Good Samaritan helps Deep Ellum street cats survive the winter freeze by building 'space pods'
When Dallas resident Chelsea Wendell heard another winter storm was headed toward North Texas, she jumped into action and began building what she calls “space pods” for stray cats in her neighborhood.
These cat winter shelters are meant to keep cats warm when cold weather hits. They are made of huge plastic storage containers. Inside them, Wendell tapes a shiny layer of insulation material to keep heat in.
Even though cats are resilient, Wendell said they need to stay warm and protected too.
“Oftentimes, street cats are strays that have been abandoned. And not to get too deep, but I know what it's like to be forgotten and how hard it is to fend for yourself,” Wendell said.
Wendell has built seven shelters this year. It’s not the first time she’s built shelters. During last year’s winter storm, shebuilt many also.
“Luckily, this year was not as bad as last year...[then] I was outside pretty much all day and night for an entire week, making sure the shelters kept up,” Wendell said.
Since then, she’s become very familiar with where cats in her neighborhood of Deep Ellum like to hang out. She sets up the shelters at those locations. Inside each shelter, she leaves cat food and waits from her car until cats go in. Later, she comes back to make sure the shelters stayed dry and leaves more food.
“I told myself that I can't save all of the animals, but if I focus on just my neighborhood, I know I can make a difference,” Wendell said.
What you need to build a shelter:
- An 18-gallon plastic storage container
- A box cutter
- Weather-resistant adhesive tape
- A roll of reflective insulation or straw.
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