Raccoon has taken over one of my shelters

snugglecat

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I made two nice shelters for my 4 feral cats in 2010, each one fits 2 cats. I have a raccoon that has taken over one shelter and now two cats are sleeping on top of the other shelter in the cold. I don't have any money to make this kind of shelter, all the materials were not cheap.

Does anyone have any ideas even if it's just short term to get these two in something that will keep them warm. I tried blocking the shelter when the raccoon left but he managed to get back in it before morning. I didn't know he was back in it and thought my cats had moved it a little so I blocked it again and he ruined the shelter trying to get out of it. When he left tonight I moved the shelter so it's not so close to the entrance of my home. Right now it's cold and two cats are in a shelter and the other two are snuggling on top of the shelter.

I have no money right now to buy any supplies for a shelter but I do have a tote full of Christmas stuff I could empty. Would it work if I put cardboard box in the tote and some straw? Would that keep them warm enough? I don't think the raccoon is going to let us have the other shelter back and it got damaged pretty bad.
 

Norachan

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Snugglecat, it's not the best shelter, but it is cheap and will keep cats warm and dry.

Get three or four cardboard boxes of different sizes. Put the smallest one inside the next smallest one until you have a four box "nest". Newspaper or polystyrene is great for putting between the layers to add a bit of extra insulation. Half fill the inner box with straw and cover the whole thing with a couple of thick plastic refuse sacks taped to the box to keep them in place. Cut a round entrance through the four layers of cardboard. You can use another piece of cardboard taped over the entrance like a cat flap to keep the wind out.

This kind of shelter will last longer if you can stand it on a few pieces of wood so that it's off the ground. I used to tape a piece of wood onto the top of mine so that it was a bit heavier and less likely to move around in the wind.

They last longer if they are in a slightly sheltered place, up against a wall or under a deck for instance. As I said, not the best shelter but better than nothing and it will last for a couple of months if you tape plenty of plastic around it to keep it dry.

Those pesky raccoons, glad we don't have them around here.
 

ondine

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I read somewhere that raccoons don't like the smell of mothballs.  Try sprinkling them in the shelter and see if that helps.  There may also be deterents at the garden center.

If not Norachan's idea is a great temporary solution.  You can also use one of those Styrofoam coolers with straw inside.  If you can put it inside a plastic tote, it will help protect it.  For that matter, a tote turned upside down over Norachan's design would help too.  If the whole thing is on a pallet or boards, you're good to go.
 

shadowsrescue

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I had this happen 4 years ago.  Did you by any chance have any food inside or near the shelters?  That is usually what attracts them to the shelters.  Raccoons are very hard to get rid of.  I tried moving the shelters, but each day the raccoon was inside.  This of course scared the feral.  I had to end up removing the shelters.  I found a raccoon inside the feral villa my DH built during the day.  I was able to put the shelters back out after about 7-10 days as the raccoons had moved on.  If you are leaving food out at night or in the evening when they are around, they are impossible to get rid of.
 
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snugglecat

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Snugglecat, it's not the best shelter, but it is cheap and will keep cats warm and dry.

Get three or four cardboard boxes of different sizes. Put the smallest one inside the next smallest one until you have a four box "nest". Newspaper or polystyrene is great for putting between the layers to add a bit of extra insulation. Half fill the inner box with straw and cover the whole thing with a couple of thick plastic refuse sacks taped to the box to keep them in place. Cut a round entrance through the four layers of cardboard. You can use another piece of cardboard taped over the entrance like a cat flap to keep the wind out.

This kind of shelter will last longer if you can stand it on a few pieces of wood so that it's off the ground. I used to tape a piece of wood onto the top of mine so that it was a bit heavier and less likely to move around in the wind.

They last longer if they are in a slightly sheltered place, up against a wall or under a deck for instance. As I said, not the best shelter but better than nothing and it will last for a couple of months if you tape plenty of plastic around it to keep it dry.

Those pesky raccoons, glad we don't have them around here.
Thanks for that idea. I do just need something for now until I can save some money to make a better one. I have never had any problems with raccoons, I have had them pass by and get water from the water dish  but they always moved on.

