If your cat lives outdoors or you look after a colony of feral cats, you know that keeping them warm and dry in the winter can be a challenge. The answer is a sturdy outdoor cat house that will provide them with somewhere to shelter.
We searched the internet and have found the best DIY plans to teach you how to build outdoor cat houses that you can start building right away.
From a super smart design featuring an old cooler to a robust elevated wooden shelter, we’ve included a wide range of designs – many of them are suitable for beginners, too! Pick your favorite and get building!
The 9 DIY Outdoor Cat House Plans
1. DIY “Smart” Outdoor Cat House
Stain, spray liner, wood glue, drop cloth, (4) 2” swivel casters, microchip pet door, (2) 3” hinges, RFID tags, (3) 1” x 2” x 6’ boards, 1” x 2” x 8’ board, (3) 2” x 4” x 8’ boards, 13 1” x 3” x 6’ boards, 1 1” x 3” x 8’ board, (2) ¼” x 2” x 8’ boards, 2’ x 8’ corrugated metal, (2) 1/8” x 1.25” x 4’ angle iron, 3” screws, ½” screws,
Paint sprayer, miter saw, clamp, driver, drill, drill bits, metal cutter, nail gun, sander, Kreg jig, strainer
This stylish, modern outdoor cat house is a project best suited for an experienced DIYer. Not only does it require numerous materials and specialized tools, but it’s also time-consuming. This cat house is unique because it features a “smart” door that only opens for a cat with a microchip.
This keeps your kitty safe from wild animals or feral cats that might try to invade their outdoor house. The directions are clear and well-illustrated. While this is not an inexpensive project, the original author suggests multiple adaptations that could lower the price if you so choose.
2. DIY Double-Decker Cat House
Plywood, 4×4 posts, 2×4 boards, screws, 2×2 boards, Reflectix insulation, paint, cedar shingles
|Tools:||Power saw, drill, level, scissors, measuring tape|
This double-decker cat house is a multi-functional option that provides space to store food and water bowls and shelter for outdoor kitties. It can be customized to fit any space and painted or stained to match your outdoor décor. The plans are fairly detailed, but they’re not specific about how to measure and cut the wood you need. They also don’t spell out exactly which tools you need, but they don’t seem to be anything specialized. This project should be easy for those with DIY experience but probably not impossible for a beginner.
3. Fit-to-Size Cat Shelter
Plywood, plexiglass windows, paint, wood glue, screws, Styrofoam, finishing nails, caulk, 2×2 boards
|Tools:||Power saw, jigsaw, drill, measuring tape, hammer, paintbrush|
This simple cat shelter is easy to customize to the size of the feline you’re housing. The plans include a rough outline of how to design your shelter, including the features to include. Because it’s built using found materials, the plans are a bit vague on specific board sizes and measurements. However, the guide is easy to follow. This project uses basic tools and should be easy for someone familiar with their use. It is fairly inexpensive if you can find used materials.
4. Two-Door Cat House
Plywood, 2” x 2” x 8’ boards, screws, nails, insulation board, 2 reclaimed cat doors, weather stripping, glue, hinges, latches, solar lights, outdoor paint, straw, sandpaper
|Tools:||Power saw, drill, hammer, paintbrush, tape measure,|
This two-door cat house is simple, inexpensive, and designed to warm outdoor kitties during a Canadian winter. The double doors offer the cat an escape route if a wild animal tracks them inside. The original poster accomplished this project with the help of neighborhood kids, so it is a good DIY project for the whole family to do together. It doesn’t require complicated tools and can be made using reclaimed materials to lower costs. The plans are easy-to-follow with multiple photos and illustrations.
5. DIY Wood Pallet Cat House
|Materials:||Wood pallets, nails, sandpaper|
|Tools:||Power saw, drill, hammer, tape measure|
This cat house is made entirely from deconstructed wood pallets, making it a budget and eco-friendly project. It features two levels, including an enclosed shelter on the bottom and a covered, open-air upper area that can serve as a feeding station or lounge spot. The plans don’t specify the size to cut your pallet boards, allowing you to customize it as required. This project is best for a DIYer with some experience because the plans rely heavily on visual images rather than written details. Each step of the project is illustrated by a clear photograph, but you’ll need to know how to assemble it without being told exactly. The final project looks more expensive than the materials you use.
6. Insulated Plastic Cat House
30-gallon tote, 18-gallon tote, insulation, spray insulation, duct tape, safety gear
This variation on the plastic tote cat house uses housing insulation to keep the outdoor kitties warm. This makes it slightly more expensive to construct than similar projects. However, this project is easy for anyone to accomplish and requires only simple tools. The directions are clear and well-illustrated. You’ll need to follow safety precautions when working with insulation, such as wearing protective gear. This outdoor cat house can be built quickly, making it a good option for providing emergency shelter.
7. Pedestal Outdoor Cat House
Plywood, 2”x 4” boards, carpet, blanket, ½” x 3” wood, wood glue, 3” screws, small screws, small nails, thin wood
|Tools:||Miter saw, drill, driver, 1/8” drill bit, measuring tape, knife, hammer|
This elevated cat house doubles as a scratching post and features a ramp for easy access. The most specialized tool it calls for is a miter saw, which can easily be rented if you don’t have one of your own. Because the directions are so detailed, a beginning DIYer should be able to complete this project. They even explain how to set the miter saw to produce the angled cuts you need. This cat house isn’t insulated, so it’s a better option for a shelter in warmer climates.
8. Winter Cat House
|Materials:||PVC pipe, connectors, cardboard boxes, insulation, packing tape|
|Tools:||Hacksaw, protective gear, knife,|
This unique winter cat house uses PVC pipe framing surrounded by cardboard and insulation to create a cozy shelter. With simple, inexpensive materials, this project should be easy for all skill levels. The PVC frame was upcycled from a previous piece of cat furniture, so if you need a different size, you’ll have to figure out the measurements on your own.
The video tutorial is detailed, with links to other projects that might be helpful. The voiceover is also written out for those who prefer reading their directions. This shelter isn’t waterproof and is best suited for covered outdoor locations, such as a porch or barn.
9. Heated Igloo Cat House
|Materials:||Heating pad, Igloo cooler, brick, tarp (optional)|
This simple, heated cat house works best for covered or enclosed areas like a barn, porch, or carport. It’s not waterproof, and you need access to a plug for the heating pad. This project is extremely simple and inexpensive. Your biggest expense will probably be the heating pad. Look for a cooler that fits the pad closely. Use a brick or something heavy on top to keep the lid in place. If you want to provide weatherproofing, you can place a tarp over this cat house.
So, there you have it! We hope there’s a weatherproof DIY outdoor cat house plan here to suit you and your outdoor cat.
Whether you’re skilled with your DIY skills or just starting, there’s plenty of plans here to suit all of us. Some of the designs are extremely clever and can easily be completed using some materials you might already have on-hand. Others will need a bit more planning as well as new materials.
Either way, you’re sure to end up with a warm and cozy house for your cat. We’re sure they’ll thank you for that come winter!
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Featured Image Credit: Ella Lena, Pexels