Introduction: Outdoor Cold Weather 'Cat Condo'
This tutorial will show how to make an Outdoor Cold Weather 'Cat Condo'. Our neighborhood seems to have more than our share of homeless cats and my wife tends to feed all that show up. During the winter months the weather can be wet and cold (with a fair amount of snow), so about seven years ago my wife asked me to create shelters for the feral cats. The shelters last throughout the winter months and I get rid of them each Spring at the end of the rainy season, about the time when many of the cats start wandering off.
The ‘cat condo’ consists of two 18 gallon storage container “houses” measuring 18”W x 25”L x 14”H. The outer walls of the condo are created from one 4 x 8 sheet 1½ ” extruded Styrofoam insulation. The fronts are open so that the storage container “houses” can be removed for cleaning. The ‘condo’ has ledges on each level for eating & sleeping and extended sides for protection from rain and snow. The photo above shows the deterioration on the right side where kittens used it for climbing to the roof – all of the cats like using the roof to lay in the Sun or play, especially the kittens.
The inner storage houses had old clothes/blankets, etc, so even on the coldest of days (near –20F) the cats were warm and cozy. About the only time they wanted to come out on those days were to eat and then they went back into to the houses to sleep. Note: The storage container cat houses are re-used each year.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
- Long blade utility knife or sheet rock saw
- Carpenter’s square
Quantity Part Description Approx Cost
2 18 gal storage tubs (25” x 17 ¾” x 14 ¼”) $ 9.50
1 4 x 8 sheet 1 ½ ” extruded Styrofoam insulation $15.33
1 tube of construction adhesive (outdoor) $ 6.25
Step 2: Cut Out the Main Pieces
Above is a cutout diagram I created that I use each year. The second photo shows how the main pieces are glued together using outdoor construction adhesive.
Step 3: Finishing Touches to Front of Condo
The “L” section from the cutout diagram is cut into sections and then glued onto the front of the cat condo to form the extended sides - to block the wind, snow and rain (see above).
Step 4: Cutting the Cat Houses
On one end of each 18-gallon storage container, outline an entrance hole like the second photo above and cut the entrance hole. Save the tops because they keep the “houses” warmer with the lids.
All that is left is to put in some old blankets, fleece clothes, etc. My wife got ours from a Goodwill store; she washes them two or three times during the winter months when the cats are out sleeping and playing.
scooter76 made it!
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Please be positive and constructive.
I live in -20 winters as well and we use clean straw (not hay) to warm the inside versus cloth. The straw helps retain the body heat of the cats whereas cloth wicks heat away. We empty (and clean) the houses in the spring and stuff them again September 1. Thank you for providing much needed shelter and food to these unowned cats.