6 Super Easy Ideas For DIY Cat Shelters For Winter

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Last Updated: March 12th, 2024

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Here are 6 amazing DIY Cat Shelters For Winter that will keep your cat warm and safe in the harsh winter weather.

DIY Cat Shelters For Winter

Creating DIY cat shelters for winter is a thoughtful and practical way to provide warmth and protection for outdoor cats. Wether you want to build a shelter for your own cat that likes to stay outdoors even in the cold weather or you want to provide a warm and safe space for the local stray cats, here are six ideas, along with the supplies, basic instructions, cost estimate, and their winter appropriateness:

Insulated DIY Plastic Bin Cat Shelter

  • Supplies: Large plastic bin, smaller plastic bin, straw, insulation material (like Styrofoam or Mylar), duct tape, utility knife.
  • Instructions: Cut a small entrance in both bins. Place the smaller bin inside the larger one. Fill the space between with insulation. Add straw inside the smaller bin for bedding.
  • Cost: Low (around $30-40).
  • Winter Appropriateness: High. Insulation provides good warmth retention. Plastic is also very resistant to harsh weather.
cat chilling in a plastic bin, diy plastic bin cat shelter

Styrofoam Cooler DIY Cat Shelter

  • Supplies: Large Styrofoam cooler, straw, duct tape, utility knife.
  • Instructions: Cut a small entrance into the cooler. Line the bottom with straw. Seal the lid with duct tape.
  • Cost: Very Low (around $10-20).
  • Winter Appropriateness: Medium. Styrofoam offers decent insulation, but is not very resistant to wind and snow. You may want to cover the top with some plastic or other waterproof material for extra protection.
styrofoam cooler, DIY Cat Shelter for winter made out of styrofoam coolers

Wooden Crate Shelter

  • Supplies: Wooden crate, insulation panels, waterproof paint, straw, screws, drill.
  • Instructions: Insulate the crate with panels. Paint it for waterproofing. Add an entrance and line with straw and blankets.
  • Cost: Medium (around $50-70).
  • Winter Appropriateness: High. Wood provides good insulation and durability.

Repurposed Dog House

  • Supplies: Second-hand dog house, straw, insulation material, waterproof paint.
  • Instructions: Insulate the dog house, paint for extra waterproofing, and add straw inside.
  • Cost: Medium to High (around $60-100, depending on dog house price).
  • Winter Appropriateness: High. Structurally sound and spacious.
cat peeking out of a shelter

DIY Tote Cat Winter Shelter

  • Supplies: Large storage tote, foam insulation boards, straw, utility knife, duct tape.
  • Instructions: Cut an entrance in the tote. Line the inside with insulation boards. Fill with straw.
  • Cost: Low (around $30-50).
  • Winter Appropriateness: High. The tote is durable and waterproof.

Bale of Straw DIY Cat Shelter

  • Supplies: Several bales of straw, tarp.
  • Instructions: Arrange the bales to form an enclosure, leaving an entrance. Make sure you also make the straw flooring. Cover with tarp for waterproofing.
  • Cost: Low (around $20-40, depending on straw costs).
  • Winter Appropriateness: Medium. Straw is a good insulator, but the structure may not be as secure.
cat laying on bale


Each of these shelters provides a unique blend of warmth, protection, and affordability, ensuring that outdoor cats can stay safe and warm during the colder months. Keeping outdoor cats warm and safe during winter months is crucial for their survival. We provided some cost and time efficient options that can help your local stray cats get through the cold and make their winter a lot more pleasant.

This article holds more important information on how to keep outdoor cats warm during winter.



Maja Sebenik is a proud owner of a Dachshund named Bimba. With three years of experience working as a researcher for a pet magazine, Maja's love for animals runs deep. Through her heartfelt writing, Maja shares practical tips, advice, and heartwarming anecdotes to inspire fellow pet lovers. Join her on a journey to explore the wonders of the animal kingdom, one paw at a time.

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