Erubbermaids “Roughneck” homes create the perfect winter sanctuary for feral cats Opossums, raccoons and skunks. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to help the furry friends in your backyard, this is it. Feral cats are exposed to cold temperatures, wind and freezing rain in the winter. Erubbermaid “Roughneck” homes offers protection from the elements.
Some cats do not survive the winter due to frostbite, dehydration, starvation and exposure to toxic chemicals found under cars and in garages where cats seek shelter. Other animals, like opossums, are more used to the cold but will take advantage of the spiffy new digs as well. It’s as easy to make one home, as it is to make two. The not-for-profit “Roughneck Homes” program even offers the 18-gallon size containers for $6.00 and you can even donate containers to help others make shelters as well.
Create a safe shelter for the feral cats and animals in your area by following these directions.
Follow these tips for getting feral cats to use the homes isn’t too difficult if you think like a cat.
- Cats are cautious, like small spaces where they can hide. Place your home in a secluded quiet area where you’ve seen cats. Avoid open spaces, noisy populated areas, away from car fumes and chemicals and away from dogs.
- Entice cats with food and water. Never place food inside a shelter that’s meant to be ‘slept’ in. Cats don’t like to sleep with food near them. Place a dish of food near the shelter to draw cats closer and boost their curiosity. If using food only visit shelter once or twice per day. Feral cats get nervous and will avoid something that attracts too much human attention. You can also create a separate shelter for food using just the outside container with no cooler in it. Place ‘food’ shelter in the same area as but not close to ‘sleeping’ shelter.
- Patience. It may take a few days to a week for feral cats to trust the new shelter. If there have been no signs of habitation after 2 weeks consider changing the location of the shelter.
What you need to build a Rubbermaid Roughneck Feral Cat Shelter.
• Rubbermaid Container (the 18-gallon size is pictured)
• Styrofoam Cooler
• Duct Tape
• Exacto or box knife
• Eight inch diameter pot lid or plastic lid
• Marker of pen
• Nail file
Make a hole in the front of container by using a marker to trace around the lid then carefully cut out hole with Exacto knife. File down any sharp edges. Place the Styrofoam container inside the Rubbermaid container. Mark inside hole by tracing around outside container with a marker. Cut out Styrofoam hole. Pack straw into the gap between the Styrofoam container and the Rubbermaid container. Place the straw inside the inner container. Place the lid on Styrofoam cooler and tape edges with duct tape then do the same with the lid on the Rubbermaid container.
For more information, step-by-step instructions and photos go to the Roughneck Feral Cat Shelter site. The shelter pictured is an 18-gallon container, suitable for one cat or two small cats. For a larger shelter, use the 36-gallon Roughneck and a bigger Styrofoam cooler.
Additional modifications: Often, feral cats will be hesitant to enter a shelter with only one exit, since it leaves them vulnerable to predators. You may need to cut a second hole on the opposite side to encourage ferals to use your roughneck home.
For cold windy areas added protection from wind or other elements may be needed. Installing a door flap made of heavy plastic, vinyl or canvas to each entrance of your roughneck home easily does this. Cats don’t like change so its best to start your shelter with flaps rather than installing them later.
This article was written by Kyle Smith, President of eRubbermaid.com. For more information regarding this program, please visit us to learn more and find contact information.