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Use this guide for a list of local cat rescues and animal welfare resources, reading lists, cat culture (past and present), and for veterinarian industry-standard information on cat rescue, cat care, and cat behavior.

Community Cat Shelters

Providing a safe space from the elements for outdoor cats is kind and humane, and easier than you may think. Pre-built options are available from a local shelter near you and from online retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Alley Cat Allies provides a list of several DIY and BUY shelter options for all climates, and they also provide easy-to-follow tutorials and instructions for creating your own cat shelter. 

Please check labels for pet hazards and research cat and animal-safe materials before creating something for your pets or for outdoor animals. The items used for the DIY cat shelters featured in this guide are animal-safe and environmentally friendly.

Materials List

  • Styrofoam Cooler
  • Foil Insulated Mailers
  • Straw
  • Duck Tape
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie/Pen
  • Box Cutter/Exacto Knife



DIY Styrofoam Shelter

Where To Find Materials

  • Family Dollar and Dollar General are great places to find the medium sized styrofoam coolers used for this diy cat shelter for under $5 each.
  • You can purchase foil insulated mailer material from a UPS, FEDEX, or Walmart. For this project, we repurposed the foil insulated bags used with our grocery delivery service. Other options for insulation: cardboard, regular mailer, bubble wrap. Avoid using any type of fabric or towels for insulation. Fabric will collect moisture and freeze and is potentially dangerous.
  • You can purchase straw in a big bag from your local feed store, ACE Hardware store, or online. DO NOT USE HAY. Hay develops mold quickly. 
  • You can find any of the other tools and materials used for this project in your garage or at your local store. 

DIY Storage Bin & Styrofoam Cat Shelter Video

Cat Shelter DIY_FB by Regina