Building an Outdoor Cat Shelter, Part III

Won’t you take me to… Crazy Town?

Why, yes. Yes, of course, I’ll take you to Crazy Town. Let’s go!

(This post is the last in a multi-part series about building a cat shelter. If you’re just joining me, you’ll want to start here, at the beginning. I promise, it’ll be worth it. I’m an excellent writer.)

The day has finally come! It’s our last trip to Crazy Town. (For this project, I mean. I go to Crazy Town all the time. I’m a regular. I’ve got a time share. It has a guest room, so you can come too.) Anyway, my outdoor cat shelter is finally done, in all its crazy glory, and I’m here to tell you all about it.

Right meow.

Egor lying on back thought bubble

When I last left you in Part II (The Build Post), this is what the shelter looked like. Not too shabby…

Cat shelter watercolor

Perhaps a normal person would have stopped there. I am not normal.

What’s a house without proper siding? (I can answer this question based on first hand experience. It’s crappy.) Luckily, I had some leftover cedar shingles from when we repaired and painted the front of my crappy house, so I cut them down to mini size for my cat house. I used Gorilla glue along the top of each one…

Gluing siding onto cat shelter

And then stapled each piece to the box with my fancy pneumatic staple gun.

Stapling shingles onto cat shelter

I used the un-finished cover to make sure my shingles didn’t protrude past it. Otherwise, the finished cover wouldn’t fit on the box. (If that’s confusing, that means you still haven’t read The Build Post (aka Part II). You really should do that.)

Cat shelter being sided

This is how the shingles turned out. Cute, right? I know.

Cat shelter with siding no cover

So, I didn’t take a picture of this next part (just like I didn’t take a picture of when I painted the door trim white… Oh, and btw, I painted the door trim white…), but this is what the finished cover looks like from the inside.

cat shelter cover from the inside

I used my pneumatic nailer and some wood glue to attach the outside frame. If you were worried that my top row of staples on the siding would show, then that picture should put your mind at ease. (If it doesn’t, then you’re clearly still confused and you should go read The Build Post. Honestly, why are you so stubborn? Just go do it already!)

My next step was to paint the outside edge of the cover white to match the door trim. I don’t have any pictures of that either, but I’m thinking you already know how to paint stuff. (If you don’t, then I’m going to suggest you skip this project all together. It’s not for you.)

After painting the cover, I decided to pause my project to conduct a clinical trial of my fancy cat house. Egor and Zero were more than willing to participate in this highly scientific study. They insisted, actually.

testing cat house

cats testing cat shelter

Several criteria were considered in this trial, including:

  • Ease of use
  • Comfort
  • Durability
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Climate control

zero testing the shelter

Egor testing cat shelter

The findings of this study were largely inconclusive, as the participants were unable (unwilling?) to communicate relevant data.

Because they are cats.

OK, back to work. I wanted to waterproof the cover, so I taped off the sides…

cat shelter box cover sides taped

And I spread on Flex Paste with a putty knife.

Spreading flex paste

Was this a necessary step? Nope. But, as you should know by now, in Crazy Town, we go BIG or we go HOME.

Flex paste spread on cat shelter top

Looks pretty nice, right? I guess I could have stopped there.

outdoor cat shelter with flat roof

But did I? Guys, we’re in Crazy Town. I promised you BIG. Of course I didn’t stop there.

PVC roof on cat shelter house

I made a roof.

Hey, Zero. The trial’s over. Get out of there.

Anyway, I thought a peaked roof would look super cute, but I didn’t want to add more weight to the cover (it was already pretty heavy), so I designed a roof out of PVC pipe. I know. I’m crazy amazing.

I attached it to the house with screw eyes and zip ties.

Attaching pvc roof to cat shelter house

I sewed a cover for it with outdoor fabric that, coincidentally, happened to look a lot like roof shingles. This isn’t a sewing blog, so you’re on your own with that, but if you’d like the PVC specs, those are here.

Oh, OK, fine. Here’s a pattern for the gables. Happy?

Putting fabric cover on pvc roof of cat shelter

I had just one more crazy idea for my ridiculous cat house and it was this:


I mean, what if their cat friends want to send them cat mail… like… catalogues…?

3303 to MEOW

attaching house numbers to cat house shelter

So, you wanna see how this thing turned out? I bet you do, but I did promise I’d tell you what this ridiculous, over-the-top, insane cat shelter cost me, so let’s do that first. At this very second, I literally have no idea of just how expensive this project was. Let’s find out together…

That comes to a total of… $207 USD. (*gasp*) This does not include sales tax (where I live, it’s 8.625%), or the cost of tools, or supplies I already had on hand. I did buy a few clamps for this project, but since those are now a part of my inventory, I didn’t include them. I also didn’t add in the siding that I had left over from when we repaired and painted the front of the house.

