SHELTER: Shelter is essential for all cats living out of doors. Providing shelter can be challenging as well as deeply rewarding. Other than a warm and dry place to sleep at night, it can also provide a safe place away from predators and hostile situations. After the requirements for feeding and feeding stations are in place, shelter is the next greatest concern.
All shelters and feeding stations should be out of sight, no matter how friendly the area may appear. The general rule is to camouflage and or conceal everything and place all outdoor shelters and feeding stations out of sight with only the persons who are feeding and caretaking aware of their locations. This can include your backyard. Complaints from an unfriendly neighbor could jeopardize your humane efforts on behalf of stray or feral cats residing there.
SHELTER AREA: Assessment of safe shelter location should be made in any area where feral or stray cats are being cared for. Shelters should be warm, waterproof and sturdy enough to withstand the elements. Although we tend to think of shelter as being important only in the winter, it is equally important year around.
PROVIDING OUTSIDE SHELTER: If you are providing shelter for your feral cats on your property, you will probably have more options and a safer place for them. But, the basics for warmth and protection from the elements with food protected and fresh water will be equally important. All cats living out of doors need a safe place to eat, sleep and rest. All outside shelter must be off the ground a few inches to keep the inside dry. Bricks, cement blocks, wooden boards, trellis or any materials that will raise it up off the ground can be used. You may be putting shelter on uneven ground, in bushes or other discrete areas where leveling of the surface may be necessary.
The following links are provided to help direct you to ideas for shelters that are easy to build. There are numerous types for all kind of budgets or building skills...pick the one that is right for you.