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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

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Here's another link to building an outdoor cat house, from Ally Cat Allies. It's a bit more expensive and a lot more time consuming to build. But, frankly, I'm not much with carpentry, so maybe it will be easier for those who are.

Cat House

Here's my finished product.






There are actually some slight adjustments that need to be made, specifically the roof slope if you add insulation, as I did. I also had a tough time with the roof hinges. If anyone decides to try this and needs some help, let me know and I'll dig up my notes.
 

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At home I built a 2 story cat apartment in the barn, have a storage house which has been converted to a feral cat house, an old school bus also converted into a shelter and 2 winters ago built a 15 X 20 cat room in the basement (took window out boarded and set up a cat door) with a full outdoor enclosure for the colony.

In my porch although is a different story there is not enough room and so I use television boxes. I start with a 32" box place a 27" box inside. The sides are insulated with newspapers and blankets. I cut an opening at each end, wrap the entire content except for openings with window plastic to keep moisture, rain, snow out and use a home made heating lamp (metal bucket/red light/chicken wire fencing) which I place about 4 to 5 feet away from the boxed shelter for winter.

Here in Manitoba Canada our winters can deep down as low as in the -50sF but so far none of the feral cats from my colony have suffered frostbite. Guess I muct be doing something right LOL.

Just thought I'd share the tv box shelter here
 

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Hello:

I haven't been around for... possibly a year or so. Just wanted to comment on the shelter's... since hubby and I just built a "kitty condo" for two strays that have been here all summer. I'll have to get a picture of it and post it for you all. Also we built a sheltered feeding station for them...they'll be snugs and bugs this winter hopefully. :D

Thanks to all who built houses to keep our felines friends warm and dry for the upcoming winter season !!
 

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New here, sort of...I registered maybe a year ago, and with a very busy year, lost track. Now I'm back!

This is a very interesting thread for me, as I live in a rural area where there are LOT'S of feral cats. I often get asked what to do for them. As I live on a cattle/grain farm, there isn't much we have to do for them. They have straw and mice aplenty. But in areas around here, what some of my friends are doing, is constructing square straw bale homes, with a hollowed out centre and a small passageway, for the cats to emerge for food and water. It's important for this to be in a protected area as windchill values here can be dreadful.

In extreme cold, you need either free running water, or be willing to change water several times a day. For feral cats, water is first, shelter second and food last. Feral cats are pretty smart about food and shelter, but water is a tough thing for them when temps are freezing.

Where I live, if you don't have animals to house, Pole Barns are prevalent. These are (generally large) structures that mimic lean-to's in some regards. They will provide cover from snow for tractors and other big equipment that is not required in the winter. They are open in the sense that there are no doors, but they are sheltered from the prevailing wind and snow cover. My friend and neighbour (3 miles away - lol) has just such a structure. They have retired from farming, but still need equipment to keep up with the homestead lawns etc. She has a feral colony that thrives year after year. She has never seen the Mum cat, but the kittens get fairly friendly. When she can, she traps and neuters the kittens. The Mum is very cagey and has never been caught, the sly thing. In the end, there is quite the feline condominium happening in my friend's pole barn.

She feeds them, waters them and befriends the kittens so that most of them can be neutered and not add to the problem. I go there when they are on holiday to feed and water, and it is a fun adventure to see how the kittens react. Some are very gregarious and some not so much. It's always a treat to win them over.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think one of the best things to do for barn cats is to get them spayed or neutered. They also need their shots. There are organizations which will help with costs, and if worse comes to worse, many breeders and farmers give their own shots, which saves a lot of money.

The shelters are important too. I hope that idea spreads! Thanks for caring for the barn cats. :) I hope your neighbors will learn how important it is to spay and neuter.

viewtopic.php?f=22&t=40605 (low cost spaying and neutering)
 

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Hello Ronnie:

I am looking at the cat house that you built for feral cats. Would it be possible to get the plans from you as the link to Cat House is not available. Thanks and regards.

Diane
 

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Diane,
Just to let you know, I checked Ronnie's profile and his last visit to CatForum was in March of 2008. You may have better luck sending him a PM to get his attention.
Heidi
 

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Re: Winter Shelter Ideas for Ferals

My sister and her husband feed and care for feral cats. They have been very dismayed
lately by hoodlums destroying shelters for the cats that have been put out. Some are
thrown into a ditch and others just plain destroyed. Your shelter ideas are good but what
do you do that could prevent vandals from enjoying tearing things up?
 

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Re: Winter Shelter Ideas for Ferals

The police don't care. I'll send the suggestion about the organizations to my sister. Thanks
 

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Re: Winter Shelter Ideas for Ferals

Another option might be to put the shelters on private property where vandals are less likely to go--maybe inside a fenced yard, etc. If neighbors or business owners are bothered by the stray cat population (or feel sorry for the cats) and you can convince them that TNR is happening and will help reduce the problem, they may be happy to allow a shelter on their property.
 

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Re: Winter Shelter Ideas for Ferals

Has anyone tried a heat lamp? I have been thinking about different heat sources for mine and the snuggle safes seem great, but they are pretty expensive and i'd need a few. My husband keeps telling me to get a space heater but those things make me nervous for a variety of reasons. But what about one of the heat lamps used for reptiles? I am curious if anyone has tried this.

Thanks
Allison
 

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Re: Winter Shelter Ideas for Ferals

We've put up a medium sized dog igloo on top of a thick layer of foam insulation and I lined the igloo floor with two old blankets. We've had some unseasonably cold nights lately, so I thought it was time to get it set up. Sure enough, the first night, everyone was huddled in there. Success!!!!! :mrgreen:
 

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I had an old dresser I had been using in the back yard for gardening tools. I had cut a round hole in the top of this sit-down dresser and had placed a bowl of flowers in it years ago. However, when a feral cat chose us, I cut the dresser up and made an insulated house for him, using the hole that was in the top of the dresser for his entrance. He moved in the day I built it. I did it quickly, considering that it was starting to get cold, so it hasn't been painted yet -- that will have to wait until next year in warmer weather.
 

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Re: Winter Shelter Ideas for Ferals

Ok, so I am trying to make a shelter for my cats. So far, I have constructed a basic box out of plywood. I plan to seal the seams with door/window caulk. I bought a hot water heater blanket, but I'm not sure the best way to use it. Should I wrap the outside of the box with it, or would it be more useful inside? Then, I have some old carpet that I just tore out of my guest room that I was planning to put over the water heater blanket because the fiber glass makes me nervous. I was also thinking about putting styrofoam along the inside of the box's walls.... then filling with straw? Or maybe cutting a hole in the top and putting a heat lamp through, but I'm worried about it being a fire hazard with the wood and the insulation.... It sounds warm to me, but if anyone has any tips or suggestions, that would be great. I keep seeing pictures of what looks like sheets of insulation, but I can't seem to find them anywhere and I don't know what they're called. If anyone knows of any other insulation options that might be better than the hot water heater blanket, please let me know!

thanks!
allison
 

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Re: Winter Shelter Ideas for Ferals

The "sheets of insulation" ... are you meaning sheets as in like 'plywood' type sheets? I've seen pink, styrofoam stuff at the home improvement stores that came in 4x8 sheets. They are about a half inch thick, or so and you could line the inside of the box with that. For warmth, I think if the top is enclosed and the entrance/exit is draft protected from the major winds you should be able to use a pet-approved heated mat? I know there are 'outdoor safe' heated mats for kennels. Bedding could be straw or old towels/blankets.

pink stuff:

pet mats:
 
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