I don't leave food outside at all. My cats are fed on a schedule and I pick up the dishes as soon as they are finished. I did noticed this raccoon has something wrong with it's back leg so it can't walk very well. I'm thinking he can't climb the trees where they normally go in my neighborhood. A few weeks ago we had a really bad wind storm and a lot of big trees lost some big limbs and maybe something happened then. A lady down the road said she has seen him eating with her feral cats so he walks several houses down to get food but keeps coming back here to sleep.

Like I said I moved it out of this little cubby spot near my house and when I went to look this morning he doesn't seem to be in there. My question now is if I can save the shelter, he chewed it up pretty back when he was trapped in it. How long should I wait before getting it cleaned up and putting it back?
 

ziggy'smom

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I feel bad for your racoon, especially since winter is coming. Are there any wildlife centers or rehabbers in your area that would take an injured racoon? If so, maybe you could trap him and bring him in and that way also get rid of him. Maybe this organization could help you: http://www.paws.org/wildlife/center/

As far as your shelter problems go there are many ways to make inexpensive cat shelters. This site shows a number of different shelters made out of plastic totes. http://www.alleycat.org/sheltergallery . Since you already have one you could insulate it with a styrofoam sheet and straw. You should be able to get the styrofoam and straw for less than $15. This would make a pretty good shelter. Of course a tote with a hole in and some straw inside is better than nothing for now
 

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I'm a sucker like Ziggysmom….my bet is that if he's injured a back leg, he can't make it up a tree --- since given the choice, they FAR prefer to be up a tree than in a shelter. You can certainly call local wildlife centers to see if he can be relocated -- many won't anymore and simply euthanize raccoons because of recent rabies laws, but it's certainly worth calling around. In the meantime - the Alley Cat Allie people are fantastic (through web or phone) in helping you figure out how to set up a super inexpensive shelter. You could always just make another one or two - set them away from the raccoon for now..and just consider (for the time being - until you determine something with local wildlife rehab people)  these "separate temporary housing developments" :)  Straw's super cheap. And several of our local TNR and Humane Societies off low-cost rubber made pre-done housing for about $25-30. 
 
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snugglecat

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Thanks for all your help. I too feel very bad for the raccoon, I don't want anything to happen to it. I just wish it would find another spot to recover and sleep.
  I talked with the lady down the road where he is eating and she is going to put some straw inside a dog house she has and some food and see if he will stay in that. He did not come back yesterday and I removed the shelter to my back yard to try and clean and repair it. I wish now when I saw it had been moved that I would have left it alone. I feel bad that he was trying to chew his way out for who knows how many hours. I don't think it will do any good to call anyone about the injured raccoon, others in the neighborhood have called with similar situations and they won't help. The Humane Society did take in some baby raccoons from a guy across the street because their mother had been killed.

We have a lot of raccoons in my neighborhood and because they are feed by people and are not afraid of people, it's hard to get them to move on. A few years a go I had two that would come every night looking for food on my porch and when they see me looking out the window they would get up on their hind legs and put the two front paws together like they were begging please feed me. It really was cute. They would lay on top of my cat shelter right out the front door with this sad please feed me look. They finally moved on but they also were not injured.
 

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jtbo

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Stalk the raccoon, make him really really scared so that he wees on himself, maybe that would teach him that it is not his shelter? Of course it is not very humane thing to do.

So, let's see, cheapest but warm shelter I have made has been from house insulation materials from hardware store, few sheet of something we call Finnfoam, it is kind of like Styrofoam, but it has about 10 times smaller cell size, also it is a lot stronger, it is very difficult for me to make sheet snap to half without cutting it first, also clawing is not destroying it very fast, unlike Styrofoam which has new holes in few days.

Then some expanding foam, which I used to glue ceiling, floor and walls together, one can use jagged edge knife to cut a hole to side or to bottom. Nice thing about those sheets are that they do have beveled edges so they kind of fit into each other, that helps to keep draft away.

I don't know if you have such in your location, but cost for my were perhaps around a 10€, 4 or 5 sheets was 25€ and I used only one, I think, they are around 2,5 meters long sheets and width is perfect for a cat shelter so I needed to cut only one cut to get one wall and it is 4 walls + roof and floor.

