Retired local man builds cat shelters out of political campaign signs - East Idaho News

Retired local man builds cat shelters out of political campaign signs

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POCATELLO — A local man has found a way to use the campaign signs of political candidates to help stray cats stay warm during the winter.

Kelly Boodry, a 63-year-old retired engineer from Pocatello, has been building cat shelters out of campaign signs for the last two years. He takes these shelters and places them in areas with stray cat colonies so those cats can stay warm during the cold months.

“This is probably the only thing that politics has ever done for feral cats,” Boodry said.

As there haven’t been many elections in 2023, Boodry has ran out of materials to build new shelters and is looking for people to donate any signs they have. He has worked to get new signs by contacting local representatives and the League of Women Voters, but he’s exhausted his local sources this year.

Boodry does have someone coming from Boise who’s bringing him a number of campaign signs, but he needs more than that to build more shelters.

Boodry didn’t always see himself doing this in his retirement. Originally, he wanted to work on classic cars and motorcycles.

He constructed an entire shop on his property to work on cars, and even acquired some. But only a year after his retirement in 2017, Boodry started to get interested in animal advocacy.

Boodry, who is now on the Bingham County Humane Society board of directors, has spent time volunteering at animal shelters, constructing kennels for them and building shelters for stray and feral cats.

Boodry has constructed around three dozen shelters since 2022 and has placed them in spots all around Bannock and Bingham counties.

Each of Boodry’s shelters takes about 24 signs to construct. Boodry makes the walls, floor and ceiling of the shelters by layering the signs and nailing them onto a sturdy wooden frame.

He then places straw on the floor of the shelter to help with insulation. The walls of the shelter are also good for insulation because the signs are fluted, allowing air to run through them but not into the tightly sealed shelter.

Cat Shelter
A cat shelter built from campaign signs | Logan Ramsey,

Normally, Boodry builds the shelters with the backs of the signs facing outwards. For the last one he built, he made it have the text facing out to thank Hayden Paulsen, recently elected to Pocatello City Council, for donating all of his signs.

Boodry said he spent a lot of time making sure the dimensions of the shelter wouldn’t be too small and not too large. Several cats could fit in one shelter or one aggressive cat could fit.

“It’s up to the cats,” Boodry said.

Having access to these shelters helps stray and feral cats survive the winter. The salvage yards get full of cat communities that sleep in cars or, “whatever shelter they can get.”

“It gets cold out there, especially here,” Boodry said. “We’ve been lucky so far I think this year, but sometimes it gets so cold.”

Boodry doesn’t have to beg property owners to let him place his shelters.

“They usually come to me and ask,” Boodry said.

Property owners often approach Boodry about his shelters and request some on their property as they’re already dealing with a feral cat colony. He has also given shelters to people who request them for their outside cats for free.

Boodry said making money isn’t the reason why he builds these shelters, and it isn’t even just for helping the cats.

“This is a lot of therapy just for me,” Boodry said.

People who would like to donate signs to Boodry or request a cat shelter from him can reach him at 208-881-6754. He said that people are also welcome to donate to the Bingham County Humane Society.

The best way to reach Boodry is by text message.