Feline Rescue

Kitten Development & Care

Making Winter Shelters for Community Cats!

Making Winter Shelters for Community Cats!

Hey everybody, I’m here at Humane Rescue Alliance in Washington, D.C. with my friend Erin. Erin works with all of the community cats in Washington, D.C. She manages a huge program that saves the lives of all of the feral and community cats. [Erin:] Yes, that is true. [Hannah:] So, it has been freezing in D.C. lately, and the other day, Erin and I were texting, and we were like, maybe we can get a bunch of people to come make winter shelters. [Erin:] So, we are gathering hopefully a lot of people today to make uh winter shelters for community cats outside. Community cats can live outside. They’re very well adapted to outdoor life, but having somebody watching up with them and feeding them and then providing winter shelter like this means that we can certainly improve their quality of life. And we’re getting a lot of phone calls asking about what to do, people who may be new to taking care of community cats as of 2017, and this is their first winter with it, and they don’t know what to do, and they think, “Oh, I should call and you guys should pick them up and take them to the shelter.” So making these outdoor shelters for them is what we can offer them and give them away for free to anybody who needs them, and we’re not bringing those cats into the shelter facility where they don’t want to be. So we can do this for those people and those cats. [Hannah:] So the shelters that we’re making today start out with an 18-gallon plastic tub just like this. And then inside, They’re insulated with Mylar. So you can get it at Home Depot, and it is reflective of the cat’s body heat. So you can just tape this onto the inside of it. On the sides and on the bottom we put styrofoam sheets for extra insulation, and then cover that in the Mylar. What we do here is cut a 6 inch by 6 inch hole that the cat can go in, and this one has a flap on it so that the cat can go in there and then there’s no wind resistance. Sometimes the cats will accept a flap, sometimes not. It really depends on the cat. Another important thing is making sure that the hole is sufficiently up off the ground. Think about rain and snow. You don’t want any of that to be able to come in on the bottom here. So you want them to kind of hop up into it. Then you just put some straw inside of here. You want to make sure that you’re using straw and not hay, because it’s nice and dry for them. You just put your lid on, and this is where… the cats can spend their winters and be nice and warm. [Hannah:] The door is so cool. I like the Kitten Lady sticker. This is awesome! [Andrew:] Good job guys! [Woman:] That’s awesome. [Hannah:] Cats can and do live very good lives outdoors. I think a lot of people are surprised by that? Like they picture that cats on the streets have these like really sad lives. [Erin:] Yes. [Hannah:] And if you work with community cats or feral cats, you know that that’s just not the case. Most of the time, these cats have, really good lives um and (Yeah) can live very successfully, but there’s always ways we can improve their quality of life, just like for pet cats. We can improve their quality of life. Of course, another essential component of working with community cats is making sure that they are sterilized. The number one source of kittens in shelters is from these outdoor community cats, so we have got to get on the streets and get trapping and get those cats sterilized. So get on Google and find out if you have a Trap-Neuter-Return program in your community, and you can get involved by volunteering to trap cats, foster little kittens, and make winter shelters just like these Humane Rescue Alliance needed winter shelters, and I think we did it! [Andrew:] Wooo!
[Hannah:] Cat! *Outro* Video End

100 thoughts on “Making Winter Shelters for Community Cats!

  • Did you (do you) insulate the "roof"? A lot of cold will penetrate down from the top.

    Where can I donate large styrofoam containers? I get one a month with a frozen food shipment. So far I have gotten 4 and have had to take them to the county landfill because I could not find a local source (Baltimore County MD, more specifically Towson ) to donate them for making winter or year round shelters for feral cats.

  • Your cat experience and concern are unparalleled. This is a nice way to make certain that the feral cats survive the winters in DC and elsewhere. However, giving some advice on where to place these "cattebegos" would be helpful. In addition, for those of us who get "adopted" by their feline parents-of-the-wild, please let us know how to control the fleas and ticks that can be a problem now and as we get closer to the Spring and the Puddy-Tats get closer to us!

  • You are the kittens and cats meow!!!!!!!!!😽😽😽😽😽😽😽😽😽😽😽😽😽😹😹😹😹😹😹😹😹😹😹😸😸😸😸😸😸😸😸😸😸😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻😻!!!!!!!

  • Has anyone dealt with feed and sheltering cats and having possums/raccoons come and eat their food. I've read that if i just feed them during the day it helps deter. any other suggestions?

  • Keep up the good job. You have taught me so much being that I am a cat lover myself. God Bless you and maybe someday we will meet. Toodles for now!!!

