Learn how to build a feral cat shelter

by | Interesting |

The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society developed feral cat support programs to assist feral cat caretakers in managing their colonies. As a direct result of animals left unaltered and abandoned, cat overpopulation is an issue across Ontario and has resulted in a staggering number of feral cats. A trap, neuter, vaccinate, return approach is the only economically viable and truly humane approach to feral cat population stabilization.

To assist feral cat caretakers in managing feral cat colonies, the Ontario SPCA has developed three innovative programs:

  1. Feral Cat Trap Depot Program where the Society loans cat traps to feral cat caretakers at no charge, in an effort to trap, neuter, vaccinate and return feral cats to their managed colony and stabilize their population.
  2. Free Feral Food Bank providing significant support of food to colony caretakers. Without the participation of the Ontario SPCA, the dedicated feral cat colony caretakers use their own personal funds to provide food for these cats that have been abandoned by society.
  3. Feral Cat Shelters – a limited amount are made each fall by volunteers (or can be affordably made by anyone following the instructions below) for caretakers to provide a safe, warm place for their colonies during our cold, harsh winters.

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.

  • 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:


I stand behind SPCA with my monthly gift

I stand behind SPCA with my monthly gift. I am so happy there are folks like you to care for those who can’t help themselves.  My family and I have had animals all our lives and know what a comfort they are.  Thank you SPCA.