Shelter Building


Our volunteers hold shelter building workshops throughout the fall and winter building inexpensive, warm shelters for homeless cats. Shelters built during the workshops are then made available to caretakers and colonies in need. The workshops are also a great venue for caretakers to network with others in the community that are performing TNR.

Since we started in 2010 our volunteers have built over 3,000 shelters for homeless cats
To place your order for a shelter(s) click here and fill in the form (click on the below photo for a larger view of the shelters). Our shelters are $15 and available in 2 sizes (both are displayed below)
**Requests will be cancelled after 30 days if the requester hasn’t picked up the shelter(s). **


Medium-sized Shelter (1-2 cats)


Small-sized Shelter (1 cat)


Inside the Shelters

Last season we built shelter #2,000 and look forward to building even more shelters to keep Toronto’s street cats safe and warm.


How:  To sign up for our workshops click here (you don’t need to sign up for all of them at once! Feel free to sign up “as-you-go”!)
When:  The following are our workshop dates for the rest of the season.  All dates are Saturdays.  The workshops run from 10am – 3pm.  Show up at any time and stay for as little or as long as you like

Apr 11, 2015
Apr 25, 2015 (Last shelter building workshop of the season)

Where: in the garage of Toronto Humane Society, 11 River Street (@ Queen Street East), in Toronto.

Shelter_with_dimensions_titleTHANK YOU to Mazz Salon for donating loads of great refreshments for our volunteers at the shelter building workshops!  You keep their bellies full and their energy going. You can also visit Mazz Salon at their Facebook Page.

Shelter_with_dimensions_titleTHANK YOU to the Hennessey Transport who generously donated their time to transport material to us for our workshop!

THANK YOU to the following organizations who have donated shelter building
materials and/or provided incredible discounts on supplies purchased from them.

Armtec CanadianTire CanningtonConstruction HomeDepot ScepterPlastiFab
ThankYouSignTHS 3500&3000

64 thoughts on “Shelter Building

  1. elena

    does these lost poor cats are exposed to any danger in winter even with these shelters? like being eaten from wild animals out there?

  2. torontostreetcats Post author

    Hi Elena. Street cats are far more apt to be in danger of human threats (like being hit by a car, or being poisoned, or drinking antifreeze) then being in threat of a predator trying to get into a shelter. Plus the hole in the shelter is large enough for a cat but smaller in size for an animal that could try to threaten the cat. Plus the risk of dieing from hypothermia (as a result of NOT having a shelter) it exponentially higher then the risk of a predator being able to get at a cat in one of these shelters.

  3. Fern Lutwak

    I helped to make the cat shelters & purchased one, in hopes to help this feral cat that I’ve seen around my house infrequently. I don’t know if the cat will even notice the cat shelter. What do I do to help this cat. I’m sure that a squirl or rabbit could end up in this cat shelter. Not that I don’t care about squirrels and rabbits, but I am concerned about this feral cat. I would adopt him if he would live with me, but I don’t think that he will, as he runs away when he sees me. Please instruct me as to what I can do. This cat could have a family for all I know. Do I put food in the shelter? Could I get him to live with me, so he’ll be safe? I’ve put out carrots & celery & kale for rabbits & nothing has been touched, so I don’t know how the cat is going to notice the cat shelter. Please help me to help this feral cat by educating me.
    Fern Lutwak

  4. torontostreetcats Post author

    HI Ferne. The best suggestion I can make is to place kibble in the shelter for a few hours every day (don’t leave it out over night in order to prevent other kritters like raccoons from being tempted). You can also try putting catnip in the shelter – not all cats are attracted to catnip but a heck of a lot of them are. There’s also a chance that the cat already has a warm place that they’ve found to ‘call their own’. If they’re secure there and feel safe, chances are probably good that they wouldn’t want to give that space up and choose another one. If you’re feeding the cat, you may also want to try putting the food bowls/water bowls right beside the shelter – again, to bring attention to the shelter and also associate something positive (the food) with the shelter. I really hope things work out Ferne (or at the very least, that the cat already has somewhere safe/secure that they’ve found to keep themselves warm this winter).

  5. Daniela Nyvltova

    Hello, I live in Montreal and the situation is just a pure hell here. We feed about 30 feral cats each day, at 3 different locations, plus we have built heated shelters in the back of our house (3 separate cabanas) and underneath of our front porch, providing also food and water (in heated bowls). The problem near the house is that cats fight over the shelters and they leave. We have a bully who fights every other cat in need of. Despite our huge efforts to trap him, he just won’t go into the trap. In our area – Rosemont, there is a ban on feeding stray cats. It is debilitating situation and we are completely desperate. We trapped and release many of them, which we will not any longer do because we feel their suffering is greater on the streets than being dead. Right now, we have 4 feral cats in our apartment in big crates, and we do not know what we will do with them. We have 7 rescued living with us and all the people we know that care about animals are over-crowded. But in general, most humans will not take a semi-feral cat. We do, but we are the exception. We have no place for them. We are desperate. When the temperature hits -10/-20/-30 celsius, The last thing I want to mention is that where do we put those shelters? We constantly fight with the residence because they do not want us to feed them, they want to kill them or poison them. Where to set up those shelters? Thank you. Daniela

  6. Anonymous

    Hi Daniela,
    We reccomend placing the shelters on private property – either residential or commercial property (always with the permission of the owner).

