This winter, we have some feral cats that have been hanging around our yard. The temperatures have gotten dangerously cold, and their typical hiding place under the shed is cramped and drafty.
So Rob and I spent our Valentines day putting together a feral cat shelter for them. Hopefully this will give them a more comfortable alternative to sheltering under the shed.
We started with two rubbermaid style storage containers, one large, one smaller.
We purchased these at the Christmas Tree Store for about $23.
I lined the bottom of the large container with Styrofoam which I got from cutting apart a little cooler that I received a cold postal shipment in.
Rob cut a 6 inch circular hole in the large container.
You want your entrance to be no larger than 6-8 inches, to discourage other wildlife from using the shelter.
We used a salt water taffy bucket from Ocean City as a guide, and then as a tunnel.
Rob then cut the second hole in the smaller container. I read that using a hair dryer to heat the plastic makes it easier to cut, but I don't own a hair dryer, so....
Rob cut the bottom off the bucket to create the tunnel. He then taped up all the rough edges with packing tape.
Meanwhile, I sorked on the bedding. I read that blankets and towels were not good things to use as bedding since the cats couldn't burrow into them. Straw is best, but we didn't have any of that. I then read that packing peanuts could be decent bedding, if inside a pillowcase. I didn't have any of those, but I did have some foam packing inserts.
I cut up the foam and sewed the pieces loosely into aan old pillowcase.
Now, the cats, when they sit on top of this pillowcase, it will conform to their bodies, and help keep them warm.
We put the bedding inside the smaller container, which is insulated inside the larger container.
Copper is non plussed.
But we are adorable.
We placed the shelter behind the shed where we've seen the strays. We put some logs on top to keep it from being blown by the wind, and later added a chair in front to provide added wind and snow protection (especially since they're calling for 8-10 inches of snow tonight!)
I've set some cat treats in the tunnel twice now, and they've disappeared each time, and I can also tell that a critter has been in the shelter, but I don't want to spook it, so we're giving it space. Maybe I'll be able to get a picture of one of our new friends soon!