Iowa City family creates free shelters to help homeless animals escape the cold

The shelters are intended for feral cats but have helped other small animals keep warm too.
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 5:33 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -What started as a love for animals turned into a passion to help them. Shelly Hull is the originator behind what has turned into a family operation to make warm shelters for stray animals.

The shelters are made out of Styrofoam coolers that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Shelly’s husband Mike starts by taping them together before putting them in a box for extra insulation. Shelly tapes the boxes and passes them off to her daughter Maddison who draws the opening before handing them to her grandpa Dave to cut out.

The family estimates they’ve made around 100 shelters this year. They give them away for free to be picked up at the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center or at Shelly’s real estate office Sellers and Seekers.

“It’s just, it makes you feel good, it makes you feel good we’re just paying it forward,” Shelly told us.

They’re intended for feral cats, but other animals have taken note.

“There’s been possums, there’s been racoons, there’s been other animals,” Shelly says.

Kiaya Deneice uses them on her farm in Ainsworth. She has around 8 cats at the moment, some are her own and others have wondered in for warmth.

“We have a couple strays that don’t really let you get too close to them,” Deneice told us.

The shelters give her a way to help.

“I like that I have made a difference in it and I know they have a safe space to go,” Deneice says.

When the Iowa City animal shelter runs out, Shelly gets the call to make more. Her family made around 20 news ones today to be picked up by people ahead of the freezing weekend on it’s way.

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