A cozy house can save the life of a stray or house cat during the cold seasons. Building structures of the type using plastic organizer boxes or even lumber (for those with experience in carpentry) is easy; its indoor version is even simpler. In the end, the animal will be protected and entertained, leaving people involved in the project more relaxed.
Method 1 of 2: Outdoor Cat House
Step 1. Gather the building materials
Stray cats and the like need to be protected from wind, rain and cold. Use strong materials or take a used box. Try the following items:
- Organizer box about 132 L (sold in department stores).
- Old doghouse (given by a friend or neighbor).
- Plywood or sawn wood (a 1, 2 x 2, 4 m board or assorted).
Step 2. Measure the dimensions of the box
Cats' bodies only heat up in confined spaces. There is no standard measurement for this effect, but houses measuring around 66 x 66 x 81 cm, for example, are often considered adequate. If you are using an even larger organizer box, cut it out or create different sections of it using plywood.
The instructions in this article for building a doghouse also work for the cathouse, with the modifications described below. Use them if you are building the structure with plywood or sawn wood
Step 3. Make a removable roof
This way, you'll have easy access to the inner base of the house to change or organize it, as well as being able to see if the animal is injured when you're inside. If you build the house yourself, attach the roof to the walls using a hinge.
If using a plastic organizer box, use the lid as a roof. After completing the process, secure it with stones or other heavy objects
Step 4. If necessary, raise the house
Do this if your location gets very wet during rainy seasons (or suffers from other types of terrain change). Lifting it 45 cm is sufficient for most areas, but a foot or less will also work in areas with milder climates. There are still several possible solutions:
- Put the house on a raised, covered terrace.
- Place the house on a pile of pieces of wood, cement blocks or other objects. This pile must be flat and strong. If necessary, support it with heavy objects to avoid accidents.
- Place the house on a sturdy plywood board, raised from the floor by four 38 x 89 mm legs, secured with coated wood screws.
Step 5. Create the entrance and exit of the house
Cats prefer locations with two paths - so they can escape predators that enter one of them. Cut two 15 x 15 cm hotspots on different sides of the material. If using plastic, cover the chips with electrical tape.
- If the house is not elevated, cut the access points about 5 cm above the ground to prevent rainwater from invading the structure.
- If the house is raised, cut the entrance on one side of the plywood (or stacked objects) that has a ledge the cat can walk on. Exit to a location with no details of the type to prevent predators from gaining access to the location.
- To warm up the house, attach or glue a piece of canvas to the inside top side of each entrance.
Step 6. If necessary, waterproof the house
Plastic boxes are already waterproof; if so, skip this Step. If using plywood or sawn wood or a doghouse, sand and paint the frame to protect it from rain.
To further protect and insulate the house, inspect the roof
Step 7. Insulate the walls and ceiling
Wooden cat houses are naturally heated, but other materials may need insulation. Glue 2.5 cm thick foam boards (sold at home improvement stores and the like) to each wall. Leave a 7.5 cm gap at the top of these walls and put an additional board on the ceiling to insulate it.
- In areas with colder, more intense climates, use polyester film to provide insulation - which may reflect the cat's body heat. If you prefer, use this film throughout the house.
- Cut the foam with a knife.
Step 8. Fill the base of the house with materials such as straw to make it even warmer (without blocking the entrances)
If straw is not available, put pieces of newspaper or foam inside pillowcases in place.
- Do not use hay as this material absorbs moisture and can cause allergies in the cat.
- Do not use loose blankets, towels or newspapers. These materials absorb body heat and make the cat's body cooler.
- Some cats eat pieces of foam, which can trap their intestines. Put this material inside pillowcases to minimize this risk.
Step 9. Give the cat food and water bowls
If you want, leave the feed inside the house; the water, however, must be outside (but close) to avoid spilling and dirtying the structure.
If you live in a place with very low temperatures, use an electric water bowl. If you can't afford one, wrap a thick ceramic or plastic object with Styrofoam
Step 10. Lure the cat into the house with catnip
Put the grass right at the entrance to the site to invite stray (or even domestic) animals to the structure.
Method 2 of 2: Indoor Cat House
Step 1. Gather several cardboard or Styrofoam boxes to build a small indoor house
If you prefer, use corrugated cardboard or other light material; even so, making the house with a ready-made box will make it much more resistant. If the object is less than 60 x 90 cm in size, use more boxes to make the final structure large enough.
The cat may try to bite into the cardboard or Styrofoam; do not use materials you may need in the future
Step 2. Use a stylus to cut two doors in the box
Each hotspot must be 15 cm high so the cat can come and go.
- Cut two "windows" or slits if you want to monitor the animal when it's inside the house.
- Glue cloths or strips of fabric over doors and windows for privacy.
Step 3. Add more boxes to the house to make the place more spacious
To create a second floor, drill a 6-inch hole in the ceiling and glue another box over it, face down. Leave enough room for the animal to walk around the structure.
Use masking tape, insulating tape or the like
Step 4. Make the house comfortable and interesting
Cover its surface with a small blanket or cat litter. Add a scraper or rough towel so the animal can play. After all, what cat doesn't like toys?
If the house has more than one floor, place an interesting toy at its highest point. This way, the animal will have fun trying to reach you
Step 5. Leave the feed and water bowls and the litter box outside
Otherwise, the structure will be disorganized (and the cardboard may even spoil). Put these objects close together, but show them to the cat so he remembers.