TOPEKA (KSNT) – People aren’t the only ones being impacted by the winter weather; pets and other animals that spend time outside are also at risk.

The Midwest Kitten Coalition and Helping Hands Humane Society are aware of the danger outdoor animals face. To combat this, they are offering free outdoor cat shelters for people to place in the community.

The shelters are made so outdoor cats can stay warm as temperatures dip below zero on Thursday.

The humane society says it has a limited amount of shelters, but they encourage people to build their own. All that is needed is a styrofoam box, duct tape and straw to line the inside. Grace Clinton, the director of philanthropy with Helping Hands emphasizes that people shouldn’t use blankets or other cloth-like materials.

“The straw is a really great way of deterring the moisture,” Clinton said. “If the cat is all wet and covered in snow, and they crawl in and the blanket is there, then the blanket now gets wet and the cat’s likelihood of freezing to that blanket and getting hypothermia from the inability of the blanket to dry out can really be dangerous for the cat.”

While outdoor cats are an area of concern for the humane society, Clinton has advice for dog owners as well. She says no matter how much your dog seems to enjoy the snow, they shouldn’t be outside for more than 10 minutes. Making sure to check their paws for frostbite and chemical burns is an important step in keeping your pet safe and warm.