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Local brothers' idea just scratching the surface to shelter cats from the cold (4 photos)

Richard and Daniel Moore have started Arctic Cat Shelters because they want to 'put some good back out into the world'

Richard and Daniel Moore love animals.

In fact, the Barrie brothers, aged 10 and 11, love animals so much that they decided to take a break from homeschooling and came up with a creative way to help keep outdoor cats warm in the cold winters.

Named Arctic Cat Shelters, the boys take Rubbermaid bins and insulate them with Styrofoam board and straw to serve as a makeshift shelter for outdoor cats.

“We love our cats and wanted to do something other than homeschooling. … It's been so cold,” Richard tells BarrieToday

The brothers say they didn’t want the cats to “freeze and die,” so they started researching online on how to build cat shelters because they “care about animals." 

To make the shelters, they cut a six-inch hole into the bin high off the ground so that water won’t get inside. Then, they tape the hole to cover any sharp edges and insulate the bin with the Styrofoam board and fill it up with straw to create a warm bed.

“It’s important not to use blankets or hay as they obtain moisture. We also add catnip in hopes that will help lead the animal to the shelter,” Daniel says.

The brothers have two cats of their own  a tuxedo female cat named Arctic (hence the name of the shelters), and an eight-month-old orange male cat named Ginger, who they said was a barn cat before they adopted him and was another reason for their initiative. 

Richard and Daniel hope their Arctic Cat Shelters will some animals that don't have homes stay warm and “put some good back out into the world.”

When her sons first came to her with their idea, mom Tanya Verker couldn’t help but smile. 

“I thought it was a very thoughtful and caring idea. It makes me feel proud,” she says. “The boys only know that it's hard work right now (because) we didn't expect to have such a great response. 

"It will be good for them to learn that hard work does pay off and it doesn’t always mean you will get something back other than knowing your selfless act of kindness made a difference in an animal's life.”

Mark Adams is a board member with Furry Friends Animal Shelter, a Barrie-based non-profit, no-kill organization dedicated to providing shelter and love to abandoned, lost or rescued animals. He tells BarrieToday they were contacted by the family asking if they could post their initiative for the Arctic Cat Shelters on their Facebook page.

“After talking, I got quite excited about (their) project to help the cats. Building useful cat shelters is something we’ve had extensive experience with, so I asked that we meet to check out a shelter and, once approved, we would get behind the project 100 per cent,” Adams says.

During that meeting, they were able to provide a few small suggestions to help improve on what he called an already “excellent” design, he adds. 

“Now that we had approved shelters the post went up for our 9,000-plus Facebook members to see and the tsunami of orders began," Adams says. 

While the shelter strives to bring in as many cats as it can, because it is an entire volunteer-run organization that relies wholly on donations, they are only able to handle so many, he says.  

“Last year, we brought in almost 550 cats. Right now, we have about 150 cats in foster and 65 at the shelter. We just can’t handle any more, so putting shelters out to be sure the ones we can’t get to is the best solution,” Adams says.

That’s why he and fellow volunteers were so excited to learn of the brothers' initiative.

“Furry Friends also works with an organization called Feline Fix that traps feral or wild cats, fixes them, and then returns them to their territory," Adams says. "A lot of feral cats just can’t be 'domesticated' and so aren’t candidates to be brought into our system.

"Feline Fix tries to manage their populations by fixing them, puts out cat shelters, and even feeds some colonies so they can live life their way.”

Daniel and Richard say the best way to help would be to consider providing an animal a loving home, however, the next best thing would be to give an animal a warm bed by ordering an Arctic Shelter and or donating to arcticcatshelters@gmail.com.