. This makes it easier for them to exit.

Step 5: Rope Light

Mount the 8 rope light mounting bases with the #8 Wood screws as shown. I tried the self adhesive tape that is already on the back of the mounts and then hot glue, neither one of these will hold, so I decided to use wood screws.

Starting with the cord end string the rope lights around the inside of the lid starting in the lower left hand corner, so the cord end hangs out the back as shown in the picture below. Mount them to the bases with zip ties. The rope light should wrap around twice.

Step 6: The Cord

The cord needs to run out the back of the house, with a jig saw cut a slot the width of the cord in the inside edge of the lid and the top edge of the cooler.

Make sure the lid closes without pinching the cord. Be careful not to nick to the edge of the lid with the saw.

Step 7: Inside

It is best to locate the cat house under a covered porch or at least out of the rain, unless you mount a board to the top that overhangs the door.

If you would like us to build one or more for you, send an email to or visit for more contact information.

Step 8: End

Hey! It's warm and cozy in here!
Please close the lid!

I have placed these under an enclosed porch but others have noted that when used in the open the lid leaks in the rain. So I got a new coleman chest and put it out in the rain and it leaks. Not what I expected. So here is the fix (I hope); I got some weather stripping 1/8" X 3/8" X 10 feet. I put this around the edge of the inside lip. I first tried 1/4" thick stripping but it was too thick. The 1/8" works great I can feel the lid lock into place when closed. It has stopped raining for now so I will get results later. It may be better to put the strip on the lid. I will run more tests when it rains again. Make sure the edge is clean and dry before adding the strip. I used alcohol to clean the edge.

I believe that closed cell type stripping is the best, There is an open cell strip but this may collect water.

The house was in the rain all night with the weather stripping installed and I opened it up this morning and it was dry inside! The weather stripping is a success. It would be a good idea to add a strip about the door to act as a gutter, make it arched or angled for drainage. Also the cut for the bottom of the door should be slopped to the outside. When opening the lid while wet it will help to run your finger around the opening first to remove standing water. This will keep it from dripping inside as the lid is opened.

2 People Made This Project!


  • Science of Cooking

    Science of Cooking
  • Pocket-Sized Contest

    Pocket-Sized Contest
  • Spotless Contest

    Spotless Contest

We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.




Some cooler cat house helpful hints. (1) To locate cooler in the open air, glue heavy mill plastic drop cloth piece to cooler top - hanging over the sides 8". (2) 10-20 watt incandescent bulb is sufficient for both light and heat. (3) For door, cut carpet slightly smaller than opening and glue to door made from mentioned drop cloth plastic - attached to cooler with glue - slit up middle for easier access.

commendable that you rescued them. But why not just take them inside all the time, or at least when it is cold out. It is not like they are true ferals. and why the rope light? they don't need it.

my stray is still getting used to us-there is no way I could catch him, hold on to him, and hope we'd all survive.

We have inside cats already and unfortunately they will fight. The rope light is used for heat and reading (if they are in the mood).

Thats too bad, our rescue group has found that fighting is very very rare with anything other than Tom cats who would rather be outside. Cats are communal and usually reach a form of detente.

Not my cats! They are all spoiled brats!

I seem to have the rare event on a daily basis, RATS!

depending on where u live an the speacies of the rat. they can be smarters than you. but once they an you get to know each other they can be very helpfull as well.

My poor cats have to put up with snakes, dogs, mini komodo dragons and hedgehogs!