Expanding foam was around 5€ I believe.

This site is manufacturer of that Finnfoam, it is those XPS sheets, I think that there should be something equivalent in each country.
http://www.finnfoam.com/

Of course there are urethane sheets, often with tinfoil surface, those are bit brittle and more expensive, but much better insulation.

Also when funds permit one can put some nice vinyl surface (one might get scraps free from hardware store or some building construction site), to make constructed box to look more pretty, also one can put straw or similar inside the box to keep cats dry and moisture in check by replacing straw every now and then.

That material itself is such that when one sits on top of such sheet even in subzero temperatures it feels warm to touch, it is like being warmed with electricity, but it just reflects body heat so well.


Another idea for shelter from relatively cheap hardware store items would be using corrugated plastic sheets, put some rock wool between the sheets, making it kind of sandwich, so both sides of rock wool has corrugated plastic sheet, I think that in US there was elections recently, so lot of signs made from corrugated plastic available for free?

Problem with that is bit harder to construct, but with a good saw and some expanding foam + some supports to keep corrugated plastic sheets on place, it should not be impossible, however I have not tested that.

It is really like building something from paper, just cut and glue, but expanding foam is bit of messy and smelly, also parts are bit harder to cut especially that corrugated plastic if very thick one, than what paper is to cut, however much easier than constructing something from wood.

I did do very quick and dirty drawings in power point which may or may not help to see what I attempted to explain, note that box type 2 you would need also roof and floor which are not in pictures and it is bit challenging to get all that right if not some experience in such diy constructions.
Also note that nothing is in scale, just to show general idea.



Here is Box type 2 using Corrugated plastic and rock wool:
 
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catapault

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Love your drawings, especially the warm cat /cold cat!
 

jtbo

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Love your drawings, especially the warm cat /cold cat!
I could not get proper cat from above drawing made, so it looks bit silly now, but maybe idea of sandwitch structure becomes clear from that, making a box with sandwitch structure is then bit complex I think.
Maybe best approach is to do outer box first then inner box, then stuff outer box with rock wool and add inner box, then cover top of inner box with rock wool and add finally roof of outer box, but making openings for cats to enter is bit challenging, lining them up and adding something to act as tunnel trough insulation and to go from outer box to inner box, that is something that needs to be figured out by the one attempting such build.

Good bit with that box type 2 would be that it is possible to make it really well insulated, to easily withstand Alaska or Arizona (why extreme temperature locations start with A? And what's with Arkansas then? ;) )

Oh yes, I think rock wool might cost around 20€ (that is absolutely maximum, should be less), to get really good insulation, better than anything has on those readily available models they sell with three figures price tags.
 

Norachan

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We have a lot of raccoons in my neighborhood and because they are feed by people and are not afraid of people, it's hard to get them to move on. A few years a go I had two that would come every night looking for food on my porch and when they see me looking out the window they would get up on their hind legs and put the two front paws together like they were begging please feed me. It really was cute. They would lay on top of my cat shelter right out the front door with this sad please feed me look. They finally moved on but they also were not injured.
So glad we don't have raccoons in this country. I wouldn't have been able to resist that, I'd end up feeding half the forest.

 

catapault

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How about a piece of corrugated semi-rigid conduit if the space between inner box / outer box and through the insulation is too wide to cover with ever-useful duct tape. Something 8 or 9 inches in diameter (2/10 of a meter) should be large enough for cat. Mark the circle on the outer box, cut. If rigid insulation, easy to cut. If something like fiberglass, then press down the insulation to slide tubing through to inner box. Mark and cut. Allow fiberglass insulation to uncompress. Could probably get a piece of conduit as scrap from a plumbing supply shop or similar. And after all, it is a cat who will use it, not a large dog.
 

jtbo

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How about a piece of corrugated semi-rigid conduit if the space between inner box / outer box and through the insulation is too wide to cover with ever-useful duct tape. Something 8 or 9 inches in diameter (2/10 of a meter) should be large enough for cat. Mark the circle on the outer box, cut. If rigid insulation, easy to cut. If something like fiberglass, then press down the insulation to slide tubing through to inner box. Mark and cut. Allow fiberglass insulation to uncompress. Could probably get a piece of conduit as scrap from a plumbing supply shop or similar. And after all, it is a cat who will use it, not a large dog.
Rockwool comes in variety of forms, some are almost like mattresses, some very loose, there are some pics:
http://www.encon.co.uk/products/view/577/rockwool-rockroll-rollbatt-18af

Those mattress like ones can be teared into smaller bits.

