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Rubbermaid Cat Shelter

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, I still havne't been able to trap the stray cat hanging around my house that I've been feeding.

The cold is settling in now and I'd like to build him a shelter as soon as possible. My funds are limited right now, so I'll have to go the cheap route (i.e. no outside dog house). However, I still want the best of what I can manage for the cat.

How big does the Rubbermaid have to be? How many holes/entrances should it have? (I remember reading at least two at one time, but recently, someone mentioned only one.)

Does anyone have any instructions or pictures they can share with me? I'm really not a handy person, so any suggestions or tips would greatly help.

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 12
http://www.indyferal.org/Literature/out_cat_shelter.pdf has some ideas

http://www.pacthumanesociety.org/core/WinterShelter.htm

http://www.pacthumanesociety.org/cor...at_shelter.pdf

http://www.neighborhoodcats.org/info/wintershelter.htm

Hope those help
post #3 of 12
I hope that maybe I can help. I used the small dog house by PetMate but it is the same material as rubbermaid. I bought Purr Pads from Petco, 2 come in a package, and lined the bottom, sides and top, and the back, using 4 all together. Then I put straw on top. When it got really cold, I bought a pad that has a heat reflector inside and it uses your own body heat to keep warm, I also purchased it at Petco. I would see our stray come out of it early in the mornings. I also wrapped the outside of the box with plastic paint drops to keep water and snow from laying on the top of the box. As a side story, we tried to trap him or her before it got cold last year, he was very clever. We provided for him all winter and tried to trap again early spring, again no luck. He is at an office park and now we have his feeding station and shelter right outside the kitchen door. He lounges on the picnic table and never leaves the parking lot. A few weeks ago we rescued 3 Persian mixed cats from the same spot, all on different days and I have the first one here with me. We believe someone just dumped them off, since we have been taking care of our stray since last October and have never seen another cat around. I started to worry that if our stray is a female she may be pregnant as the cats that were rescued were not altered. Friday morning we enlisted help from Fund for Ferals and actually had him in a drop trap!! He actually broke through her trap and ran through the parking lot. I was devastated that we would never see him again, but he was back by lunch time. I have gone to feed him the last 2 mornings and he is cautious with me. We are going to try again in another week and take him directly to the vet. It's frustrating to think of him out again in winter, but last year I know he was warm and safe. Good luck with your shelter.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you, icklemiss21 and KRZ.

I went out and bought two Rubbermaid containers today - one fits within the other. However, I'm looking at the smaller one right now and I'm really not sure if it's big enough for the stray. He is quite plump! The inner container is 18 gal.

I was following this shelter construction: http://www.pacthumanesociety.org/core/WinterShelter.htm

I live in Canada where winters seem to be getting longer these days and much colder, too. Would using TWO containers be really that much warmer than one?

Lastly, all these sites say to cut a hole that is 6" in diameter. It looks quite small to me, but at the same time, I don't want too much air and wind going in if I cut a bigger hole.

This is the cat himself:





Do you think 6" is going to be big enough? Or should I aim for 7"?

I'm so lost...

Thanks again!
post #5 of 12
He is a beauty!! I really don't know how small the opening can be. I do know they can go into such small spaces. I think I've read that if their whiskers don't touch anything, they can crawl into the smallest areas. I'm so glad you take such good care of him. Does he let you come near him at all? Since our trap failure our stray is very weary of me, but I know this cat needs to be altered, quickly. I also read that when the cold weather sets in, their blood gets thicker and they develop thicker skin. I did not know this but it sure made me feel better when there were cold nights. My problem is keeping the water bowl from freezing. I hope you get some answers, if you can try the Purr Pads, they kept his box dry and very warm. He would bury himself into the straw too. Good luck!!
post #6 of 12
The ones I have seen don't give them much room to move at all, the smaller it is and more used up with kitty the less airspace there is to get cold.
They can fit in the smallest of spaces without much of a problem (basically if they can get their head (not touching their whiskers) in they will get in and out) but if you think it would be a problem, Rubbermaid have bigger ones that you could use for the outer one and return the 18gal one.

