Joshua H. has teamed up with Multnomah County Animal Services (MCAS) to build insulated cat shelters as his Eagle Scout Project. Learn why these shelters can save the lives of outdoor-living cats and how they will support MCAS’s progressive Action Cat Team (ACT).
Joshua H., member of Boy Scout with Troop 740, approached MCAS looking for ways to help animals for his Eagle Scout project. After meeting with shelter staff, he determined he would create safe sleeping spaces for outdoor-living cats, so he researched various designs for feral cat shelters and came up with a prototype. Joshua then met up with Mary Jo Andersen, ACT coordinator, who reviewed his prototype and gave him tips before production. Joshua will construct the shelters, then with Mary Jo’s counsel, place them in various strategic locations throughout the County.
ACT program staff and volunteers spayed or neutered 560 community cats through its trap-neuter-return (TNR) program in 2016. An important element of a sustainable TNR program is ensuring that cats are responsibly cared for after they are returned to the location where they were trapped. Designated caretakers are asked to provide ongoing food, water, and shelter for cats in the program. Caretakers are also expected to take precautions to protect ecologically sensitive areas and prevent cat nuisance behaviors. For more information on TNR, visit Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon's website.
Even with their thickened winter coats, outdoor cats need a warm, dry place to protect them from the elements. Home-made shelters are built to protect outdoor-living cats from weather exposure that can cause sickness or death. Outdoor-living cats are cats who do not have access to an indoor home, either because they have been abandoned, or because they are feral and have never had an owner.
By creating an enticing place to sleep, the cat shelters can also help prevent nuisance behaviors that damage property and neighborhood goodwill for feral colonies when the cats seek shelter in crawl-spaces and abandoned buildings.
Thank you to Joshua and Troop 740 for your thoughtful, humane project to serve the cats of our community.
Learn How to Build Your Own Cat Shelter
There are many different cat shelter designs and materials you can use. Instructions and ideas are readily available on the internet, and you can select the option that meets your needs, budget, and building skill. Many designs use plastic bins, disposable styrofoam coolers, construction insulation, or straw. Visit the website of our local partner, Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, for the needed materials and instructions to the shelter of their choice. You can also watch the video below for an interactive guide to building a rudimentary cat shelter.