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I had just moved into a new house when I noticed something strange going on at my shed in the back yard. I suspected something was living under the shed, but I was shocked to find out that it was actually feral cats!
You might be surprised and how many feral, or wild, cats there are. There may even be some in your backyard like there were in mine!
Feral cats aren’t strays. While stray cats were usually once someone’s pet and are domesticated, feral cats are wild and usually can’t be tamed. These cats will live out their lives outdoors with little help from humans. In fact, the best course of action when it comes to feral cats is to tram them using a humane trap, neuter them and return them to where they were from.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t make these cats’ lives a little easier by providing them with food and shelter. Shelter, however, is probably the most important. The elements can be tough on these cats — especially during the cold winter months. This is why they usually resort to living under sheds or in abandoned buildings — neither of which is ideal.
To help make life a little easier for the feral cats living in my yard, I decided to build, and shingle, a feral cat shelter.
Creating a Feral Cat Shelter
I began with a dog house that I built from a kit. While it was an ideal size and structure for sheltering the cats, it wasn’t as weather-proofed as well as I would have liked it to be.
To remedy this, I decided to give the shelter a sturdier roof by shingling it. That way, it would keep out any rain, wind, or snow. Thankfully, I knew that this was a project that I could take on myself.
I started by making a trip to Lowes to pick up the necessary materials. After consulting with the sales associate, I determined that using GAF shingles and components would be best for this project. This is because GAF is made with proprietary, granular technology which means it looks good and is extremely durable.
While GAF is often used by professionals, it is also used by the average DIYer and is perfect for small projects as well as large project.
For this project in particular, I purchased:
- GAF Timberline® High Definition® shingles in Weathered Wood
- FeltBuster® High Traction Synthetic Roofing Felt
- TimberTex® Premium Ridge Cap Shingles
- 1 1/4″ galvanized steel roofing nails
- 1″ round plastic cap roofing nails
The first step of the project was to cover the entire roof of the shelter with FeltBuster® roofing felt and attach it to the roof using the 1″ round plastic cap roofing nails. If you have excess of the felt, just use a utility knife to trim it to size.
After attaching the FeltBuster® to the roof, it is time to shingle. For larger roofing projects, you would start with Pro-Start® Starter Strip Shingles, but for smaller projects such as this one, that is optional.
Begin by nailing the shingles down using the galvanized steel roofing nails. You don’t want to make the edge of the lowest shingle flue with the edge of the roof. Instead, allow the shingle to hang about a third of the way over the edge of the roof.
When it comes to measuring the shingles it is best to measure and cut them ahead of time. This will save you a lot of headache when it comes time to install the shingles.
On the shingles you will see a faint white line. Line the bottom of the next shingle along this line and nail it down using the roofing nails. Trim off any excess.
Once you get to the peak of the roof you will once again want to trim off any excess that is hanging over the peak.
Fold one of the TimberTex® Premium Ridge Cap Shingles over the ridge of the roof and nail it down. Continue doing this across the entire peak. It’s important to place the shingles so they are overlapping as opposed to end-to-end. Once again, trim any excess.
Now you have a weather-proofed shelter which will keep any feral cats safe and warm. For added comfort, you can always add old blankets or straw to the shelter.
I placed the feral cat shelter in my backyard and enticed the cats into it by placing their food inside. Before I knew it the cats were using the shelter on a regular basis! It made me feel so much better to know that the cats were well protected.
I was surprised at how easy the project was to do when I used the GAF products. I was able to get everything I needed in the shingles isle at Lowes. The project itself only took a few hours to do. It’s definitely given me the confidence to take on more projects like these! Check out more DIY roofing inspiration at the GAF Social Hub.
Comment On: Have you ever attempted to shingle a roof yourself? What was the outcome?