  • There are some cats in my neighborhood that are feral, one of them goes into our backyard and just sits at the door and looks inside the house, he is the dad of a lot of the cats we have given away, and some (by some I mean two) we kept….

  • OMG! I LOVE THAT SHE DOES THIS ASHE IS SO AMAZONG AND SWEET!β€πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’™πŸ’œβ€πŸ’šπŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’›πŸ’œπŸ’šβ€πŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’›πŸ’™πŸ’šβ€πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’šβ€πŸ’šπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’›πŸ’™πŸ’šβ€πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’šβ€πŸ’šπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ’šβ€πŸ˜ƒβ€πŸ’šπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜€πŸ’šπŸ’šπŸ’œ

  • my cat lived outside but she lived were there was a big dog and she had lost her mom and had barly any food


  • There is this one lady down the street who puts poisonous stuff out that animals like and it’s killing the cats in my neighborhood it killed one of my cats a while back πŸ™


  • Your right goodbye is the goal I'm not going to say your perfect but you are a life saver and I hope you know how many life's you are saving with your amazing videos I love you wee love you

  • Recently I saved two kittens that are sisters and they are doing fine. They are now 13 weeks old and they are very healthy. I am only a kid but had fun doing it with my mum and I hope to do it later in my life xx ❀️

  • Yeah we bought a house an unknowingly inherited stray cats the previous owners were feeding. Made a point to make lots of shelters this year for winter.

  • I really just don’t understand why people would dislike these videos! I mean even if you’re a β€˜dog person’ you should still appreciate what these people are doing! 🐈😻

  • Feral cats MUCH prefer to have a back door, so it's impossible for them to be trapped in their shelter. Great idea using the plastic boxes, but put a back door in it!

  • You are so kind to cats and I'm grateful for that. When I'm older I'm going to be like you. Thank you for all you do.πŸ˜ŠπŸ˜ŠπŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ˜Ί

  • I take care of two outdoors cats one has already been through TNR and is officaly wild the other one is not they are both boys and we are moving soon and we are bringing the fully wild one and we have to leave the other one here what should we do and plus his health is not good and I have been fostering him

  • i went on holiday i was walking outside and two adult cats came up to me and started to rub on me they were very used to humans for feral cats another one was all over me he came into my villa and slept with me XD he/she was adorable and so friendly

  • Wow! Spectacular! Also…… Damn those 2 girls are HOT! Any sexier we would need to hose them down. Wonder if the tattered woman and her friend bent over that table they set up, for the community to take a little look see!???

  • There are sibling kittens that pretty much live in my yard , their mom had them and the just stay around..my question is should I make one shelter for each or just one?

  • Free mice ➑ (hilarious)

    I have been using my old dog BRANDY'S large Vari kennels top and the bottom half each help make a great shelter I have covered up the outside with tarps,bubble wrap and sheets of plastic they get blankets inside and either dried leaves or grass underneath for extra insulation and a wind breaker doorway and of course I leave out dry cat food & un-frozen water all yr round it never snows here but I still like to make sure they have a dry warm shelter to go-to Iam going to block off acess underneath my house because Iam guessing that a PEPE LaPue has been cutting the cheese under MY house

  • I don't see how they have "really good lives" when they don't know where their next meal is coming from, there is no medical care when they need it, predators and HUMANS can end their lives easily..and do. And yes, it's freezing outside. What about the kittens……

  • Thank you for being a hero to all cats. You're an amazing woman and I wish you all the help you need to continue your mission. I will be helping out in what I can in our neighborhood.

  • Where do you recommend putting those cat shelters? I'm looking to make a couple for my neighborhood in Chicago but not sure where is best to put them?

  • Do lots of feral cats live more in metropolitan areas rather than suburbs? I ask because I've always lived in the suburbs and have never seen feral cats. I see cats outside a lot, but just assume they are someone's pet. Feral cats i assume are more skiddish and dirty looking than a pet and maybe underweight.

  • Congratulaions for your great work. I am building my first cat shelter, and love the idea of the mylar. I didn't think of that. Keep up the great work.

  • Thank you I was able to get most everything I needed at Walmart. Tomorrow I will get some straw and I forgot to put styrofoam on my list but can get that tomorrow as well.

  • Too many wild animals like raccoons and etc so instead I rescued a feral kitten and tamed it. He is in his forever home now. Apparently his mother either was killed or left him. Either way he's in his forever home and is now a loved and spoiled furbaby.

