This time of year is crazy, weather-wise. November in the Mid-South means sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60s, but it will descend to freezing at night. December, January, February become progressively colder. I find it impossible to enjoy the snuggy warmth of my bed when I know my outside cats are miserable. Therefore, I plan ahead. Items most people throw away, I put aside for my cat shelters. They will never win an award from Architectural Digest, but my kitty camps do the job they're meant to: Protect my outside ex-strays from the elements, and hopefully keep them healthy.
I have two yards. One is fenced, the other is open across the back of our home. The fenced yard is the preferred domain of ex-stray tabby, Chauncie Marie.
Since 2007 I have provided water and dog kibble for a family of raccoons. This year I used a couple plastic construction bins from Lowe's to hold their water.
When Buddy was alive, I bought him a thermal pad that created heat when he slept on it. I bought four after seeing how much he loved it. Since Chauncie will not be snuggling with another cat for body warmth this winter, she won the use of one of the thermal pads, placed over the blanket, inside the pet bed.
After I put the chaise cushion over the rungs, I slide Chauncie's bed under it.
Notice there is another pet house placed on top. That belongs to Jesse--Peaches' son and Gidget's dad. He is supposed to sleep on the open-yard porch, but recently decided he wasn't into group housing and bullied Chauncie out of her yard.
Next, I took the cushion from a second chaise lounge and tied it to the lower part of chaise #1. This will block the wind for Chauncie in her bin bed.
Stop by again on Tuesday. I will show you the kitty camp I set up on the other porch. This one is two-tiered with room for four or five, plus the inevitable homeless stranger that will need shelter come winter.
You may also want to read winter shelter ideas from these sites: