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Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: December 02, 2023 06:13PM
Hi everyone,

With recent weather we've had down here (flooding rains), and the approach of very cold temps, I've been debating to make (or buy) a small outdoor shelter for my porch cat.

I've seen lots of instructions online to make a shelter using either plastic totes or styrofoam coolers, but I'm also wondering if it makes sense to save some time and just use something premade. I just found these:

[www.petco.com]
[www.lowes.com]
[www.amazon.com]

... which are admittedly not well-insulated, but might still do the trick with either a heating pad or a self-heated pad?

What say you all?




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: December 02, 2023 06:25PM
I think you're better off going with something made for outdoor usage. This looks pretty simple - [www.alleycat.org]

---

I guess the first one you linked to is made for outdoors and might be a good option.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/2023 06:27PM by mattkime.
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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: December 02, 2023 07:00PM
Quote
mattkime
I think you're better off going with something made for outdoor usage. This looks pretty simple - [www.alleycat.org]

---

I guess the first one you linked to is made for outdoors and might be a good option.

Yes, I saw that exact link you posted... I think I have a few concerns about it, first is having to continuously replace the straw (I kind of like the idea of something that's washable), second is that you can't see if the cat is inside (it'd be nice to know if she's using it), third is that if it's really frigid outside, it might not be that easy to add a heating pad. And of course it means buying the totes... I do have access to large styrofoam coolers, which might be easier for me to work with.

Edit, I just found another one, very reasonably priced: [www.amazon.com]




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/02/2023 07:12PM by PeterB.
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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: Fritz
Date: December 02, 2023 07:40PM
I'd go with what mattkime linked to.



!#$@@$#!

What if the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about?

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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: December 02, 2023 08:05PM
Oh, there's another factor I forgot to mention. This is likely to be sitting on my porch, so I'm actually not sure I'd want something that simply looks like a package or a tote-- might invite theft, which has been a serious problem over the years. (Of course, a thief might also take a cat house, but... it's such a niche item, I don't know how many thieves would be interested in that.)




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: MikeF
Date: December 03, 2023 12:41AM
Just write "Cat House" in large letters on it. angel smiley
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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: Diana
Date: December 03, 2023 01:11AM
Quote
MikeF
Just write "Cat House" in large letters on it. angel smiley

In high school, we had both dogs and a cat. The dogs had their dog house, and the attic portion was deemed the cat house: Tiger had a place up high, relatively warm and cozy and her food stayed up there, away from hungry mutts. In a large part, the mutts kept most other animals away.

As far as Porch Cat goes, PC will go rest wherever she feels safe. Has she shown an inclination to nap on the porch, or is is simply that there is where you tend to see her most? Warm, dry, cozy, well protected from other cats and animals (including people), but there must be more than one escape route—she is feral, is she not? She may be a bit nervous trying to sleep close to people. Whatever you get, I don’t think she much cares as long as it meets her needs. If porch pirates are a problem, whatever you put out needs to not look new, and not look like it may be valuable (I know, you probably already know that). If PC doesn’t seem to care for the cathouse in one place, you can always try another. Good luck. It can be hard to know what ferals will take to.
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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: Tiangou
Date: December 03, 2023 01:35AM
Quote
PeterB
Yes, I saw that exact link you posted... I think I have a few concerns about it, first is having to continuously replace the straw...

Three words:

Spray insulation foam.

...

How broad an Amazon search did you try?

[www.amazon.com]



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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: December 03, 2023 08:14AM
Quote
MikeF
Just write "Cat House" in large letters on it. angel smiley

Yes, it may come to that. grinning smiley

Quote
Diana
As far as Porch Cat goes, PC will go rest wherever she feels safe. Has she shown an inclination to nap on the porch, or is is simply that there is where you tend to see her most? Warm, dry, cozy, well protected from other cats and animals (including people), but there must be more than one escape route—she is feral, is she not? She may be a bit nervous trying to sleep close to people. Whatever you get, I don’t think she much cares as long as it meets her needs. If porch pirates are a problem, whatever you put out needs to not look new, and not look like it may be valuable (I know, you probably already know that). If PC doesn’t seem to care for the cathouse in one place, you can always try another. Good luck. It can be hard to know what ferals will take to.

