How to Build an Outdoor Cat House From a Plastic Tote

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Things You'll Need

  • Large plastic tote with snap-on lid (20-gallon size or larger)

  • Smaller plastic tote with snap-on lid (see Tips section)

  • Permanent marker

  • Jig saw

  • Insulating material (see Tips section)

  • Old towels


Handle the jig saw carefully so you don't injure yourself.


The smaller tote needs to be large enough for a cat to stand inside and to lay down comfortably. It needs to be small enough to fit inside the larger tote with space in between the two totes for insulating material. Insulating material can be straw, newspaper, Styrofoam or whatever packing material you have handy. If wet weather arrives, change the towel inside every couple of days so your cat has a dry place to lay. Straw can also be used for bedding inside the cat house although some cats may be tempted to use it as a litter box. If you only have one tote, ignore Steps 4 to 6.

Build an outdoor home for kitty with only a few materials.

If you have a cat that likes to stay outdoors or you want to provide shelter for a feral cat, you can build your own cat house with a few inexpensive materials. Although this project can be done with a single plastic storage tote, placing a smaller tote inside a large tote gives you space to add insulating material to keep the inside of the house warm.

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Step 1

Remove the lids from both containers and set the lids aside.

Step 2

Draw a circle large enough for your cat to fit through on the larger tote. Draw the circle in the center of the tote's end.


Step 3

Cut out the circle using a jig saw.

Step 4

Place the smaller tote inside the larger tote. Use the hole in the larger tote as a stencil to draw a circle on the smaller tote. Remove the smaller tote from the larger tote and cut out the circle with the jig saw.

Step 5

Place the smaller tote back inside the larger tote so the holes in the totes line up. Stuff the space in between the totes with the insulating material.

Step 6

Snap the lid onto the smaller tote. Place more insulating material on top of the smaller tote before putting the lid on the larger tote.

Step 7

Reach through the holes to place an old towel inside the cat shelter. Place the shelter so the entry hole is minimally exposed to rain and prevailing winds.