E-rubbermaid Subsidizes DIY Feral Cat Shelters

Rubbermaid Roughneck feral cat shelter

E-rubbermaid is the feral cat’s best friend. Its not-for-profit “Roughneck Homes” program provides the resources you’ll need to build and maintain feral cat shelters.

Roughneck Containers are large Rubbermaid Bins used for storage. They’ve also become a pawpular way to provide a safe and secure living environment for stray cats.

You can buy Rubbermaid Roughneck containers for feral cat shelters at wholesale prices through erubbermaid . (The program also purrvides a way for you to donate Rubbermaid Roughneck containers [at a wholesale price] to charitable organizations.)

rubbermaid roughneck feral cat shelter

Simon Smith (age 12) pictured with his shelter and cat - Scratches. Simon is the driving force behind the Roughneck Homes Program.

The supplies to build a Rubbermaid Roughneck Feral Cat Shelter are simple (and cheap):

(1) Rubbermaid Tote (the 18-gallon tote is pictured)
(2) Styrofoam Cooler
(3) Hay or Straw
(4) Duct Tape
(5) Exacto Knife

How to Build the Rubbermaid Roughneck Feral Cat Shelter

Cut an entry hole in the plastic container. Put the Styrofoam container inside the Rubbermaid container and cut a corresponding entry hole in the styrofoam. Pack straw into the gap between the styrofoam container and the tote, and place straw inside the inner container. Put the lid on the styrofoam cooler and fasten shut with duct tape. Put the lid on the Rubbermaid tote and duct-tape it closed.

Detailed instructions and photos are available on the Roughneck Feral Cat Shelter site.

The tote pictured is an 18-gallon container, suitable for one cat (or two small cats). For a larger shelter, use the 36-gallon Roughneck tote and a larger styrofoam cooler.


Often, feral cats will be hesitant to enter a shelter with only one exit, since it leaves them vulnerable to predators. You may need to cut a second hole on the opposite side to encourage ferals to use your roughneck home.

If you live in a particularly cold clime, it may be desirable to add protection from wind or other elements. This is commonly done by installing a door flap made of heavy plastic or vinyl to each entrance of your roughneck home. Generally, it’s better to do this after the cats have become acclimated to the shelter.

More Info on Rubbermaid Roughneck Feral Cat Shelters

More information on this project — including how to buy a Rubbermaid 18-gallon Roughneck tote for just $6 — is available at erubbermaid site.

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About the Author ()

Karen Nichols is a Pet Industry Influencer, Publisher and Multimedia Designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has over 15 years of experience in the Internet Industry as a User Experience Analyst and Interaction Design Consultant. She's blogged professionally for nine years, and is a respected expert in social media, web analytics, online branding and Wordpress design and development. She's a popular speaker at pet industry conferences. In 2013, she won the BlogPaws social media awards for Best Cat Blog and Best video. In 2012, Karen won the Best Blog Design award for SkeezixTheCat.com. She was one of seven finalists in the national Purina Cat Chow Correspondent search in 2010. She has been a spokesperson for Friskies and judge of the 2012 "The Friskies" video contest, and a juror for the Internet Cat Video Festival. Karen is a member of the Cat Writer's Association, Women in the Pet Industry, the IAABC, The Interactive Design Association and the North Bay Multimedia Association.

Comments (5)

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  1. Simon Smith says:

    Thanks for the wonderful write up! Just wanted to point out that I tried to click on the last link for “erubbermaid” and it was broken 🙂

  2. Valerie Pegg says:

    Very cool, thanks for the great idea! We have a serious kitty problem down here and I know a lot of people who help feral colonies. I will definitely share this article and idea!

    • lbowbeer says:

      Please use straw instead of hay, it keeps the kitties much warmer and does not retain moisture.


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