Although cats are really good at finding shelter, they might not always be the safest. That’s why it is important that we help provide safe, warm places for them to find refuge.
There are many reasons you should build your own homemade outdoor cat houses. For one, you feel more accomplished and they make really great family projects. But you might be like us and have huge populations of ferals in your area. Buying cat houses for all these cats can add up quickly.
It is more important that our cats get some sort of shelter than no shelter at all. So here are some awesome homemade outdoor cat house ideas for you to create.
If you make any of these or try your own designs, be sure to let us know in the comments. We want to see what you’re doing for the cats in your area too and always love recognizing good deeds.
How To Choose The Right Design For Your Outdoor Cat House
So you want to build an outdoor cat house? That’s awesome! I commend you for caring about the furry little kitties in your area.
But first, there are a couple of things you want to be sure to include in your house. All designs are not created equal so we’ll be sharing some really great options in a little while.
The very first thing you want to make sure about the design you choose is whether or not the end product will be safe. You want to make sure that:
- it won’t collapse
- materials used are safe for animals
- the unit is predator proof
Just because you know better doesn’t mean the cats know better. Remember that they will need to scratch and sometimes cats can be just as bad as dogs when it comes to eating random stuff, lol.
So you want to always make sure that fixtures are fixed in place and materials are animal-friendly.
Also, even if you are in the city, realize that when you are either sleeping or working at night, predators are out lurking. They eat meat and do pose a real danger to cats.
Predators tend to be bigger than their prey so just be sure not to make the opening to your cat house too big so that your cats can get in but not the coyote or whatever is chasing it.
In the northern hemisphere, winter is right around the corner. That means that the weather is getting colder and harsher.
Cats must stay warm and dry or they will not survive. In order to keep them warm, you will need to have some sort of insulation.
This can be something as simple as carpet or as complex as Poyiso panels. The kind you use will depend on your area. You can also add a heating pad for extra warmth but in most cases, if you have good insulation that is installed correctly, the cat’s body heat is sufficient to heat up the unit.
You might not think about it but the look of the unit matters. If it is near your house you might not want it to look like a piece of junk.
Regardless, your main focus should be on how well it blends in with nature. Going back to the predator and prey discussion, if the cat house doesn’t stand out then predators might not even realize that there are cats taking refuge within it.
Sometimes you can accomplish this by painting the outside camouflage or some sort of dark color. If you live in rural areas you might cover the outside in tall grass, leaves, or other materials that are naturally found in your environment.
Just be sure that the cat(s) learn that it is there before you cover it up.
Fun Homemade Outdoor Cat Houses Ideas
At the time of this writing, I have researched these designs from various sites online. I will make mention of the websites/organizations as I present them.
Storage Container Outdoor Cat House
I found this design by Brunswick Cats and is really simple to make. It uses a storage container that you will be insulating with polyiso insulation or something else of choice.
I really like how the flower pot creates an easy entrance for the cat but the narrow tunnel makes it even more difficult for predators to try jam their head in. Especially seeing that the plastic these containers are made of can be quite flimsy at times.
You will also want to think about rain and snow. I would take the option to use duct tape to seal the top but it will only work temporarily.
Click here to see the storage container outdoor cat house plan.
Repurposed Dog House
Of all the plans we’re going to discuss, I like this one the least unless you can find a secure spot to place it. Or if you can find a way to make the board stand up even if a large dog or coyote plow into it chasing a cat behind it.
On the other hand, I absolutely love the idea of repurposing a dog house. Maybe the dog got too big for it and its just laying around doing nothing. Cutting smaller holes into a board is a good way to keep most things out and letting cats in.
The straw will also help keep them warm as a perfect solution for insulating it. It will also likely be more water and snow proof than the storage container option.
Click here to learn more about the Repurposed Dog House.
Heated Cooler Outdoor Cat House
If you’re looking for more of a challenge, this will be a good option for you. It includes both heating and light as well as a hard, secure shell.
I love that multiple cats can fit into it comfortably without having to fight for space or warmth. You will need a little more heavy-duty tools to cut the shell of the cooler but it really is pretty straightforward.
This is perfect for snowy and rainy climates as the cooler is both insulated and waterproof. The wind might be able to blow it around if it gets up high enough, but you can put some weights on the floor and either cover it with a board to make a new floor or secure it to the ground/surface with screws.
The challenge with this unit will also be teaching your cats that it is a cat house.
Click here to learn more about the Heated Cooler Shelter.
ASPCA Winter Shelter Bins
One of the simplest outdoor cat houses that you can make is with one of these big styrofoam containers that are used to ship perishable goods like foods or medicines. You will need to cut a hole into the side and also secure it.
Since it is essentially a styrofoam container it will easily blow in the wind. This is a good temporary fix but you really want to find something more sturdy and secure as it is also very easy for predators to tear apart.
In the picture they have, it raised on pieces of 2×4’s. You can do that and also fix it to the boards with screws or glue.
Click here to learn more about ASPCA’s Winter Shelter.
Build Your Own Outdoor Cat House From Scratch
As you can tell from most of the cat shelters we’ve looked at so far, there are not really many options for truly safe and secure units that will keep your cats safe all year round. When this happens we usually look into our own skills and want to build something.
That’s exactly what you will see in the above video. This boy, Aiman, is building a cat house with his dad from scratch and show you every step so that you can recreate it for yourself.
You can also buy sturdy cat houses like this but they can be very pricey. Definitely not realistic if you are thinking about housing a large population of cats.
Click here to learn more about building your own outdoor cat house.
Our Top Recommended Outdoor Cat House
Building your own outdoor cat house can be a rewarding experience. Truth be told, we often take on a bunch of projects that we intend to do but never get to them.
I know I’ve been saying that I want to build an outdoor cat house for the past year. So don’t feel embarrassed or anything, haha! It’s life!
So just in case, I didn’t want to wrap up this article without telling you about our top recommendation for outdoor cat houses. This cat house is the most amazing unit for all weather conditions.
It can take the extreme cold all the way to extreme heat, adjusting to your cats temperature needs as needed. It is weatherproof and waterproof and is easy to customize.
You may or may not have heard about it yet but the cat house we’re talking about is called the Kitty Tube Gen 3. It comes with several options but if you are looking for an affordable option that will keep your outside cats safe, warm (or cool if needed), and dry, this is the best option for you!
Sometimes we just don’t have the time. So if that’s you, then Kitty Tube is definitely a good option.
If you want to learn more about the Kitty Tube, click the link below to see our full review.
Hmm..never thought of making an outdoor cathouse before. A very different and unique idea.
My parents’ cat likes to roam around outside, but then they get worried when she doesn’t return.
Mostly we have found her hanging around in a laundry room attached to the house, but I wonder if it would make it sense to have a cat house for her.
At least they wouldn’t worry where she, and she has her place to go.