How to Make 100 Outdoor Cat Shelters in One Weekend

If you Google “outdoor cat shelter” you get 1.3 million results, with lots of ideas and instructions on how to make one cat shelter at a time. There are tons of great resources out there on how to custom-build outdoor cat houses using scrap materials to save money and I encourage everyone to make their own.

This is instructions on how you can mass produce a whole bunch of feral cat houses with minimal time or waste. You can also use these instructions just to make a few outdoor cat shelters at a time. We did this at PAWS Chicago a few years back. Someone donated around 100 new Storage Totes bins, all the same size. It made sense to buy new insulation materials then and make the interiors all the same, like an assembly line. Otherwise we were going to spend a lot of time measuring scrap materials and making each house individually.

First step: Recruit some help. I had a partner in crime to divide and conquer. Jim did the measuring and cutting. I did the assembling and taping.

If you’ve got cats lying around, make them work! We put a kitten in charge of inspection and quality control.

And don’t forget to have some fun.

Now you’re ready. Here’s what we used:

Storage Totes bins, 23.5″x 17.5″ x 15.5″
Half-inch Foamular insulating boards. Each board insulates four bins.
– A Sharpie, measuring tape, and a dry wall square or some sort of straight edge to make your measurements on the insulation boards.
Duct tape.
– A cutting tool, like a box cutter, to cut the insulation board. You can also use it to cut the entrance hole of the bin, but as you can see from the video above, an oscillating saw is easier and gets great results.
Straw for insulation, warmth, comfort and to repel moisture.

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