Another Tip on Building and Cleaning Out Feral Cat Shelters

Every year I go around the neighborhood and clean out the outdoor cat houses that I’ve put out for the colony cats. I can’t afford to build wood shelters for all the colonies, so I use Rubbermaid bins. They’re cost-effective, easy to transport, and most importantly, they keep the cats warm.

There’s no single “right” way to build cat shelters, but as I’m cleaning them out this year I realized I prefer the two-bin shelter with pink insulation in-between model. The insulation gets filthy and you have to replace it every year if the cat is sitting on it. That’s added expense to buy more insulation, and time to measure and cut it out again every year.

If the cat sits on the straw placed directly in the bin, you just throw the old straw out, hose down the bin, and add fresh straw.

Check out this photo of a cat house I’m currently cleaning. You can see the insulation in-between the bins is still as good as new, while the piece that was inside that the cats sat on is dirty, scratched up, and needs to be thrown out.  two-bin outdoor cat house

Erica says:

Vanessa, yeah, if the styrofoam pieces you use are just squares cut out and dropped in, propped up by straw, this will happen. We cut our pieces using a template so that the 5 pieces are fitted perfectly to the shape of the bin, and inserted so tightly that they cannot fall over, even with no straw in the bin. 🙂 (shameless plug for Tree House brand shelters here!)

Vanessa says:

I moved that piece for the photo – that was the “floor” used as extra insulation, not propped up. The cats scratch the insulation and it also obviously gets filthy from them. You can hose down the bins because they’re plastic, not the insulation. There’s no right or wrong way, I’m just freshening up a lot of bins and have found this way saves time for me.

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