Winter Feral Cat Shelter Build Instructions

After food, a feral cat’s greatest necessity in winter is shelter. Cats are excellent at finding their own makeshift shelter, but they really benefit from a well-insulated house placed in a safe location. Here are plans for a shelter built in a large plastic storage tote.

Winter Shelter Building Instructions (Also check out this pictorial guide)

Finished Shelter


  • 1 Storage Tote (30 Gallons, Sterilite in example)
  • 2″ Rigid Polyiso Insulation panel
  • 1″ Rigid Polyiso Insulation panel
  • Vinyl Floor Tiles (12″ square, stick-on)
  • Vinyl Sheet Remnant
  • Plastic Flowerpot
  • Silicone Caulk
  • Liquid Nails
  • Duct Tape (optional)


  • Measuring Tape
  • Level/Straight-edge
  • Utility Blade, extendable snap-off design
  • Caulk gun
  • Drill
  • Large drill bit
  • 6″ hole saw (optional)
  • Rubber Mallet (optional)

Instructions:Cut rigid fiberglass:

2″ thickness:

Floor panel: 24×15″, cut to 14″ inches at corners

Roof panel: 26.25×17.5″, cut to 16″ inches at corners

1″ thickness:

Long sides: 26×12″, cut to 24″ at bottom

Short sides: 14×12″, cut to 12″ at bottom

Assemble rigid insulation

Place floor on the bottom (silver side up)

Add long sides

Add short sides

The last piece will be difficult to slide in, you may need rubber mallet to tap in


Caulk joints with silicone caulk, allow to dry completely

Set floor tiles

The first floor tile should go in easily, the second will not fit exactly (short about 2”). You may either cut it to fit or simply overlap the first.

Cut vinyl remnant sheet

Measure interior dimensions of shelter walls, and cut vinyl to fit

Apply adhesive

Dot Liquid Nails in a pattern on the interior walls

Add Vinyl Sheets

Smooth sheets down with a straight edge or other flat object. You may need to smooth them down a few times during drying to keep them from bowing out. Allow to dry completely

Cut entry hole

Measure 2” from interior corner and 2” from top (of the insulation, not the tote itself), these will determine the edges top and side of the hole. Set 6” hole saw here and slowly begin drilling. A hole saw this big tends to buck so expect it to go slowly. You may need to move saw to the front of the tote to cut through the wall of the tote.

Add door liner (optional)

This step adds a liner to the entryway but is not essential. You can simply add duct tape to the perimeter of the opening to protect the cat from the edge of the insulation.

Cut plastic flowerpot about halfway down. Set it in place in the doorway, caulk into place, both under the lip and from the inside of the shelter. Allow to dry completely.

Complete assembly

Set the roof panel in and snap the lid of the tote in place

The shelter should be stuffed with straw to provide additional insulating capacity. Additionally, the shelter should be set off the ground, on 2x4s or bricks (we use discarded wooden pallets).

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