275 Gallon Tote Turned Cat Shelter

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Roger Gutschmidt hates to see anything go to waste so he figured there had to be some way to re-use the empty but sturdy 250-gal. plastic chemical shelters, which are reinforced by a light-duty metal framework. He finally decided to turn one into a cat and dog shelter.

“My son, John, helped me from start to finish on this project. He had some good ideas along the way, too. For the cats’ entry door, we used a reciprocating saw to cut a 12 by 12-in. hole in the side, near the bottom. This was pretty easy, as we were just cutting through 1/8-in. thick poly and a bit of the light metal cage. The hole could be any size, depending of course on the size of the animal it’s housing,” Gutschmidt says. “I bought a little self-sealing door at Fleetfarm for $15. It’s made of clear poly-vinyl with 3 slits in it, so the narrow flaps can easily be pushed open by the cats to go in or out of the shelter. Once we had the opening in the shelter, we just riveted on this flapped opening with pop rivets.”

To prevent moisture from ever building up inside the unit (from condensation caused by the animals’ breath and body heat), the father-son team installed an air vent at the top. They drilled a hole in the center of the shuttle’s screw-on access lid, and added a small pvc double elbow, so air can move freely, but moisture can’t get in.

Besides a cozy, old blanket on the floor, Gutschmidt mounted a secure overhead light inside the shelter. The 100-watt bulb provides a little winter heat for the animals.

A safety feature is a protective glass “mason jar” fixture, which he salvaged from their old barn. This somewhat diffuses the heat and light, plus protects the bulb from being broken and becoming a fire hazard.

The Gutschmidts currently have to get on their hands and knees to put food and water inside the hut. They plan to install 2 3-in. plastic dispensing tubes (with lids) through the roof at a 45º angle.

“This project didn’t take long to do, and the cats really like it. Story courtesy of www.farmshow.com