How to build a cheap outside pet shelter for cold weather.
on Dec 08, 2007
Well, winter is here (Northern Wisconsin) -10 last night
I have cats that are allowed In & Out, but don't have a cat door, I have a deck sheltered on 3 sides and the top, which keeps them out of some of the weather, but my eldest likes to go on extended "business trips." And I can't stand next to the door all night--and I won't.
So, I build cat shelters. Over the years I've built many of them of different materials (what I have or can scrouge usually.
This design will use up some of those packing peanuts you have laying around....
1 cardboard box, large enough to alow your cat to enter and turn around--for even large cats you only need a box around 12x12x8, the closer the fit to your cat, the warmer it will be.
1 cardboard box, the inside should be at least 4" larger in all dimensions than the first box. I like heavy duty shipping cartons like old-style CRT computer monitors. Try and stay away frrom toilet paper & the like thin boxes--they don't wear well.
Packing pellets, around a cubic foot--depends upon how much difference there is between the box sizes. Crumpled newspaper, shredded paper etc will work, bu you probably want to put cardboard supports under the interior box if you use them....
Duck tape or the like.
Paint or plastic spray if desired.
Plastic sheeting to cover the entire large box if this will be in an unprotected area or on the ground.
1 Knife (serrated works best)
Fill the larger box with an inch or so of packing pellets.
Place the smaller box inside on top of the pellets, centered from side to side in one direction, and pulled up to the inner side of the larger box on one side (Front).
Withe knife, cut an opening through the flush sides of both the boxes, should be large enough for your cat, which, like the inner box, usually means smaller than you think, 6" diameter is good for cats up to about 10# add a couple inches for a really big one (like my 20# tabby.)
Wrape the edges of the hole with tape.
Close the top of the inner box.
Fill the rest of the empty space in the outer box with pellets or whatever you are using for insulation.
Close and tape the outer box.
If you chose to wrape it in plastic, wrape and tape the bottom first, then cover the top until the edges of the plastic cover on the bottome are covered, tape the top cover on.
Paint if you wish.
I sometimes leave it up sinside for them to investigate, but usually I just stick it out on the covered deck near the door--they'll find it.
It is also a good idea to buy a thermostaticly controled heated outside dog disch (holds about 1-2 gallons. Dehydration is a major problem for animals in the winter. If you were to put an empty heated dish inside the box, you would have the luxury version.