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I got a big polystyrene board from Home Depot (you know, the kind with Pink Panther on it). I want to glue it together with Liquid Nails to make a house for feral cats in my neighborhood.

However,

  1. I noticed that it's laminated on both sides. Should I remove the lamination so that the actual foam adheres and not the laminate?

  2. Will giving it a few coats of paint make it waterproof? If not, should I try something else?

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    I would think a cat would shred that material with their claws. – UnhandledExcepSean Nov 12 at 12:27
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    Cultivating feral cats is usually against local ordinances (and certainly doesn't endear you with your neighbors). It also contributes to the destruction of huge numbers of songbirds and other wildlife. Just don't. – isherwood Nov 12 at 13:42
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    Feeding and sheltering feral cats creates more feral cats. When a feral has to forage and hunt for its own survival they come into heat much less frequently so they have fewer kittens. On the other hand keeping their bellies full of store bought food leads to frequent cycles of fertility and produces many times more feral cats that will also reproduce leading to a much larger population of unwanted feral cats. – Kris Nov 12 at 13:49
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    Releasing the cat (spayed or not) kills far more animals than killing the cat would, as I explained. You're being irrational. Nature kills animals by the billions every day, and putting one to sleep is the humane, sensible thing to do. Capture the animal and turn it over to animal control or a shelter. It's the only responsible outcome. – isherwood Nov 12 at 20:42
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    Related question that doesn't exist: how can I piss off my neighbors to the point of them calling animal services on me? Don't get me wrong, I love cats; I have two. But they're spayed, neutered, indoor/outdoor, not declawed, and have distemper, de-wormer, FLV, and rabies shots. Without all of those, you should limit your contact with them, but you're still helping spread all those viruses, and breading more cats which repeats the cycle. – Mazura Nov 13 at 0:26
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Firstly, as has been said, that material will not hold up to either the cats or the weather. You need an actual siding over it.

The construction adhesive you mentioned will eat the foam unless it's the water-based "panel" or "project" variety. The solvent in the heavy duty type dissolves polystyrene.

I built a similar "hot box" for my dog using the same stuff. I assembled six panels by creating a frame of 2x2, fitting 1-1/2" foam inside, and screwing 1/4" BC plywood to both faces. I strategically extended the plywood 2" on one face as needed to create the lap necessary to screw the other panels in place. It's extremely solid and comfortable. I have it mounted off the ground by just the front panel, and I can stand on it with no movement whatsoever.

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Yellow gorilla glue works well on foam, and won't melt it. It needs a little moisture to work so apply a light mist of water to one side, and a thin bead of glue to the other. (Wood normally has sufficient moisture already, but foam has none). Hold it together with tape while the glue sets, and wipe up the extra every 10 minutes for about an hour - it expands a lot, foaming up to fill gaps and making a mess if you're not careful.

Epoxy works too, but is expensive and requires mixing.

UHU POR is a specialist glue for foam, but it's designed for craft work and small pieces, not construction. I use it when gorilla glue is too messy.

If the laminate is a polythene sheet, you should remove it in the areas you want to glue, as almost no glues stick to polythene. Keep the laminate for waterproofing, and use parcel tape to cover any gaps.

Or you could just use parcel tape to hold it together, it can be as good as glue.

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Several companies make a foamboard adhesive. Loctite PL300 Foamboard is one.

The foamboard will be waterproof (at least as far as your needs are concerned) as it is. It is not fireproof, however. It's also very light, so unless you're also building some sort of structure to hold it in place, the first wind will send it flying.

No comment on the material being cat-proof.

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Loctite PL300 Foamboard is good, but Loctite PL Premium also says it glues XPS (Pink) foam - Product page, see tech data sheet – I have used both in the past few days (Foamboard to glue pieces to each other, and PL to glue foam to wood) – but I didn't remove any laminate. Both glues seem OK, but "mechanical" fasteners are often called for. In other words, while PL glue is stronger than wood fibers themselves, I don't think you're gluing foam into a singular unit, and most instructions are about attaching foam to something, not making a crate.

Also, I know from experience that animals don't mind ripping the pink foam to pieces (mice, rats, racoons, groundhogs) if they decide that's important to them.

Also, that stuff is EXPENSIVE compared to a sheet of even high-quality OSB, which you could nail and glue into something really strong – but maybe you're trying to make something simple. Here the PL glue would come in more handy because it glues lots of things together, you could even glue the box to concrete. Costwise, thinner insulation and OSB together might be stronger, and not blow away. I guess you're trying to add some insulation, but you could just get old clothes or blankets – I'm sure feral cats aren't picky.

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