Just a PSA to look out for your outdoor animals this winter. Even though Codepaw Consulting is a software development concern, the company name was chosen because we have a great love for cats and dogs.

On Wednesday I was invited to help build winter shelters for outdoor cats. Although I would say 'just don't let your cat outdoors' in the city of Madison where I live, in rural areas there are barn cats and outdoor cats that are already entrenched in the outdoor life, and need to get through these cold winters. We took styrofoam shipping containers, often from old Omaha Steaks or Jenny Craig shipments, with at least a cubic foot, but hopefully more, internal space. Then we sealed them shut with weather-resistant duct tape, cut circular holes with a jigsaw, and partially stuffed them with straw bedding. Some of the shelters, those which will be outside instead of in barns, will get flap doors over the hole to keep wind from getting in. The shelters will be distributed at the Madison Cat Project Monthly Spay Days.

If you are interested in creating shelters like these, there are numerous guides online, such as those created by Alley Cat Advocates and Neighborhood Cats.

Incidentally, if you live in the Madison area and have any of these containers laying around, I'd be happy to take them to be made into shelters. Use the contact form on this site to contact me. Just make sure they're of a decent size; it's hard to get a few handfuls of straw and a cat into a box with less than a cubic foot of space on the inside.

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