When you are making a shelter or providing some sort of bedding for an outdoor cat, use straw not a blanket, towel, kitty bed etc.
The reason for this is straw does not absorb moisture and will help keep the cat warm. Whereas anything made of cloth such as a blanket or towel will absorb moisture and can actually make the cat colder, especially it if gets wet.
Inside shelters we also use insulating material such as styrofoam. This also does not absorb moisture and will reflect body heat back upon the cat. Another material we use are sheets of the material that is often around frozen foods when shipped to pet stores. It looks like bubble wrap but one side is silvery in color and it works great and also reflects body heat back on the cat.
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