This article is Part Twelve of a 15-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, Part Eleven

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.  We’re almost done!

Step Ten.  For the last step, we fastened the top of the insulating cooler (the inside portion of the shelter) with duct tape on one side to make a “hinge” that we could open if we needed to change the straw bedding for the cat, and to keep the top from sliding accidentally off if the shelter was bumped.   (We chose the side that was going to be closest to the house, so that when we opened the lid it would open as if “the front” of the opening was closest to the person who would be looking inside it.)

After the cooler top was secured, then we added more straw all around the sides of the cooler and over the top of it, making sure to cover everything as completely as possible and pack it as tightly as straw can “pack.”  (Note:  it doesn’t exactly “pack” well, but you can sort of pat it down.)

Once the storage bin was packed as full of straw as it could get, we finally put the storage bin top on it and snapped it shut.  This photo shows it fully assembled resting under the open tailgate of our station wagon.

Here is the cat shelter fully assembled. Photo by Cindy Read

Here is the cat shelter fully assembled.
Photo by Cindy Read

You can see that some of the straw did fall into the bottom of the opening, but we figured that was OK.  The wind or the cat’s comings-and-goings would eventually take care of that, and in any case it wouldn’t be a problem.

Now that the cat shelter was done, all that remained was to take it outside where we’d planned to put it, and see if we could entice the cat to move into his new house!

Be sure to read the next installment, where we show the cat shelter in situ, and tell the story about what happened next. This is the best part!  Here’s a link to Part Thirteen.