Knowing how to build an outdoor cat house can help your outdoor cat stay toasty warm in winter and cozy all year long. In this post you’ll learn how to build a cat shelter out of wood, how to heat it and introduce your feline friend to this new home!
It’s been cold enough here to turn on the heat the last few days! If there’s one thing that cat owners know it’s that cats love to be warm. Indoor kitties will often seek a windowsill or fireplace in order to warm up, while outside cats worship the sun!
Outdoor Cat Life
Our Libra was a feral feline that found us and we couldn’t love him more 😻 Having most likely been an outdoor kitty for the first couple of years of his life, he prefers to have the freedom of being an indoor/outdoor cat. Libra is inside/outside during the day and makes the decision to be outdoors at night. It’s his choice and we respect that, but want to make sure that he is warm and safe! We have a chair on the patio that we keep a heating pad on during the winter, and now he has his own house. Lucky Libra…and you can build an outdoor cat house for your kitty or use as a shelter for strays!
This is a paid post in behalf of Spectrum Brands but the work and opinions expressed here are my own.
How To Build An Outdoor Cat House
- One – 1/2 sheet – 3/8″ plywood
- One – 2′ x 2′ sheet – 1/2″ plywood
- One – 2′ x 4′ sheet – 3/4″ plywood
- One – 8′ – 2″ x 4″ (pressure treated pine)
- One – 8′ – 1″ x 2″ (clear fir)
- Two – 8′ Bead Board (pine)
- Two – Packs Wood Shim Shingles
- 1 1/4″ Exterior Deck Screws
- 1 5/8″ Exterior Deck Screws
- Adhesive Caulking
- Waterproof Exterior Stain
- Paint Brush
- Heating Pad
- Twelve- National Hardware 2 1/2″ Corner Braces (Galvanized)
- Two – National Hardware 1 1/2″ Back Flap Hinges (Zinc Plated)
- Circular Saw
- Jig Saw
- Screw Gun
- Tape Measure
- Carpenter’s Square
- Caulk Gun
- Paint Lid (For Tracing Opening)
- Sandpaper – 60 Grit
- **Safety Equipment – Eye Protection, Gloves** Always use care when working with power tools.
Here is the first sketch that we did when initially planning the cat house. We made changes along the way, but this gives you an idea.
DIY Heated Cat House
Step 1 –
Gather your materials and know that this is a DIY for someone with intermediate carpentry skills. Measure and cut four pieces of plywood with a circular saw to be 16″ square each from the 1/2 sheet of 3/8″ plywood. Use your level to make sure that your lines are straight prior to cutting.
Step 2 –
Cut four 1″ x 2″ pieces of wood from the 8′ piece to measure 16″ long and two 13″ long each with your circular saw. Cut two triangles measuring 16″ long x 8″ high out of the 3/4″ plywood.
Step 3 –
Next you’ll be cutting the openings for your cat to get in and out of the house. You’ll use two of the 16″ square pieces and have two openings. Measure each opening to be 6″ wide x 8″ tall (at least) using a carpenter’s square and a paint can lid (or other circular object).
OPTIONAL! If you want to be to add a heating pad to the house you’ll need to allow for that. Cut a hole at the back portion of the box for your electrical cord to go through.
Step 4 –
Cut each opening using a circular saw for the straight edges and a jig saw for rounded portion.
Step 5 –
Take two pieces of the 16″ square plywood and attach your 1″ x 2″ sixteen inch long pieces to two sides. These will be the backing for the corners of the inside of the box.
Step 6 –
Screw one piece of 1″ x 2″ by 13″ across to make what will be the inside of the top of the cat house box.
Step 7 –
Next you’ll be constructing the box by taking two pieces of the sides and screwing them together using 1 1/4″ screws. Repeat process for the other side. Attach these pieces together to make the box.
Step 8 –
We used plywood that was left from another project, and it had been painted white. Great way to recycle wood!
Take your 2′ x 2′ 3/4″ piece of plywood and determine where you’d like to place the box on what will be the platform of the cat house.
Step 9 –
Use four of the National Hardware 2 1/2″ Corner Braces to attach the sides of the box to the platform on the inside. Use your screw gun for this.
Step 10 –
Attach the two triangles to the front and back of the cat house using 1 5/8″ screws with a screw gun. This will start to build the outdoor cat house roof.
Step 11 –
Take your 2′ x 2′ 1/2″ piece of plywood and cut it in half. These pieces will form the roof of the cat house. Attach one side of the roof piece with 1 5/8″ deck screws.
Step 12 –
Place the second part of the roof on the triangle and attach it using two of the National Hardware 1 1/2″ Back Flap Hinges. The blister package comes with screws that you’ll find handy to use! These hinges allow easy access to the inside of the cat house for the cat’s people!
Step 13 –
It’s really starting to come together!
Cut the shim shingles in half using your circular saw. Attach as shown in two rows using adhesive caulking.
Step 14 –
Take the two pieces of bead board and cut into 16″ lengths. Next take the paint lid and trace, mimicking the curve at the top of each doorway opening. Cut additional pieces of the bead board as needed to decorate all the way up to the bottom of the roof line. Cut these pieces with a jig saw.
Step 15 –
Attach the bead board to two sides of the cat box around the two openings to be decorative, using adhesive caulking.
Step 16 –
Cut four pieces of the 2″ x 4″ ten inches long. These will be the legs to raise the cat house off the ground. You can make the legs taller or shorter to suit your needs. Attach with 1 5/8″ deck screws from the top and use the National Hardware 2 1/2″ Corner Braces underneath.
Step 17 –
Now your cat box construction is finished and you are ready to paint and decorate to your liking! If painting it’s best to use a waterproof exterior paint or stain and paint both the inside and outside of the cat house.
Finishing Touches – Build An Outdoor Cat House
As you can see in the photo above, I stained the outdoor cat shelter the same color as our gate. Below is the back of the diy cat house build with a hole cut out for slipping an electrical cord through. We plan on putting a blanket down inside first and then a heating pad. Be sure to check your heating pad settings and don’t use one that gets too hot. You could also lay another blanket on top of the heating pad for extra coziness for kitty 😻
Name Your Outdoor Cat Shelter!
10 Cat Nap Lane, a play on words if you will. I used a waterproof white pencil to draw in the name, but you can use paint just as easily. If you have a Cricut or similar cutting machine then get creative with that if you wish.
How To Get Your Cat To Use The Outdoor Cat House!
Cats are curious and leery of new things! We did the build on our outdoor cat house outside, so Libra was watching. Good kitty! At first we enticed her with some sliced lunch meat that our daughter had on hand. It didn’t take long and Libra was inside the cat house looking around. Then he started rubbing against the cat house, which is how cats make their mark and claim territory as their own.
The lid conveniently lifts up with the National Hardware 1 1/2″ Back Flap Hinges to allow easy access for the people to take care of the inside.
And there you have it! This project was definitely worth the 4-5 hours of work and will last on our outdoor covered patio for years to come! Questions and comments are always welcomed!
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