Building a Better World for Cats

Michael Pammer, Illinois, United States

Community cats in Kankakee County, Illinois, will stay cozy this winter thanks to local cat-lover Michael Pammer.

Guided by Alley Cat Allies, Pammer has single-handedly built more than 30 plywood winter shelters for cats. Every year starting in July, Pammer constructs shelters in his garage.

“I think we owe it to our cats to help them out,” says Pammer. “Sometimes there is prejudice against cats, especially outdoor or community cats. This is just another way of protecting cats and showing people that they matter.”

Pammer fell in love with cats after he and his wife adopted two in 2010. Pammer got involved with a local cat rescue and began learning about community cats. When he discovered Alley Cat Allies’ resources on building solid shelters in 2013, he knew he could help.

“People were having trouble with shelters cracking from the cold weather, and nobody else in the area was building real outdoor shelters for the cats. When I saw Alley Cat Allies’ plans for plywood shelters, I thought, ‘Well, I’m not a real handyman, but I can build that,’” says Pammer.

Pammer bought the tools and supplies to build shelters and got to work. Soon orders poured in from community cat caregivers. Pammer cat build two shelters each weekend. He sells them for $35 each—barely enough to cover the cost of materials—but he doesn’t turn away those who can’t pay.
Pammer has a network of friends and residents who will let him know if a local caregiver needs a shelter. They loan their vehicles to transport supplies, and deliver shelters to those who need them Hoping to get more of his neighbors onboard with helping cats, Pammer plans to hold a workshop to teach people to build shelters out of Rubbermaid containers—with Alley Cat Allies’ resources, of course.

“I hope to inspire people, even if it’s just in a small way, with the things that I’m doing,” says Pammer.