There are a million homeless animals living on the streets of New York City, and most of them are cats, according to the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals. But many of these feral felines will soon have a home to call their own, thanks to Architects for Animals.

The organization’s third annual Giving Shelter benefit took place Jan. 10, and many of New York’s top architects participated by building winter shelters for the city’s cats.

Founded by Leslie Farrell, Architects for Animals is a fundraising initiative that benefits the Mayor’s Alliance’s Feral Cat Initiative, a program working to solve feral cat overpopulation through a method of trap, neuter and return.

“Ideally no animal should have to live on the streets, but since they are out there, we feel obligated to help them,” Farrell said in a news release. “All of the firms participating this year are very proud to be part of this life-saving initiative and to partner with the Alliance for the third year.”

Participating architects spent months building their cat shelters, and they worked closely with feral cat colony caretakers to ensure that their structures would be feline-friendly. Each of the shelters will be installed at a feral cat community within New York City.

Check out some of this year’s innovative cat shelter designs below, and don't miss our gallery of last year's shelters.

feral cat shelter

This shelter features a series of plywood ribs that are designed to integrate with a concrete wall at its placement site. The ribs will be clad with slats of varying thickness to create both an enclosed and semi-sheltered “pergola” space. The exposed sides of the unit will have removable acrylic panels to provide light and allow easy access.

Each of these elevated cat pods can house two to three felines. The multiple elevations are intended to provide the cats with a functional, yet playful experience.

This shelter's placement site has a large feral cat colony, so Francis Cauffman built a 5-story cat high-rise. Each level can accommodate two to three cats, and the levels are connected with a series of landings and ramps, echoing the fire escapes of the surrounding buildings.

feral cat shelter

This shelter, designed by Stonehill Taylor with a team of students from City College, can accommodate up to three cats. It's shaped from panels resembling Swiss cheese, earning it the name Swiss Cheese Urban Outfit House.

This small hanging shelter is insulated with fabric and designed to accommodate one cat.

feral cat shelter

Designed by Zimmerman Workshop, this shelter is made of Spanish moss and sheet moss to mimic the garden in which it will be placed.

All photos courtesy of Tarmar Arslanian

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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

Architects for Animals gives shelter to feral cats
Several feral cat colonies in New York City will be moving into winter homes designed and built by some of the city's top architects.