Many cats live outside, which is fine if you are in a warm climate and there is plenty of food available for our furry felines. In Ohio, the winters can get downright frozen. Many feral cats and strays need help surviving in the sometimes harsh Ohio weather conditions.
Feral cats can be helped in many different ways. One easy way to help is by providing food and water for these lost cats, but you can also build a shelter for them with a few cheap and easy to find items.
The first step in building a shelter for stray cats is to purchase a storage bin. Be careful when purchasing this storage bin to make sure that it is not too large. A good size is an 18-gallon bin. Another great housing option could be an old Styrofoam cooler or the cooler could be placed inside of the bin for further insulation. The cat will trap its own body heat inside of the bin and if the housing is too large then heat will escape. Think about a large, high ceiling in a human’s home during the wintertime and how heat just seems to disappear.
Next, cut a 6-inch diameter hole in the front of the storage bin, so the cat can climb in to the bin. Fill the bin with straw to help keep kitty warm. Please check your kitty’s bed periodically to make sure it is not getting wet on the inside because this can cause the feline to get a chill. Do not use blankets or towels these items get soggy quickly and can freeze. Return the lid to the top of your kitty hotel and you may want to seal the lid with duct tape.
Voila! You now have a warm, easy-to-make home for your outdoor friends.
Just a few dos and don’ts to follow:
DON’T use hay. Straw is a better option and cheaper. Hay is more absorbent and can retain moisture.
DO provide a soft layer of hay so cats can burrow into it for more warmth.
DON’T put water inside of the house. A cat climbing in and out of the bin can easily knock the water bowl over causing the inside to get drenched.
DO put food and water close to or right outside of the shelter.
It is easy to make an outdoor home for feral and outdoor cats in the winter. The kittens will thank you with a few hearty “Meows” or “Purrs.”