Today we are going to build a cheap and very effective cat shelter that helps protect outdoor cats from the cold. We have tried this and it works extremely well. What you will need:

  • Styrofoam Cooler of the correct size for your cat to lay and turn around in
  • A knife or Saw ( A razor knife works really well )
  • A Phillips Screw Driver
  • 4 3″ Deck Screws or Equivalent ( The screws are best to be for wood so they have a large grove pattern )
  • An old towel, or optionally a cat bed heater












If you are in good with your local pet store you can ask them for a cooler that they have fish delivered in. These coolers are 100% perfect for the job and will be the type of cooler we will be using for this example. The main thing is to be sure the cooler is long and wide enough for the cat to comfortably lay down. Most small coolers that you find at the grocery store are not fit for this purpose.

Steps in making your cat house:

  • First start by cutting a mouse hole shape in one of the small sides of the cooler. You don’t want this hole to be any bigger than your cat needs to squeeze through it. The smaller the hole the warmer it will be.





  • If you bought a cat bed heater you will want to place a small hole ( big enough for the cord to push through from the inside ) in one of the large sides at the bottom furthest away from the front of the house ( where the door hole was cut ).
  • Now either put the heater into the cooler or, if you didn’t get a heater, place the old towel or other scrap cloth in the bottom of the cooler.



  • Place the top on the cooler and secure it with the deck screws on all four corners so it can’t be blown off by wind or knocked off by dogs and other nosy animals.



  • Place your new cat house outside where your cat will see it, preferably in a place your cat already likes to sleep.  It is also advisable to place the door of the cat house away from the direction of the wind to maximize the heating ability of the house.


We have our cat house on the front porch as that is our outside cat’s favorite spot to be.  In addition, the box is against one of the brick walls, which helps shelter from the wind.  Our cat started using his new cat house within a week after putting it outside once it started getting really cold.  The house insulates so well that if our cat is in his box and we put our hand in the box we can feel the heat that is circulating around within the house, thus keeping kitty warm.  We can often find him with his feet sticking out the door for some temperature control!