Canada's winters can be pretty harsh, but Rubbermaid are not known for insulation value, so I would do with the two. The idea is that the airspace between them and the insulation styrofoam stops the cold air getting to the second one (cats love to scratch the styrofoam and could try eating it which isn't good for them). Most of the ones I have seen also used duct tape around the opening to cover any sharp edges and stop the insulation getting wet or eaten by the cat.

As far as keeping food and water from freezing (and this requires daily work) the snuggle discs they use for keeping kittens warm would work. We use them indoors and they stay hot for at least 5 hours and warm for 12-16.
http://www.snugglesafe.ca/index.htm These are the ones we use at the shelter, they are fairly expensive but we were lucky enough to have them bought for us. It will give you the idea though, I am sure there are other heat pads you can warm up in the microwave that are cheaper, even rice in a small pillow cover etc?
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, I built a Rubbermaid shelter insulated with the highest density house insulation sheet I could find and then stuffed it with straw as well. I spent hours on it just to hear from my landlord upstairs that NO, I cannot put the shelter outside because he doesn't want the cat thinking this house/property is his permanent home. He said I can feed him, but no shelters allowed.

SIGH. Maybe I should've asked beforehand, but I honestly assumed it wouldn't be an issue at all.

I told him that winters are harsh and I've found him hiding under our car once in a while for heat, but that didn't persuade him at all. He said he had bad experiences with stray cats before, so he's not having any of it. He said he's sure the cat can find a place to hide out himself.

What should I do now? This cat's fur is greying and he has been around for a long time, but it's obvious he's aging and I don't know how many more Canada winters he can survive without adequate shelter. I'm so upset that some people can be so heartless...
post #8 of 12
+

What methods have you tried for trapping the cat? If you can't give him a shelter, can you still try trapping?

I've trapped a number of ferals during the last year and might be able to offer advice on that route, if this is still an option.
post #9 of 12
Yeah, how friendly is he? We slowed down considerable around Christmas and took in a number of semi ferals because we had the space and time to deal with them and get them adoptable.

Have you tried looking for a TNR group in your area, maybe one of them will have more resources and ideas for you that they know work locally.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatGoddess View Post
Well, I built a Rubbermaid shelter insulated with the highest density house insulation sheet I could find and then stuffed it with straw as well. I spent hours on it just to hear from my landlord upstairs that NO, I cannot put the shelter outside because he doesn't want the cat thinking this house/property is his permanent home. He said I can feed him, but no shelters allowed.

SIGH. Maybe I should've asked beforehand, but I honestly assumed it wouldn't be an issue at all.

I told him that winters are harsh and I've found him hiding under our car once in a while for heat, but that didn't persuade him at all. He said he had bad experiences with stray cats before, so he's not having any of it. He said he's sure the cat can find a place to hide out himself.

What should I do now? This cat's fur is greying and he has been around for a long time, but it's obvious he's aging and I don't know how many more Canada winters he can survive without adequate shelter. I'm so upset that some people can be so heartless...
I would try and find a way to still put out the shelter that you built for this beautiful kitty. You are wonderful for helping this kitty, he or she is just beautiful.

Keep us posted on how things are going.
post #11 of 12
Is there any other location close by that you could put the shelter? Perhaps a neighbor on either side of your building? It would be great if he could be trapped and possibly brought inside, but sometimes that is not feasible. Best of luck to you and kitty. Please keep us posted.
post #12 of 12
I built rubbermaid shelters, too. After constructing them I took regular spray paint from Walmart in brown, black and green colors. I randomly sprayed the colors on in an effort to camouflage the shelter.

Is it possible to watch where the cat goes and take the shelter to that location. Then discretely place out of the way and leave food there so he will be tempted to use it.

The only other thing I can think of is like others mentioned and to keep trapping. Get suggestions and try different methods. Something might work.

I tried trapping a feral dog once with a larger dog trap using barbeque pork.
The cats loved it and I ended up with several feral cats that we had been trying to get. You just never know.
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