Competition Creates Stylish Shelters for Feral Cats

Cats who live outdoors in New York City get a boost through "Architects for Animals."

Architects from the New York City area answered feral cats’ Christmas wishes in 2011 by providing them new shelters through Architects for Animals’ second annual “Giving Shelter” competition. Attendees to a public judging event in December voted on their favorite shelter and organizers announced the winner, Co Adaptive Architecture & The American Street Cat Inc., at the end of the evening.

Seven architecture teams put their design skills to the test to build fashionable and functional shelters for feral cats in winter. The six were FXFowle, Gage Clemenceau, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, Leslie Farrell, RMJM, a joint venture from Co Adaptive Architecture & The American Street Cat, Inc., and Team Anemoi (a collaboration from designers Christina Ciardullo, Wanlika Kaewkamchand and Kaye Kulpa).

Each team received the same set of perimeters regarding the design of their cat shelter. The shelters needed to hold two to three cats and had to be portable, durable, warm, waterproof, heat-retaining and safe for animals to inhabit.

All the shelters were donated to The Mayor’s Alliance for New York City Animals and The Feral Cat initiative. Registered caretakers put them to use saving animals.

Architect for Animals is the brainchild of competing architect Leslie Farrell. When Farrell became aware of the numerous feral cats in the New York City area, she felt she had to do something.

While building a small winter shelter for the cats that lived near her, she thought, “I work in the architectural industry, I should ask architects to build shelters.” From this thought sprang Architects for Animals.

“The goal of Architects for Animals is to build awareness of the plight of these animals, raise awareness of The Mayor’s Alliance for New York City Animals and The Feral Cat Initiative,” Farrell explains, “to let people know what they can do to help, info about ‘trap, neuter, return,’ and to raise funds.”

For next year, Farrell is already planning a similar competition in Washington D.C. and Wisconsin, as well as New York City again. She plans on continuing to grow.

For more information and to learn how to get involved, visit Architects for Animals online here.

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