    There are a number of cat rescue organizations in Montreal that you might contact. I googled
    “feral cat rescue Montreal” and found information that might be of use to you.

    Thanks for caring about the feral cats that share our communities.

    Toronto Street Cats.

  7. Anonymous

    Bill–can you tell me what size piping you use? We have been all over to find rigid 6″ for the shelters we build and no luck! I took the training for ferals and forgot to ask that day.

  8. Chris

    I was wondering if you could provide instructions and a specific list of material on this site since I live in Ontario but too far away to attend a workshop. It’s been difficult to find the right size plastic tote that will allow for Styrofoam insulation, or to put one tote inside another with insulation in between, so having brand names and sizes and model numbers (how many Litres) as well as the name and dimensions of the (loom?) pipe would be helpful, even if models eventually change. Maybe you can link to some videos too, or we could send our email and you could send a link?

  9. torontostreetcats Post author

    Chris have you checked out the following page of our site ? It has a whole bunch of different designs/suggestions for DIY shelters including a video we prepared explaining how we build ours. That being said, you can use any size plastic tote to accomplish creating a shelter. The point is ensuing that you line it with Styrofoam/Durafoam. You can find inexpensive sheets of Styrofoam at any Home Depot (or places like that) – then it’s a matter of cutting pieces of the Styrofoam to line the bottom, all 4 sides of the plastic tote and then to create a piece to lay on the top – then you put the cover of the plastic tote over it. The model of plastic tote we use varies literally from month to month (what we can get the best deal on!). So pretty much we’re constantly changing the requirements for the sizes of Styrofoam depending on the model of plastic tote. Regardless, once you fit the pieces of Styrofoam in the plastic tote, you’ll want to use duct tape to hold the pieces together – you’ll want to line the entire length of each piece that connects another piece – not only will the duct tape secure the pieces together but it’ll act as extra insulation keeping wind/air from creeping into the shelter. I hope this info helps. And also note that if you google ‘feral cat shelter’ you’ll find even more simple/great ideas for DIY shelters – there’s really no right or wrong style – a lot will depend on what resources you have access to, the location you’ll be putting the shelter, how much wind the shelter will be exposed to (if you don’t have a lot of wind being exposed to it, then you really don’t have to use tubing – we know that tubing’s not really that easy to find!). hope this help. Carol
    Lastly, if you want to email with more questions etc feel free to email us at

  10. torontostreetcats Post author

    Hi ‘Anonymous’ – re your question on tubing…. can you email Bill directly at (I was going to pass on your message to him to answer but then realized it would be must faster if you emailed him directly – plus then he could ensure the response gets directly to your email. Cheers, Carol

  11. torontostreetcats Post author

    That’s fabulous to hear Rachel! We’re truly glad to hear you’re looking forward to the workshops and we’ve extremely passionate/intent on continuing to help the street cats of Toronto :) Take are

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  31. Violet

    Not sure if anyone knows about the feral cat problem in Wasaga Beach. It is just getting worse and worse every year. I have a cottage there and every time I go, I see new cats and worst of all, kittens in the streets or in a park, some in my backyard. I just finished building two shelters myself and will be putting them in my backyard. I have seen a large tabby hanging out this summer but thought maybe it was a neighbour’s cat until my mom saw her later – pregnant! About a week ago, we noticed a small kitten in our backyard. Tabby. Unfortunately, I had no luck catching it and with the weather getting colder, I am, of course, heartbroken. I don’t even know if he/she is alive anymore. I’ve asked the neighbour to watch out for it since I’m not there that often. I’ve caught a few cats in the past and have taken them to the Wasaga Beach vet clinic. The vet there is wonderful. She provides spay and neuter aid and also does cat rescue. But there is no municipal wide program or bylaws surrounding ferals, and they are rampant. Almost seems like nobody in that town cares, as much as I hate to say it. People leave their unfixed cats behind after vacationing or they get dumped by tourists, etc. Locals are ‘bothered’ by the cats and suggest not feeding them. Can it get any worse?!

    Any suggestions on what I can do to try and catch the mother or at least the kitten next time I am there? If they are even around anymore. Do cats generally stay in a specific area or move around? The neighbour hasn’t seen anything recently, and I’m only there on limited occasions. :( Ugh, always something! We are so lucky to have so many caring people and resources here in Toronto.

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