If you are looking to insert outside cat shelters onto your property, there are several kinds to buy or make. Here are my top three. If you keep the shelter near your house or patio, you can buy a heat pad for inside two of them. The best heat pads (I use K & H specifically made for the outdoors) heat up to the cat's body temperature when the cat is sitting on it. There should be an area within the shelter that the feline can lay beside, rather than on the pad. Here are some links and types of shelters. We've lived in our area for years and have added one at a time.
We have one ArkWorshop cedar shelter around the corner from the house away from the patio and one in a garden farther away. An outdoor extension cord reaches the shelter near the house for the heating pad. It was important to position these away from the patio because sometimes a cat will claim an area and run the others off even in winter. The Ark Workshop Shelters
We also have a plastic igloo type shelter. My husband drilled holes in the floor in the front so there could be drainage if water got inside. Water hasn't reached farther inside this shelter even in bad storms because of the entrance and would not recommend one without it. There is enough room for a piece of carpet in the back so the half moon heat pad doesn't slide. The animal can warm up on the heat pad or settle next to it on the carpet. This year we put the igloo in our tomato garden surrounded by hay bales to protect it further, insulate it more and to cover the front entrance somewhat.
Igloo style with entrance
The last shelter we added is from Feral Villa. (I also recommend their feeders.) Ferral Villa's shelter has a two exit first floor with an insulated loft for sleeping. We put ours under our deck but it would work well stuffed into the base of a pine or in a garden with brush as camouflage. Feral Villa Cat Shelter
I rub the openings to the shelter with catnip daily this time of year and drop a bit inside to encourage the cats to take a look.
Are they used? We don't always know. But we do have stray and feral cats in our area who deserve compassion and care. I feel better knowing the shelters are there to protect them against winter.
My sleuth Caprice is an animal lover and takes in strays!
©2014 Karen Rose Smith
Karen Rose Smith's mystery website