Trick is to find opened/damaged package to get lower cost deal, or then make enough lot of shelters to use all the stuff. Of course one could store them for later use too.

Package sizes tend to be quite large for our cat house purposes.

Yes, plumbing plastic pipes and electric conduits should be fine, if one is skilled, it might be possible to use 90 degree or 45 degree angle for bottom entry so that it does not create draft to floor, but it might be bit difficult for cats to use.

For front wall door, I think one should try to angle 'tunnel' so that any possible water would drip towards outside. I had 3 cats in quite large box during winter and door flap constantly froze solid, their breathing at near -40C produced so much water vapor that it caused door flap to freeze, so there probably is also some moisture attempting to get in if tunnel is not angled so that water runs towards outdoors.

One thing I forgot to mention about expanding foam is that it will take more than 2 weeks for smell to disappear and only after that cats will use it, also don't use it indoors, must be open well ventilated outdoor area as it might cause air to become toxic or something if used in small room without ventilation.

Oh mine did like to sit on top of their shelter box even around -30C, their coats were quite impressive though :D
 

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I kind of feel sad for the racoon. He is also struggling to survive the cold winter. He doesn't understand you prefer the ferals over his life, he doesn't know the shelters are for the cats, he's just looking a place to keep himself warm.
 

ziggy'smom

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i have used the lifoam huskee coolers http://www.lifoam.com/huskee.htm   3 different sizes. feral cat tested and approved. $10 for the medium and $20 for the large. can get them at walmart and even some grocery stores. just cut a hole in the side by the corner for a door

i got the straw from feralvilla http://www.feralvilla.com/Bedding_c_9.html
You should be able to find straw locally much cheaper than that. I bought a bale of straw for $6.50 at a local pet store. It's pretty big and contains enough straw to fill several shelters several times. It took up most of my back seat when I drove it home. I live in a Chicago suburb so it's not exactly farmville around here but it was still not hard to find straw.

I tried to find a cooler like that with no luck. I looked at Target and the grocery store but neither seemed to have anything of the kind. In what section of the store are these usually kept? I thought about getting a styrofoam cooler and putting it inside a plastic dog house. Do you guys think that would be a decent shelter?
 

ondine

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I found the coolers on Amazon. I am waiting to order one until I find a tote it will fit in. But a doghouse would work too.

I get straw at Tractor Supply. Hobby Lobby sells it in smaller bales if you don't need or have room for a big one.
 

msaimee

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If there is an Agway in your area you can buy a large bag of straw for 2-3 dollars. Even if you only put straw in a cardboard box, you cats will nuzzle into it and keep warm. You can purchase a bag of emergency heat reflecting "blankets" at a sporting store for a few dollars and put them in the box beneath and around the straw. Raccoons normally hang out in their dens, so this one is likely wounded, especially since he usn't attacking your cats. Please don't use moth balls to deter the raccoon- they are also a deterrent to cats, and toxic.
 
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ondine

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If there is an Agway in your area you can buy a large bag of straw for 2-3 dollars. Even if you only put straw in a cardboard box, you cats will nuzzle into it and keep warm. You can purchase a bag of emergency heat reflecting "blankets" at a sporting store for a few dollars and put them in the box beneath and around the straw. Raccoons normally hang out in their dens, so this one is likely wounded, especially since he usn't attacking your cats. Please don't use moth balls to deter the raccoon- they are also a deterrent to csts, and toxic.

Thanks, MsAimee. I wasn't sure if the mothballs would hurt the cats, so this is good info. That's what I love about TCS!
 
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