PC (I haven't named her yet, but am leaning toward "Tabitha"; I'm pretty sure she's a "she") has pretty much adopted me and is a frequent resident at this point. I'm pretty sure she's a stray rather than a feral. She, along with a couple of others, will routinely hang out on my porch (but she is the most frequent one to do so).

In her specific case, she will wait for me to come home in order to get fed (she apparently recognizes the sound of my car), will come when called, and enjoys a thorough petting and will respond with purring. She's also shown some signs of wanting to come indoors, but I already have too many mouths to feed and am already feeding her quite frequently... at least, as often as I can.

I had already also set up a small shelter consisting of an open rectangular box with a styrofoam cooler inside for partial insulation, and some towels for insulation/softness. With a little encouragement, she has used it to sleep in. (I didn't realize that the towels were a no-no, until I read the articles about how to make a shelter.)

So... I don't think any of this will affect things, so long as it's a cozy, warm, dry place for her to rest.

Quote
Tiangou
Three words:

Spray insulation foam.

...

How broad an Amazon search did you try?

[www.amazon.com]

Hmmm... not sure I'd want to use spray insulation foam... those chemicals can't be good for a cat.

Your Amazon link did pull up a few interesting things, but I'm not sure I wanted to spend quite that much... maybe $30 at most, considering it might get stolen. (Anyone know, would it make that much difference to use an actual electrically heated pad, versus one of the "self-heated" types?)

I'm also thinking that if I use one of the pre-made ones, I might cover it over with black trash bags, because I'm not sure how really waterproof they are -- and that might also take care of the problem of it looking like something new, as Diana mentioned.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 12/03/2023 08:18AM by PeterB.
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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: iaJim
Date: December 03, 2023 10:29AM
Stray cats are a real danger to our bird population. I would suggest that if you want to provide the cat a better life that you should bring it inside. If you don't, I think taking it to a rescue facility would be the next best choice.
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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: PeterB
Date: December 03, 2023 10:39AM
Quote
iaJim
Stray cats are a real danger to our bird population. I would suggest that if you want to provide the cat a better life that you should bring it inside. If you don't, I think taking it to a rescue facility would be the next best choice.

Strays and ferals are everywhere here. They're considered community cats and are actually protected by law. I would love for this cat to be adopted out (she's pretty friendly), since life on the street here is not a good life for a cat -- but I'd been advised that if a particular stray/feral can't be held, nobody will adopt it... and the shelters are always all full, so the next step would be euthanasia.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Cat folks: make a shelter for the stray?
Posted by: Randalls
Date: December 03, 2023 11:44AM
I agree with the “tote” shelter linked to earlier. There are modifications to that design that I like such as using a styrofoam container for the interior section (such as Omaha Steak or pharmacy coolers). I use a double sided tape to affix an insulating metallic bubble wrap to the inside of the styrofoam containers top, bottom and all sides. It is inexpensive and reflects the cats heat. It is also water proof. I then put straw (NOT hay) in the foam container leaving enough room for the cat. The feral kitties will burrow in making a small nesting bed. I also use a light dusting of food grade (animal safe) diatomaceous earth. Just enough to lightly coat the bottom to trap fleas and other bugs. Also a pinch of catnip adds some attraction for the feral to go in. I would then wrap with a trash bag if needed and duct tape the bag to eliminate the free play of the bag. If really windy place a board or pavers on top to keep in place.

[www.lowes.com]

Also if an electric all weather heating pad can be used I find the K&H brands available on Amazon and most pet supply centers are very good. Low electricity usage and long lasting with a wire bound cord to keep from getting damaged.
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