How to Build a Feral Cat Shelter 101

by | Cat Care |

The Ontario SPCA has a number of programs designed to assist feral cats and their care-givers, which you can learn all about on our Animals’ Voice Pawdcast: New Program: Building Feral Cat Shelters.

But today, we want you to be share how to make a feral cat shelter of your own!

Shelters are used to give feral cats a safe, warm place during the winter. If you have feral cats in your community you may want to consider taking on this project.

Learn how to build a feral cat shelter


  • Plastic tote (68L)
  • ¾ inch Durofoam sheet (4ft x 8ft)
  • Duct tape
  • Gorilla tape
  • Measuring tape
  • Exacto knife
  • Sharpie pen
  • Jigsaw/circular saw
  • 6” diameter black tubing

Feral cats are adept at finding shelter and a place to sleep out of the rain and out of sight. In warm weather, shelter is usually not a problem for them although you still might provide them with a cozy place just to make sure. When the temperature drops and winter sets in, that’s when they most need your help. Without a warm, dry place to bed down, the cats can fall seriously ill. In severe climates, cats can get frostbite on their ears, nose and paws. Providing adequate winter shelter is one of a caretaker’s primary tasks.

There are probably as many ways to build adequate shelter as there are creative caretakers. All good designs share two elements: good insulation and limited air space. The insulation is needed to trap the cats’ body heat, effectively turning the cats themselves into little radiators. The interior of the shelter should be just large enough to hold the cats and have as little empty space left over as possible to limit the air space that needs to be heated. Both good insulation and minimum air space are needed – one without the other won’t work. The shelter design described above incorporates these two key elements of adequate insulation and as little empty space as possible. – Neighborhood Cats TNR Handbook

For detailed written instructions on building your own feral cat shelter see our DIY – Step by Step: How to Build a Feral Cat Shelter.

For more information on feral cat programs see: