I have been asked a lot of times by readers to share what DIY heated cat house I made for our stray porch cat to survive the winter. (And yes I have even tried to carry the kitty inside and stay with it in the basement but it is scared to death and wants to go back outside.)
How to make a heated cat house igloo as a winter cat shelter
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- I bought the Extreme Weather Kitty Pad with Fleece Cover (12.5″ x 18.5″) for extra warmth when it was still warm outside to get a great price. The heated pad makes a great igloo cat bed because the cat’s body heat activates the plugged-in mechanism instead of it being heated 24/7
- I found some styrofoam coolers at a yard sale for 50 cents each that I thought would work great for building a shelter. You see, there is a group that I’m a fan of on Facebook called “The Guardians of Rescue“. They do amazing things for cats and dogs that are outside. They build shelters for stray and feral cats and showed numerous times how to build one.
- I googled and searched the internet high and low to find a styrofoam box for sale like mine, but couldn’t. I think you’d have to search locally for one like I did. Or you can also buy large styrofoam boxes on Amazon like this one HERE.
Update: I was told by a reader that you can find some FREE styrofoam coolers at pet stores that sell tropical fish. They get their fish shipments in styrofoam coolers and throw them away after delivery. I guess it doesn’t hurt to ask if they have any, right? These types of coolers are great insulation.
DIY heated cat house instructions
Since the box for our porch kitty is (well, wouldn’t you say) on the porch 😉 I didn’t have to put the plastic tarp around it, but I put a brick on top so the styrofoam doesn’t blow away. I also wanted to be able to still open it because I put a blanket inside too. By coincidence, the heated pad fits perfectly into the bottom of the styrofoam cooler. It was as if they were made for each other. I only had to cut a hole for the cord and a hole for the kitty to crawl in.
I put the box on top of my bench to keep it off the floor. There are some other stray cats or maybe opossums that mostly come at night to eat and I don’t want them to fight porch kitty. Kitty is safe and off the ground from where she can watch the other cats. I’m always scared of other predators like foxes or raccoons but I’m not sure what I can do about them.
I guess having another escape route on the other side of this igloo cat condo could be a solution but I feared it would create a bigger draft.
I used a drywall saw instead of a box cutter to cut out the entry hole/front door.
Buy the heated pad HERE.
Use a rock or brick to weigh down the styrofoam lid so it doesn’t blow away.
This outdoor cat shelter isn’t a pretty sight but definitely does the job well for any poor and cold outdoor cat.
Our outdoor kitty has been using the heated box and really likes it. If you have been following me for a while then you know that I call her porch kitty. This is the 4th winter that she comes around. In the past years, she was so scared that she only came at night and always ran the minute she would see one of us. This summer the kitty started to accept me and actually cry for me while sitting in the bushes. She now sometimes lets me pick her up. My neighbors told me that she waited at my house for 5 weeks when I was in Germany. So I guess she’s staying since nobody wants her in their yards. I would love to bring her inside but our 3 indoor cats are not too happy and neither is “porch kitty”. There isn’t any acceptance going on between them (yet).
I have grown really fond of my porch kitty. The trust she now puts in me melts my heart. And she waits for me every morning by the entrance for some wet cat food.
You can see in some of the photos that there is something wrong with the eye. Our porch kitty is blind in one eye.
UPDATE: Porch Kitty ended up living with us as a family member loved and cuddled for two years inside. And I’m heartbroken to tell you that she recently passed away from sudden kidney failure. Check out the entire story. She ended up being my best little friend. It just took her years to get there.
I also made another weatherproof box for the side of the house in case one of the other strays wants to use it but so far they have not.
If you aren’t the DIY type you can find ready-made best heated cat houses in another blog post of mine. Having winter shelters for poor felines is so important. Also, consider buying some heated bowls for water and food so it doesn’t freeze.
More cat-related tips and cat DIY posts
- our outdoor cat enclosure
- how to build an outdoor cat tunnel
- Unique Cat Fence Topper System with Peephole
- purrfectly cute DIY hanging cat bed using macrame cord
- DIY Ikea catio
- Awesome Large DIY backyard Cat Enclosure
- how to help a scared cat adjust
- my elderly cat care tips
- how I trap, neuter, and return feral cats in our neighborhood
I wish you guys a great Thanksgiving and a wonderful time with your friends and families.