Architecture for feral cats with good taste

Architects produced designs for NYC felines, ranging from teepees to brownstones to structures made of repurposed cat-food cans.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jan 14, 2013 2:39PM

© Tamar We’ve seen all sorts of photos of innovative dwellings for dogs, designed both for charity and for those canines whose owners can afford five figures for a doghouse.


You don’t see nearly as much architecture for cats, perhaps because no matter how beautiful the cat house, your kitty is likely to prefer the box it came in.


However, cardboard boxes are not the best choice for cats who live out in the elements, so the NYC Feral Cat Initiative organized a competition to design innovative dwellings for the cats who live in the streets of New York.


Post continues below

Eight dwellings by top New York architecture firms were unveiled last week at the Architects for Animals: Giving Shelter benefit. The dwellings ranged from modern homes on stilts to a Native American teepee. One house was built from 300 empty cat-food cans (photo). The simplest was a cooler with a hole cut in the side, covered with a moss to make it blend into the environment.

Architect Leslie Farrell, who created Architects for Animals and started the event three years ago, also wanted a cat house that would blend into the environment. Her Kitty High Rise is a five-story Brooklyn brownstone for felines, with perches where the fire escapes would be. It will be placed in a Washington Heights community garden, where the cats earn their keep by keeping rats away.

Building shelters for feral cats is common in places where temperatures plunge below freezing in winter.


"Cats like to find the darkest places to sleep," Kathryn Walton, who designed the cat-food-can house, told The New York Times. "They don’t want to be exposed to foot traffic or vehicular traffic. And if it’s 50 degrees or so, for sure they will be on top of the shelter."

If you’d like to try your hand at cat-shelter design, the NYC Feral Cat Initiative has links to a number of DIY cat shelters.

Jan 19, 2013 10:11PM
Now ive seen everything,,,They want to build shelters for home less cats,,,While home less people sleep in card board boxes,allies,and dumpsters. Does any one here see any thing wrong? Hello?
Jan 19, 2013 6:23PM
For the benefit of the 13 morons who gave my last post a thumbs down let me try to explain the facts that are obvious to any person with common sense. Any uninsulated metal structure will overheat in the sun  in all but the coldest climates. Therefore, metal is not a suitable material for any animal's dwelling and to suggest it is is irresponsible. The simple fact that you can't find a metal pet structure in any pet store should give you a hint but considering your obvious lack of understanding I understand why you need an explanation.  DAAA
Jan 19, 2013 5:48PM
Wild rabbits are NOT endangered in any way.They're prey for owls,foxes,coyotes.They have a mortality rate of 50% in the first year of life.So,if a female rabbit has 8 babies,only 4 will make it to be a year old.This is why they reproduce quickly and have a lot of offspring.As for the cats,they're doestic animals.It is our fault if they're out there struggling.We must spay/neuter all of our pets and be repsonsible for these strays.I fell sorry for any domestic stray animal.It is hard enough for wild animals to survive.I did wildlife rehab.I say good for anyone helping any animals,domestic or wild.They have no voice and deserve respect.Rabbits and cats included!
Jan 19, 2013 9:11AM
kook-a-rotcha- rabbits, moles and shrews aren't endangered! i hate when people spew out facts that aren't true. you are just a cat-hater.
Jan 19, 2013 8:41AM
Maybe the architect should try living in a tin house for a while before designing one for any animal. Are we supposed to build dog houses out of dog food cans? DAAA
Jan 19, 2013 6:39AM
I feed several feral cats out on my porch.  It's not their fault they are in that condition and I feel sorry for them.  These cats are well behaved and are becoming domesticated.  They show me a lot of affection and seem to crave being petted and cared for.  I have never heard any fighting or seen any bad behavior, so they are most welcome here.
Jan 19, 2013 5:41AM

Endangered rabbits? That's a new one.  Rabbits are such a problem in my neighborhood, anyone who plants a garden here in the summer is wasting their time unless they also install rabbit-proof fencing to protect what they plant.  My neighbor has a couple of dogs who will kill whatever rabbits they can catch, but the rabbits have pretty much moved away from their yard and continue to be a problem for myself and other people here who don't have a dog.  I would shoot the rabbits, however, that is totally illegal, to discharge a firearm in the city.  Squirrels are a problem too and I once counted 10 squirrels having a "squirrel convention" in my yard one early summer morning. Squirrels do a lot of damage to tomato plants, stealing the tomatoes when they are still small and green, and throwing them all over the yard.  I have thought of getting a couple of Guinea Hens, they kill insects and even small creatures like mice, but I was told they make so much noise, I wouldn't be able to keep them.  So I would gladly welcome a cat colony to live here, to kill these stinking rabbits, squirrels and other vermin and rodents.  I had a friend who kept a horse at a farm, and on the farm there were several barn cats, to keep the rodents from tearing into and contaminating all the bags of horse feed and other animal feed.  So I can see where having free roaming cats around is definitely a good rather than a bad thing.  I think the people who have a problem with the hunting instincts of cats are the same prima-donna type people that think anyone who hunts is some sort of gun-crazy redneck who shoots possums and eats them for dinner.  Or who see a cat defecating in their yard and have a panic attack and contact the Board of Health.  Get a life, people.

Jan 19, 2013 2:48AM
The same can be said for dogs, horses, and some other so-called wild species! A lot of now "wild" animals were released by accident or on purpose by humans.  The trap neuter and return program may help to lessen the problem you think is so terrible! Humans hunt things and spread diseases to each other that hurt or kill their own kind, but we do not euthanize them, yet. Nature on all levels will work out a solution to what we think are problems!
Jan 19, 2013 2:10AM
Trap, Spay and Return? Yeah, and that is why we no longer have any natural wild life in the wild. They eat bugs, mice, even the endangered ones, baby rabbits, moles, shrews, that's why they are endangered. They need to be euthanized. They do not belong here in the American Continent, even in the wild. It's tough if you're a cat lover, but a cat lover allowed them to get loose in the first place.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Powered by



Find local plumbers, electricians, contractors and more.