Guys, I need a freaking drink.

I hope these cats appreciate me. (Because cats are so well known for their appreciation…)

Well, at least I know you will appreciate me. Either for my mad skills, or for my insanity. Either way, you may begin appreciating me right meow…

big reveal of cat shelter

Honestly, how freaking cute is this? I don’t often impress myself (I’m just so used to creating very awesome things), but even I think I’ve outdone myself here.

If you read The Plan Post (aka Part I), then you know that I bought this bed warmer to use in my cat house. I had planned to cut off the plug, drill a hole in the bottom of my cooler just big enough to feed the cord through, then reattach a new plug.

Heated pet bed

After conducting my highly scientific clinical trial, it occurred to me that my stray cats might not want to move in to their fancy new cat house (my trial participants were suspicious at first and had to be coaxed inside), so I decided to hold off on installing the heated bed. I can always put it in later, but I didn’t want to waste it on a vacant kitty home. (FYI, a heated bed and plug adds $45 to the total cost. Of course, this is an acceptable expense in Crazy Town.)

Instead, I put straw inside for some bedding. I got this mini bail from Michaels.

Straw bail

It seemed small, but there was quite a bit of straw packed in it.

Straw in cat shelter

I also mixed in a little bit of catnip to try to attract the strays.


There was one problem that I observed during my highly scientific clinical trial; my test subjects didn’t know wtf to do with the door. I discussed this potential issue in The Build Post (aka Part II) and I do think I may end up removing it. It seemed like such a good idea to keep the kitties warm and dry, but it’s useless if they never make inside the house. For now, I have rigged the door to stay open.

cat shelter door rigged open

I put the house in the driveway so that I can monitor it on our Ring camera. If the kitties do start to use it, I will release the door and see if they can figure it out. If they can’t, I will remove it. The ultimate plan is the move the house to a more private (and safer) location, once I can verify they are using it consistently.

Cat house with door rigged open

Cat house viewed from the front

Will the strays use their fancy new house? I don’t know, but I will be watching… Follow me on Instagram, where I’ll be posting my surveillance videos, to find out.

building a cat shelter pinterest pin

You’ve just read the final post in a series about building an outdoor cat shelter. If you still have not read the other posts, but you would like to, here are the links, all in one spot: We have strays! (Part Zero), The Plan (Part I), and The Build (Part II) where you will find printable plans and instructions to build your very own, ridiculously expensive, wtf-I-must-be-crazy, cat house.

We are now leaving Crazy Town, but we will be back… Subscribe below so you don’t miss the next trip.

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  • Joan

    Looks awesome! Crazy? Yes. But awesome nonetheless! LOL Now I just hope it’s only cats that decide to use your little shelter…

  • Mar

    I have really enjoyed following your three part series of your cat house build. ? It turned out so awesome and I hope the cats will go inside there to stay warm. You did an awesome job and thank you so much for helping the community cats. All the best to you in 2021 and I look forward to more crappy house stuff.?

    • My Crappy House

      Thank you! I’m so happy you liked the series. I’m hoping the cats get in there too! SOON! Happy Mew Year

  • em

    Wow, did that ever turn out cute! Of course it did! Was there ever any doubt? No Zero doubts, no Egor doubts. Waiting breathlessly to see the feral endorsement.

    Excellent job!

    • My Crappy House

      Thank you! So far, they’re curious, but none have been brave enough to go inside. Maybe they’ll talk it over and decide it’s worth a try

    • My Crappy House

      Haha they did! OK, well I did put one of their toys in there… But that’s less payment and more of a “hostage” situation. I’m a bad mom.

  • Barbara H.

    Oh my gosh, I laughed, maybe cackled is a better description, out loud when I saw it end on – the house numbers as name is brilliant and so is the roof with the top of a cat head. Do you think more than one at a time will use it? There might be fights….

    • My Crappy House

      Thank you! So far, they’re just not brave enough to get their kitty butts in there. Maybe once the first one goes in, the rest will want to. Hopefully, they can come to some sort of sharing agreement…

  • Sarah

    This is so cute! I have a few feral cats that hang around our neighborhood and one that has made our house his home. I made a very basic shelter for them at the beginning of winter but will have to step up my game next year and do this! This looks so much cuter than the one I created!

    • My Crappy House

      Hey, whatever works! I promise you, the CATS don’t care what it looks like. I went a little overboard here, but I did have fun. Now, if they would only USE it! lol

  • Lisa

    Will they use it?
    Will they love it?
    Can they figure out the door?
    How many cats will move in?
    Will they find love?
    This season on MeowHouse: The Beginning.

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