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five boy scouts standing in front of many assembled community cat houses

How to Build Community Cat Houses

With colder temperatures settling in, community cats are looking for places to keep warm. Thankfully, you can help by building community cat houses! It’s a simple process and only requires a handful of supplies. LifeLine partnered with local Boy Scout Troop #3310 to create these instructions on how to build community cat houses.  You can check out the instructional video as well down below!

Materials Needed

Most of the supplies listed below can be found at your local hardware store. You may even have some supplies on hand from other household projects.

  • 30-gallon bin
  • 18-gallon bin
  • Large marker
  • X-ACTO knife or similar cutting tool
  • Jigsaw or saw
  • PVC tubing, 6″ wide or larger
  • Styrofoam
  • Duct tape
  • Straw
  • Goggles and gloves for safety

Building Instructions

1. Trace the entryway

Starting with the larger 30-gallon bin, we’ll cut a hole the same width as your PVC tube. Position the hole towards one end of the long side of the bin and about 5 inches from the bottom of the bin. This positioning will help prevent water, snow or leaves from entering the bin. Trace along the outside of the PVC tube to make a circle on the 30-gallon bin.

2. Cut the entryway

Next, we’ll cut open the hole. Take an X-ACTO knife or similar tool and make an introductory cut along the circle. After the cut is made, take your jigsaw, or similar tool, and begin cutting the full outline of the circle. Have another person help you during this step: one person will hold the bin and the other will cut with the jigsaw.

3. Trace the interior entryway

Take your piece of styrofoam and cut a piece to fit in the bottom of the 30-gallon bin. This will serve as a base for the smaller bin to sit on top of. Once the styrofoam is placed in the bottom of the 30-gallon bin, place the 18-gallon bin inside. Through the existing cut hole of the 30-gallon bin, trace another circle onto the 18 gallon bin.

4. Cut the interior entryway

Take the 18-gallon bin out of the 30-gallon bin and cut the circle that you just made. Use the same process as Step 2 above.

5. Begin assembly

With your interior entryway cut, we’ll now begin assembly. Take your 30-gallon bin and place the styofoam at the bottom as a base. Then, put the 18-gallon bin inside of the 30-gallon bin.

6. Complete the entryway

The PVC tube serves as the entryway to the community cat house. Place the PVC tube at the open circle of the 30-gallon bin. Affix the PVC tube to the circle using duct tape.

7. Insulate with straw

You’ll want to use wheat straw instead of hay, bedding or a rug because wheat straw retains less moisture. Using wheat straw will help keep the community cat house much warmer in the colder months, especially at night. Place the wheat straw in the gap between the 30-gallon bin and 18-gallon bin, in addition to inside the 18-gallon bin.

8. Close the bins

Take the lid for the 18-gallon bin and close it first. Then close the 30-gallon bin. And you’re done!

Full Instructional Video

We are grateful for the Boy Scout Troop #3310 for working with LifeLine Animal Project to create this instructional video on how to build community cat houses. Feel free to share this video with your nextworks, especially on Facebook and Nextdoor!

Our Community Cats program and Pets for Life program are always in need of assembled community cat houses. If you build community cat houses, please drop them off to our Pets for Life location.

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