Tuesday Topic: Outdoor shelters for community or feral cats

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The leaves are changing and the brisk winds are coming back which means the season is turning here in Flagstaff. When the crisp days are followed by chilly nights are your outdoor or community cats able to stay warm? Cats are adept at finding ways to ride out the cold fall and winter weather, but it only takes a little time to help them out.

One easy way to give them a warm place is to get a medium-sized Tupperware-type bin, some cheap 1” insulation panels from a home improvement store, and some clean, dry straw (can be found at craft stores this time of year or a whole bale for under $20 at a farming supply store.)

Carefully cut a small hole, no bigger than 6” x 6” (yes, really!) toward one end of the longer side of the bin. Keep the square! Duct tape around the edges of the hole to cover sharp edges, then securely tape the square you cut out to the top edge of the hole, making a little flap.

Cut the 1” insulation so it fits as tightly as possible to the inside of the bin, remembering to cut a hole for the door. Place a decent amount of the straw inside the newly insulated bin—don’t stuff it, but give them enough to burrow in a little bit.

Make sure the lid is on tightly, tape it if you need to, and voila! A way station/ storm shelter for kitties passing through or a winter nest for long-term residents. Be aware that the cats may be suspicious of this new addition to their territory, sobe patient while they learn to trust their new shelter. It will help if you don’t move it around after you’ve introduced it to them. Good luck!

Check out this link to the Alley Cat Allies website for pictures, more information, and other diy shelter ideas. https://www.alleycat.org/resources/feral-cat-shelter-options-gallery/