Community Cat Shelter Instructions

Community Cat Shelter Instructions

If you’ve trap-neuter-returned (TNR) feral or friendly cats, here is a great way to provide them with a shelter to hunker down in on cold nights. These shelters are inexpensive, and easy to build.

What you’ll need:

-Sterilite 18 gallon and 30 gallon containers
-drill with large bit
-permanent marker
-5″ paper plate
-jab saw (
-Reflictix insulation (
-brick or short piece of 2″x4″

Construction process:

You’ll want the opening for the shelter to be about 5″ wide. The paper plate is for marking this opening, but anything round and approximately 5″ wide will work (flower pot, ceramic plate or bowl, coffee can, etc.).

The bottom of the opening should be about 4″ up from the bottom of the container. Measure up from the bottom, center the paper plate left to right and mark a circle with the permanent marker.

Drill a couple of holes next to each other so you can fit the jab saw into the container and cut out the opening.

Cut a piece of insulation for the bottom of the 30 gallon container. Place the 18 gallon container inside on top of the insulation and mark the opening for the 18 gallon container. Make sure you’ve lined up the opening for both containers. Cut out the opening on the 18 gallon container just as you did for the 30 gallon one.

Cut a sheet of insulation to wrap around the 18 gallon container. Don’t block the opening.

Place the 18 gallon container with insulation inside the 30 gallon container and cut a piece of insulation for the top of the 18 gallon container.

Place a brick or short (approx. 10″) section of 2″x 4″ in the 30 gallon container just in front of the 18 gal/ container. This keeps the 18 gal. container from moving around inside the larger container.

Fill the 18 gallon container with straw about 2/3 full, making sure to leave enough room for cats to get inside. The cats will pack the straw down over time.

Sprinkle some catnip inside and at the opening.

Place the shelter in an area where the cats will feel safe using them.

Questions about creating this type of shelter or helping community cats in general? Please email Eric Phelps,