Animal Outreach Cat Rescue Dianne Fortney
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How to Assemble a Low Cost Shelter Box

Finding one plastic bin to fit inside another is the most challenging part of this project.

- The inner box is an 18 gallon Rubbermaid "Roughneck Tote"
- The outer box is a 35 gallon Rubbermaid "Latching Tote"
- 1" thick polystyrene styrofoam
- Straw

Total Cost in 2007-2008: $30 plus straw.

Having difficulty cutting the plastic?
- Blow hot air from a hairdryer on the area where you plan to cut. This softens the plastic and cuts much easier.

Consider surrounding your shelter with bails of straw. Straw is a fabulously efficient insulator.

Place shelters where they will be protected from wind and snow drifts - particularly those without protective flaps over the doors - otherwise snow/rain could blow in and bury/trap the cats. If there are fixed objects, such as buildings in your cat shelter area, pay attention to the way the winds tend to circulate, and place the shelters where there is the least amount of blowing & drifting snow, this could be a lifesaver.

Depending on predators and other animals/hazards in your area, some cats may not use shelters unless there are two exits - one for them to sneak out should another unwanted animal enter. Consider an emergency exit with a flap that opens from the inside only.

This innovative idea, costing around $30 is from a feral cat caregiver in Villa Park, IL. More ideas can be found at