There’s no denying keeping cats indoors keeps cats and wildlife safer and healthier. Transitioning a cat from outdoors to indoors can be as easy as closing a door. Sometimes, cats are very happy staying inside your home. Other times, you and they need a little more help! Cats are amazingly adaptable. Each cat is also incredibly unique depending on their biological and environmental background. This article is here to help you if you’re wondering about or struggling with how to transition an outdoor cat to indoors.
Let’s say you have a cat you adopted from a neighbor too elderly to care for the cat any longer. The neighbor used to let him go in and out, but you’re rightly worried about the neighborhood coyotes/hawks/mean cats/cars/etc so you want to keep him safely inside. You bring him home and how he meows and scratches nonstop at the door or window to be let outside, even dashes out the front door the second you open it. How can you help him to be happy staying inside?
1. Make sure he’s spayed or neutered and healthy. If you’re getting him fixed, take advantage of the fact that they often are groggy afterwards to show him how nice and cozy it is on his special bed inside the closet or on top of the cat tree.
2. Move and take the cat with you. Only half-joking about this! This is why when you adopt a cat from the shelter, it can be easier to make them an indoor-only pet. Especially if you use tip #3 below.
3. Use all of our 5 tips for keeping an indoor cat happy. That means tons of playing, exercise and other enrichment like fun to climb and scratch cat condos placed in front of windows for “cat tv” watching the out of doors, shelving, new cardboard boxes left open sideways on the floor, closets and cabinets left open for exploring and hiding places… get creative!
4. Build a catio for him.
5. Keep him from doordashing.
6. Hang a bird feeder near a window to make for easy bird watching.
7. Use calming cat pheromone plugins in every room.
You may wonder wouldn’t it be easier to reduce his time outside gradually? What we’ve heard from many adopters who try this, it doesn’t seem to work well in most cases – perhaps it keeps reminding them how much fun it is outside, and what you want to do is make him realize how much fun it is to be inside!
We hope these tips help you transition your outdoor cat to be a happy healthy and safe indoor kitty!