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How to Build Low Cost Shelters for Community Cats

and her husband have been building shelters for community cats in Fresno and providing them to community cat caretakers in the Facebook group , at cost.

Demand has been overwhelming and she’s unable to accept any more orders. However, below is information how she makes these so more people can create their own shelters.

You will need:
Shelter box- Sterilite 18-gallon tub
Insulation material
Bottom - 2 inches thick styrofoam:
Lowe's has sheets of Styrofoam 96x48 (8 ft x 4 ft) x
Top and sides:
Option 1: Lowe's Styrofoam 96x48 (8 ft x 4 ft) x
Option 2: Amazon (cheaper and quicker) in various sizes
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to put around the hole you will cut for the door
: Tractor Supply has this (don’t use hay or blankets or towels)
Zip ties to zip tie all corners
Heavy-duty duct tape
for a drill ($14.99) to make an entry-way
140mm / 5.5 inches (there are other ways to cut holes but this is very efficient)
Catnip to tempt your community cats to their new shelter!

Detailed Instructions:
Use the drill attachment to make a hole in the front and back of tub (on the smaller sides) - 2 holes total
You can also trace a small plate approx. 16 inches in diameter and use a blow dryer to heat tub then cut hole with a box cutter.
Drill small holes:
One hole on each corner with the lid on. This is to zip tie shut in later instructions.
One holes at the bottom of the tub under each door (2 total). This will be for drainage.
Cut the pieces for insulation:
Cut 1 piece of 2” Styrofoam into a 16 ½ by 12 for the bottom.
Cut each corner at a 1” angle to fit snugly into the bottom of tub.
This will be put in after the sides are put in.
Cut 5 pieces of the thinner insulation into 16 ½ by 12” for the sides and top.
Insert the insulation:
The silver side should be on the inside.
Insert the 4 side pieces into tub (on the small side you will turn the piece to fit and trim top.)
Use 2 sided adhesive tabs or duct tape to secure.
Insert the thick insulation on the bottom, it will be very snug push slowly to the bottom of tub.
Attach the last piece to the lid using adhesive tabs or duct tape.
Do not cover the holes that were drilled for zip ties
Leave about ½ inch away from side so lid will go on snugly.
Cover any spaces air can come in with duct tape.
Snap on your door guard.
Cover the edges around the hole from the inside with duct tape. This is to prevent the Styrofoam from getting wet.
Fill tub about ¾ full of straw. DO NOT USE HAY.
Add about 2 tablespoons of catnip.
Put the lid on and zip tie shut. It is now ready to be placed ready for your cats!
Take a picture and post on Facebook - let’s inspire as many people as possible to make shelters for our furry friends this winter!
Other Resources
- Alley Cat Allies
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