To keep our outdoor cats comfy each winter, we construct a well-insulated cat house. Every November we buy three bales of straw and use them under our side porch on top of a layer of scrap plywood and cardboard. We lay two of the bales in an open V with the bigger opening touching the back of the house. The smaller front opening is the “cat door.” Then we put an old rag rug over one bale, down into the V and then up over the other bale. Next, we either put a couple of scraps of 2-by-4s and cardboard or a scrap of plywood on top of the two bales, then put the third bale on top of it all. We’ll also put an old towel or blanket inside for the cats to snuggle with, and that is their home for the winter.
In the spring, we put the bales in the garden to use as seats, and the following year we use those same bales as mulch in our veggie garden. We never have a problem with weed seeds from the straw growing in the garden because all of them sprouted the previous year. So it’s a cycle: snuggly warm cat house, then place to rest in the garden, then weed-smothering, moisture-conserving mulch, then fresh veggies!
Dolores and Don Goodson