Instructables
Picture of 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.
 
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Step 1: Tools & Materials

Tools needed:
- Long blade utility knife or sheet rock saw
- Carpenter’s square

Materials list:

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

Straw should be used...blankets hold the cold and wetness

scooter76 made it!1 month ago

Thanks for the inspiration. http://www.instructables.com/id/Cat-House-for-the-Winter-and-for-Feral-cats/

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milesnorth1 year ago
This is so sweet! I love it. We need something similar where I live for individuals without housing. I am actually serious. I want to come up with some way for homeless individuals (in Alaska) to get out of the snow and off the street into a dry small area that can be heated with their body heat. Any ideas welcome and appreciated. have a lot of ideas so far, but this gives me some additional ideas. thanks.
l8nite3 years ago
nice "ible" we used to have a lot of feral cats, then a 3' alligator moved in, now we have few cats and a 7' gator
post a pic of the shelter you made for the gator...
jensam2 years ago
God bless you and your wife.. these are wonderful and I will be making some of these for the homeless cats that live by the dumpsters at my work. Thank God their are lots of people feeding them, and now they will have some warm housing! I can't thank you enough for sharing this with all of us. You can tell the size of a persons soul by the way they treat an animal. Thanks again!
pam8192 years ago
Your Cat Condo is a good idea. Here's my dealings with keeping cats warm during the winter.
I have about 7 outside cats now and have tried different things to keep them warm during the winter. We moved to WV in 09 and it was a bad winter, so I let 13 cats stay in the house that winter. In 2010 I decided not this year, so I put a heat lamp over the table outside on the porch and they huddled under that. It caused my electric bill go up and I had to think of something else to keep them warm that would raising my electric. So, this past winter I took 2 styrofoam coolers taped the lids, turned them up upside down so the lid was on the bottom and cut out a small opening. Then I bought me some batting the kind you use to make Hotpads and placed on the inside. It helps generate heat from the cats body. This worked really well and they were as snug as a bug in a rug. This year too we are going to cover the porch with those clear plastic panels hoping when the sun is shinning it will warm the porch during the day. I am also going to cover the decking boards with styrofoam insulation and then cover it with rugs hoping to keep the cold air out from underneath. Wish there was a way I can keep that warmth we get from the day into the night. Do you have any ideas of keeping that warmth the sun generates during the day?
MacGyver9 (author)  pam8192 years ago
I've been using two heated mats (see below) on our glider on the back deck. I plug them both into a Thermo cube, so that the mats only use electricity when the temperature get cold (below 32 degrees and turns off when it goes above 45 degrees).

In the winter I have a cover over the seat of the glider and one over the entire glider. I put one of these mats in each of the seats of the glider and then circle it with old baby blankets. The mats actually react to the body heat of the cats and generates more than enough heat to keep the cats "toasty". I've found that the cost throughout the Winter is minimal.

Heated Pet Mat (Thermostatic controls heat to your pet)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002RL9NX0?&tag=shopwiki-us-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325

Thermo Cube Thermostatically Controlled Outlet
http://www.amazon.com/Farm-Innovators-TC-3-Thermostatically-Controlled/dp/B0006U2HD2/ref=pd_bxgy_petsupplies_img_y
souz2 years ago
Thank you for the instructible and also for being so nice to the cats! I made cat shelters out of EPS last winter. I think yours are quicker to make. I'll probably adopt some of your ideas. Does your area have a TNR program (Trap, Neuter, and Return)? As dpc1222 suggested, you might be able to get them neutered. It's practical and inexpensive with the help of a TNR program like the one I got trained by -- http://www.neighborhoodcats.org. You might also want to look at their plans for cat shelters and links to other peoples' shelter plans. I'm really impressed that the cats were safe even at -20 F! I credit the EPS. Thanks again!
dpc12222 years ago
Thanks to you and your wife for caring about the cats! A couple of suggestions - straw or hay is a great insulator and works better than the blankets, which absorb dampness.
While feeding and sheltering the cats is great, it is ony half the job! Spaying and neutering those cats is a MUST, given the millions of animals killed in our shelters every year!
hollymaren2 years ago
Thank you for caring about abandoned and stray cats.So many animals suffer.