's "Roughneck Homes" Feral Cats Shelter Program

Help Assist in Rescuing Feral Cats is proud to support the ongoing fight to maintain the overwhelming population of feral cats in the Unites States. Through our "Roughneck Homes" program you will find this helpful resource to help build and maintain a safe living environment for feral cats in your area, as well as access to our popular Rubbermaid Roughneck tote storage box containers for use in building your shelter or donating to a charitable organization.

What are "Roughneck Homes"?

Roughneck Homes are large Rubbermaid tote bins used for storing goods in your home or commercial office setting. These tote bin containers have become a very popular means to providing a safe and secure living environment for stray cats. With a little creativity, these containers can be transformed into adequate shelter to protect feral cats against harsh environmental elements and predatorial dangers. Cold weather insulation and feeding stations are also easy improvements in areas where feline lives are at ever greater risk.

"Roughneck Homes" Outdoor Protective Cat Shelter Instructions Concept by Indy Feral

Roughneck Homes are easy to make and a lot of fun to construct. Using the instructions and pictures below, you can construct your feral cat shelter in just 15 minutes. Always use the utmost caution when using a blade or knife to make the entrance/exits of your shelter.

  • Depending on the climate, shelter may actually be more important for survival than even food.
  • A dry, wind-proof shelter can do a large part in fending off frostbite in the ears and paws from elements such as freezing winds, snow and rain.
  • While feral cats typically build a thick protective coat for winter, the effectiveness of their fur as insulation is greatly reduced as it becomes wet or frozen and can often times result in hypothermia.

"Roughneck Homes" Feral Cat Shelter — Easy to make home suitable for cats

    1. Rubbermaid Tote 18 gallon (Pictured)
    2. Styrofoam Cooler
    3. Straw
    4. Duct Tape
    5. Exacto Knife
  • Start by cutting a 6" diameter hole in the tote to act as an entrance or exit. Always cut away from your body.

  • Insert your StyroFoam cooler insulation and cut a matching 6" diameter hole to match the tote.

  • Add straw in and around the Styrofoam cooler for added insulation, using as much as possible.

  • Add your Styrofoam lid for added insulation. Secure lid in place with a few pieces of duct tape.

  • Complete by adding your lid back onto the tote. You may want to place additional duct tape on the lid as well

The shelter built on this page utilizes the 18 Gallon Rubbermaid Tote and is most suitable for 1 feral cat. For 2 or more feral cats, simply replicate these instructions with more Rubbermaid totes and supplies.

Often times cats will resist entering a shelter with only one exit as it puts them in a vulnerable position to predatory dangers. You may need to cut additional holes on the opposite side to incentivize colony cats to use your Roughneck Home.

As the cats grow accustomed to their new shelter, it may be desirable to add additional protection from wind or other elements by placing a door flap made of heavy plastic or vinyl to each entrance of your Roughneck Home.

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