How To Transition An Outdoor Kitty To An Indoor One

Last week we explained why it's safest for cats to live inside. For safety’s sake, we strongly recommend helping your cat find the indoor environment fun and curbing their outdoor ways. The key is to make the inside interesting! So this week we'll help you with ways to make your outside kitty and inside one. 


6 Ways to Help Your Cat Love the Inside

Every cat is different. Some kitties will love the inside immediately and never want to revisit their carefree days again, while others may be more... difficult. These guidelines will help your kitty make the transition to life on the inside. Remember, if your cat has gotten in the habit of going outside, then changing that habit can take some patience - just like changing our own habits can!

Some important tips:

  1. Feed Indoors - Start feeding your cat inside if you don’t already. This way, your kitty will associate being inside with good things happening. If your cat does come in to eat and then wants to go back outside, specialists recommend delaying the exit. You may be able to distract your cats with games (see below) to take their mind off the outdoors. Gradually, you’ll able to keep them in for longer and longer times.
  2. Add a Scratching Post and Litter Box - Outside, Kitty sharpens his claws on trees or pavement and uses the bush as a litter box. Obviously, you don’t want your cat using your furniture as a scratching post or the corner of your living room as a bathroom, so you’ll need to make other arrangements. It’s a good idea to add these things while your cat is still in the habit of going outside. Show them how they work and encourage their use.
  3. Create Kitty Hideaways - Your kitty has his favorite hiding spaces outside. If you want him/her to like living inside, you'll need to provide some indoor hideouts, too. Empty boxes or paper bags work great. (It’s amazing what cats will want to curl up in.) Your cat may also choose a closet or want to hang out under the bed or on top of a high bookshelf or cabinet. It’s perfectly natural for cats to seek out a hideaway, and the more options you provide, the happier they'll generally be.
  4. Give Them a High Perch - Cats also love sitting high above everyone, surveying their territory. If they don’t already have a good spot that provides them with the perfect view from above, then give them one! Kitty condos work well, and some cat lovers have even installed shelves on their walls to serve as kitty seats. If you have younger (or young at heart) cats, they’ll love to jump and climb.
  5. Play Games - Balled up paper, dangling strings, "fishing" toys, laser pointers...these are classic games cats love. They especially enjoy it if you play with them. Plus, playing with Kitty helps the two of you bond, making it more likely s/he will want to stay inside.
  6. Get a Birdfeeder - A birdfeeder outside a window where your cat has a safe perch gives him/her the chance to enjoy bird-watching while keeping the birds safe. "Kitty TV" is an enjoyable way for your fluffy friend to look at the outside without actually suffering the ill consequences of being outside.
  7. Build a catio - If all else fails and Kitty insists on getting fresh air that doesn't come through a window, you (or someone you pay) can construct a catio. A catio is an outdoor cat enclosure, and it can be attached to your house (like a patio!) or free-standing. It can also be as simple or as elaborate as you (and your budget) like. The benefits of catios are numerous, including giving Kitty an outside space to enjoy while keeping him/her safe.


It’s a fact that indoor cats live longer, so remember that you’re doing this for the health and well-being of your kitty. Make the indoors more interesting than outside, and soon s/he’ll stay in because s/he wants to be there.

If you have any questions about your kitty’s health, please be sure to contact us!


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