Keeping Outside Cats Cozy & Warm In A DIY Storage Tub Shelter

A DIY storage tub shelter will keep your outside cat cozy and warm in cold weather.I have to admit I’ve cut more than my fair share of holes in Rubbermaid storage tubs. I’ve used them for DIY storage tub shelters and feeding stations for outdoor cats, among other things.

A DIY storage tub shelter is easy to make. All it takes is some elbow grease, an Exacto knife or hole saw with a sharp blade and a hair dryer. Oh, of course you need the storage box, too!

Six Steps For Making A DIY Storage Tub Shelter

A storage tub makes a perfect DIY cat shelter.1 Choose a storage tub that’s the right size for the cat for your DIY storage tub shelter. You want the cat to be able to stretch out, sit up and turn around. But the smaller the shelter is, the more body heat it will preserve. If you feed several outside cats, buy tubs that are large enough for two or even more cats to cuddle together inside.

2 Cut two six-inch holes about six inches above the ground in the storage tub so the cat will have an entrance and exit. The cat will be more likely to use the shelter if it has two ways to escape if necessary. Hint: A hair dryer, soldering iron or even a cigarette lighter will make the plastic soft and easier to cut. Or you could use a hole saw. 

3 Put a Styrofoam cooler inside the storage tub. Match up the holes. Put straw between the storage tub and cooler for added insulation. 

4 Or, line the sides and top of the tub with sheets of Styrofoam. Cover the Styrofoam with a piece of Mylar to reflect the cat’s body heat back into the shelter.

5 Put straw inside the storage tub or cooler. Straw is warmer than blankets (the cat will burrow in it and make a cozy nest) and stays dry. 

6 Locate your shelter in a stand of trees or other place where it won’t be noticeable. Put some bricks under the shelter. It will be warmer if it’s off the ground. To protect it from wind and drifting snow, put a stack of bricks about 12 inches from the entrance, and surround the entire shelter with bales of hay or straw.

Turning A Storage Tub Into A Feeding Station

A large storage tub makes a great feeding station. Just cut out the two longest sides. The cats will be more comfortable when they’re eating if both sides are open.
Start your opening about six inches above the ground for more stability and to prevent flooding.
If you feed several cats, make sure the storage tub is long enough for them to have some elbow room while they’re eating. And be sure to keep your feeding area neat. Use stainless or pottery bowls instead of paper plates because paper plates can blow all over everywhere. And be sure to dispose of your empty cat food cans properly.

But You Don’t Have To Do It Yourself

Don't feel like making a DIY cat shelter? The Kitty Tube will keep your outside cat cozy and warm. On this cold November night, my feral Charlie cat is snuggled into his shelter. And that brings us to the “I must admit” part. When Charlie appeared in my life, I bought a storage tub so I could make a DIY storage tub shelter. I sat on the floor for the longest time with the storage tub in front of me and an Exacto knife in my hand, thinking about how much I did not want to cut through that plastic to make yet another shelter.

Had I known then that there was such a thing as a hole saw, I probably would have been much more enthusiastic. But I didn’t. And it took just one swipe with that knife to convince me that Charlie would be just as warm in a shelter I bought, and I could use the storage tub for some of those clothes I may, or may not, wear again.

So Charlie has a Kitty Tube shelter like the one in the picture. I bought it on Amazon, and he loves it.

Today’s Reccommendation

If you’ve been wondering, this is what a hole saw looks like. Next time I turn a storage tub into a cat shelter, I’ll make sure I have one!

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  1. Pingback: Did You Know The Weather Affects Cat Behavior? - How To Live With Cats

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