Two cats at my local shelter live outdoors. Two of the adoptables, that is. A Siamese who used to have a rather jaded view of people, is in one; and another cat, who was previously in quarantine and believed to be feral (he has the ear notch to prove it) lives in the other.
The Siamese did originally have a potential home, but she scratched the person and so back she came. She has since gotten much friendlier. Outdoor life seems to agree with her.
The enclosures are chain link fencing. There are tarps covering part of them, plus smaller cat houses to sleep in, food and water dishes, and a few weatherproof toys. Plus there’s a box shaped perch attached to the side of the enclosure, so that the cats can sit and watch the goings-on.
There are also covered enclosures that look like rabbit hutches that the ferals can take refuge in. They have blankets, donated cat beds and straw to keep them warm in the winter. They are fed regularly, and so have come to expect a daily meal.
There is a chain link fence surrounding part of the shelter, but someone has cut the bottom so that they can wiggle under. They take full advantage of this.
While outdoor living for domestic cats may not be ideal, as long as they are provided with protection against the weather and predators, it can work. Some cats seem determined to be outside at any cost. It really depends on the cat.