How to Turn an Outdoor Cat into An Indoor Cat!
15 November, 2016
If you have a cat that has spent time outdoors and you want him to become an indoor cat, it can be done. There are so many potential deadly dangers outside from parasites, catching diseases, being hit by cars, stolen by strangers, attacked by predators, or just plain getting lost that are constant threats to an outdoor cat. And winter is a great time to start the transition. After all, your kitty will probably be much easier to wrangle inside when the weather is cold and wet outside and your home is enticing and warm.
Below are some steps to help make the transition successful:
Move your cat indoors slowly
Make the change from outdoors to indoors gradually, until the new way of life becomes old, well, cat! Many cats will adjust with little effort, while others will be miserable and let you know it. They might scratch at doors, claw at windows, yowl, and try to dash through open doors.
Your outdoor cat will need to be litterbox trained (assuming he doesn’t use the indoor litter box)
For the cat who has never been litter box trained, it will be necessary to have your cat in a confined space if only for a little while. This is equally important if you have other indoor cats that might not get along with your outdoor cat. Make sure the area is large enough to have a litter box, resting space, food, water and toys. This should only be for a short time so your kitty can get used to what is hers and how to use the litter box.
After your cat is litterbox trained, your kitty can be moved to a small room
After your cat has adjusted to using the litter box, your kitty should be moved to a small room, like a bathroom. After she gets the hang of that, you can increase her space yet again. If she has a lapse, return to the last space the cat kept clean. Don’t forget to visit her often and release her for supervised affection during this initial confinement period.
Have two liter boxes at the start
If the outdoor cat was litter box trained, she will likely fall right back into the habit. For the former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best. Place one where you want the litter box to permanently be placed and then put another transitional box at the door the cat once used to exit the house.
Enrich your kitty’s environment indoors
An outdoor cat is used to running around all day and seeing all the outdoor activity. To make the transition smooth, it is important to make sure your kitty has places to look outside and toys to play inside. Window perches allow your indoor cat to keep an eye outside while safely basking in the sun. Toys are a must as are interactive play toys to keep your cat active and interested.
Make sure to have some scratch posts handy
To protect your furniture from a cat who’s used to scratching wherever she pleases, offer several kinds of scratching posts to determine her pleasure. Look for posts that are sturdy enough to climb. Cat tree furniture, which usually includes several resting platforms atop natural tree trunks or posts wrapped in sisal, is a kitty favorite. If you can place a tree near a sunny window or patio door, your kitty will feel like he is outdoors!
Most important is to make sure your home is secure from your kitty’s escape
Your kitty is used to staying outdoors so don’t be surprised if he or she tries to escape. Make sure screens fit snugly in windows and cannot be dislodged by a persistent cat. Dissuade door-dashing by drawing your cat away from doorways before entering and departing your home.
With a little time and effort, your outdoor kitty will love his new indoor home.