This article is Part Eleven of a 15-Part Article on How to Build a Feral Cat Shelter.  Since this is the first time we’d made a shelter, it’s perfect for newbies.  You can read previous installments in this series here:

Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, Part Seven, Part Eight, Part Nine, Part Ten

In the previous installments, we made a plan, gathered all the materials,  assembled the insulation portion of the shelter, prepared the  plastic storage tub for the external “shell” of the shelter, created an opening in the shell for cat access, sealed and shaped the opening for the cat’s access to the shelter, and made a new piece to insert between the inner styrofoam insulation and the outer shell, to keep the straw around the insulation from falling out of the shelter and to keep bugs out.  We started to fill the space between the inner and outer containers with straw.  Now we’re ready for the trickier parts!

Step Nine.  So far, we’ve prepared the inner and outer containers and began filling them with insulation.  Now comes the tricky part — making the entry holes align and give them some additional structure, so that the entry way doesn’t become an easy portal for insects or other unwanted critters who don’t belong there, and to keep the straw from getting wet or falling out.  (It’s probably impossible to keep all insects out, but at least it’s a bit of a barrier.)

The next step is to place the entry portal and connect it securely to the storage bin.  If you recall, in Step 8 we made this piece from a double thickness of cardboard, and then wrapped it with duct tape.  In the picture below, you can see it attached and in position inside the storage bin, just in front of the entry hole of the cooler.

Straw is half done; we're almost there! Photo by Cindy Read

Straw is half done; we’re almost there!
Photo by Cindy Read

The final piece here was to add an 8-inch-long strip of cardboard over the top of the portal assembly, so that the top straw doesn’t fall out.  We didn’t secure it with anything, just laid it on top of the portal and added straw over it.  Once the container lid was put on and locked shut, nothing would disturb that.

Here you can see the structure of the shelter taking shape.  After this, we just had a couple more easy steps to complete and then we’d be done.  Getting close now!  The end is almost in sight.  So far, the plan is going well!

In the next installment, we will cover how this process went, with pictures of the finished product real soon.  Be sure to click through to each part and get the whole story!  How much more is there to do before it’s complete?  Read on to find out.  Here’s a link to Part Twelve.