How to Build a Simple, Outdoor Cat House

Providing a cat house gives your outside cat a place to get out of the elements.
Providing a cat house gives your outside cat a place to get out of the elements. (Image: cat face image by Viktor Korpan from

A cat house gives your outdoor cat a place to go to get out of the rain or snow. Outdoor cat shelters also give your cat a place to go when it wants to stay cool in the summer. Commercial cat houses are available and can be purchased from pet supply stores. However, these houses are usually expensive. You can easily make your own simple cat house, using a large plastic storage tub. Plastic makes an ideal cat house since it will not rot or leak.

Things You'll Need

  • Large, plastic storage tub
  • Permanent marker
  • Jigsaw
  • Protective eye gear
  • Gloves
  • Sandpaper

Remove the lid from a large, plastic storage tub and turn the tub upside down on your workspace. These can be found at your local home improvement store. The size depends on the size of your cat and the number of cats you intend to house in the tub. The cat should have enough room to enter the tub, stand up and turn around.

Draw a door on the side of your tub. The size of the door should be large enough for the cat to enter the tub, yet still small enough not to expose the inside of the tub to the outside elements.

Cut the door out using a jigsaw. When cutting the door out, it is best to wear protective eye gear and gloves to protect yourself from injury. Discard the cutout piece of plastic.

Sand the edges of the door using sand paper. This will prevent jagged edges from hurting your cat.

Place the storage tub outside where you want the house to be kept. Keep it upside down so the bottom of the tub is up, and the bottom of the door is against the ground. You can re-use the lid to the tub by placing it under the house as a floor, or you you can discard it if you chose.

Tips & Warnings

  • Since winter months can be quite cold for your cat, you should consider placing heated thermal discs inside the cat house to provide some warmth. Thermal discs are small round discs that can be heated in the microwave. The discs remain warm for hours.
  • Straw also makes a great barrier from the cold, as do cedar chips. Cedar chips have the added benefit of keeping some insects at bay.

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