Shelter for semi-feral cat
The feral kitten that showed up at my house in April has become very tame in that I can pet her and she enjoys my company - as long as I don't pick her up. I can pick her up by the scruff of the neck like momma cat, however. In this way, I have been slowly introducing the inside of my house to her. She's been in about four times, each time is a little calmer but after a tiny bit of exploring she searches out the back door and I let her out without much fanfare so as not to spook her. I have fed her bits of food when she in too.
Now that colder weather is coming, for instance tonight it is chilly with a cold wind, I worry about warm shelter for her. I have two beds in the small barn for her, but I have yet to see her use either one. In fact, before dark I went in search of her and found her curled up under a shrub in the leaf mulch. How do I get her to use the barn? Is she afraid of being enclosed, altho there are plenty of exits?
I went online to look for plans for building outdoor cat shelters and one thing they mentioned was to not use blankets, ect. in the shelters. So I went down to the barn and removed the donut cloth bed I had sitting untop of the box of straw. Straw is definitely the better idea so they can suggle down into. I should have known that.
Should I build a couple small cat shelters in the barn or should I sit them outside like on the back porch or under the porch? The barn would be so much better against the elements - we can get lots of snow. How do I get her to accept them? Or do you think she will eventually become accustomed to coming into my house? I knew this would be a problem back in April but she was very wild and took months to let me pet and play with her.
I just walked down to the barn in the dark with a flashlight and the bed(s)are empty. Suggestions? Experience?