  • One very cold winter years ago, I helped a neighborhood cat who I used to feed. I tried bringing him inside the house, but my cat wasn't having it. So I used two cardboard boxes, one smaller than the other, with pink fiberglass insulation between them. I put an automobile caged trouble light with a 5 watt bulb inside, and it was warm enough inside to keep his water dish from freezing. I put the shelter on my porch out of the wind. He loved it. I found him a forever home in the spring.

  • Hello. I feed street cats. I’m saving and collecting things to make them houses and is a good idea summon people to help. I would like to do it to finish fast and help them.

  • Kitten lady youre awesome! I actually built 4 really good ones for some strays this winter. I even crawled beneath a house to get them placed in the right spots. Cats are cool. We should all be helping these guys out. Shes setting a good example.

  • So much gret info. Had no clue I could help homeless cats. Or about their ears being clipped to show they have been fixed. Love that a couple of shelters could do so much. I've always felt helpless as my income is so small and being disabled. But you have such great info and I feel empowered to help now. Should I get some friends together to make shelters and we place them in strategic safe places or take them to shelters or both?

  • Wonderful work you're doing! My only concern is that many people put two doors in so the cat can escape if something comes inside after them. What is your thoughts on this?

  • How many cats would you say each of those home-made shelters provides for? Is it one cat per shelter? Or will a few stay in one at a time? There's a group of about 7 feral cats in my neighborhood, and I'd like to build a shelter for them for the winter. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • There's a small handful of community cats in my neighborhood, and one of them is actually comfortable enough with my family to come inside the house when he gets too cold, but these are great for the other cats who are more feral

  • Not in ND they sure don’t have good lives. Snow is very deep, wind very strong, temps very low. No mice to catch, water freezes to ice within minutes. Many get very sick and suffer much before death. Farms are spread way out from each other so those β€œcozy warm barns” are hard to find. It’s the idiots that won’t spay and neuter their cats that ought to be thrown out in the snowbank!!!!

  • Should we be worried about making a second hole in case something tries to attack them when they’re in there? I live where we have a lot of predators.

  • To anyone that has trapped kitties…I currently have a Mama and 5 kittens that are about 6 weeks old (she hid them very well) in my backyard as I just discovered them. I have friends that are going to come on Sunday to do TNR. They want to do 3 kittens first, then Mom and the other 2 babes. My questions…are they going to leave my yard after? Is this going to screw up their routine? I know it’s necessary, I’m just worried. Last year we trapped 9 cats, but we were able to adopt the 2 kittens out… I took the third that was very sick, she was 6 ounces and now she is 6 almost 7 pounds. The current litter showed up so late age-wise that it’s been impossible to find any foster families that will socialize them. I’m working on it, but it’s very difficult. Sorry for the long comment, any advice is welcome. Thanks kitty lovers!!!

  • This was awesome. Damn I really spoil my ferel colonies… I care for 9 regularly, I just purchased the XLG pods sold on Etsy… there're be sleeping in a luxury condo. Then I got a 2nd XLG from Ark workshop. Lets just say neither was cheap! This was the most I ever spent this year. I wanted high grade that will last them for years.

  • I've run over 7 cats with my tractor trailer in the last year..I try to miss them but there are just too many…what should I do?

  • I lived in Michigan and there was an orange tabby cat who we think was a girl and we think she had kittens we called her OC ;for orange cat or outside cat) we saw her one morning and we had a cat ourselves and my grandma and I are cat people so we gave her some human food the first day because she couldn’t have our cats food ( he had kidney cancer and was on a special food) the next day we went and bought food so we were feeding her that every day we would know when she was there because our cats would talk through the window ( they were frenemies) we noticed that after she would eat she would go under this bench next to a wall so we took this plastic bin (it didn’t have a lid) put it on its side and pu t it under the bench so that the wall and window formed a corner then the bin blocked the wind from one direction we then put a tarp over the bench and made it so there was a spot she could walk through and so the snow didn’t get in it we but a couple towels in it for her warmth. She would stay there and talk to us for a while then would be gone before the sun came up. I wanted to take her to get spayed and everything but my grandma said no. I love this idea and wish we had done this instead but I think our winter home worked pretty well

  • I made a shelter out of a plastic bin and styrofoam with a mylar lining and I'm in North Texas. I have two questions. How do you cut the entrance hole and are there any building materials we should avoid, due to off-gassing? Cats have really sensitive kidneys and systems and I'm guessing there are materials that off-gas and could make them sick.

  • I'm in SE DC and it's a stray cat that comes outside my window all the time. I want to let it in so bad and it's getting cold. I need help idk what to do!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *