If you’ve been walking in Savin Hill Park recently you may have come across one of these. So what exactly is it? It’s a feral cat box. (see photo above)
The shelter itself is a plastic storage bin with a small styrofoam cooler inside. There is a tightly packed straw (which stays dry in inclement weather) in the gaps between the plastic bin and styrofoam.
There are wooden blocks attached to the bottom of the shelter to raise it off of the ground so it does not get as cold on the bottom, though the bottom is insulated as well.
“I followed an instructional video on youtube to make the bins – they are very simple to make,” said Dorchester resident Samantha Perry who made the box.
When we came across the box on social media, we decided to ask Perry a few questions!
What motivated you to make the feral cat box?
In November some neighbors reported a woman abandoning a cat in Savin Hill park which really upset me. A kind Savin Hill resident made signs for the missing cat but, at the time that I contacted them, they received no tips. A friend and I went out looking for the cat as well, but we were fairly confident it would not have survived the cold weather we were having. I thought if there were outdoor shelters in that area at the time, they may have helped.
I have always wanted to make winter cat shelters, and am passionate about animal rescue in general. The two special needs cats I have at home were originally foster cats and their care was costing the shelter quite a bit of money. They inspired me to start making greeting cards in 2021 “Cards for Cats” to raise money for the shelter to offset their medical expenses. This eventually turned into “Peel the Artichoke”
an illustration business I run on the side – but that’s another story!
While I am not aware of any feral activity in the park specifically, I thought it could be a good place to start. Many people in the area have reached out to me already via [email protected]
to donate shelters they have, offering food for donations or items that can be used for insulation. I am not an expert in this area and, for the most part, will be directing folks to the organizations in Boston who are, such as Charles River Alleycats (https://www.charlesriveralleycats.org/
). It is a great comfort to know that our community is so supportive of animals, and I look forward to finding ways to tap into this community to support local organizations’ animal rescue efforts.
Where did you place the boxes?
The boxes are placed behind the basketball courts in Savin Hill Park as well as in the park entrance by Caspian Way.
What should people do when they come across one?
If a shelter has fallen over or is broken in some way, contact [email protected]. Do not try to open the box or look inside. Many wild animals may be interested in a warm place on a cold night and not all will be friendly! We also do not want to intentionally attract cats to the shelters who would not otherwise need them, so please do not put any food out.
So there you have it. The case of the mysterious box in the park is solved!
On a side note, this one of Petty’s illustrations below of Castle Island and availble on her Etsy shop here!
Great idea cats are not throwaways even if they are feral hopefully people will respect what you’re doing and not destroy the goodness out of your heart that are helping these animals that need help thank God for those like you who will not just talk about things but who will do things because you care we need more people and more kindness like that so let me thank you from the bottom of my heart and the best of luck if there’s something I can do please don’t hesitate to ask I can’t financially help but if there’s something else maybe I can be available for that thank you