Transitioning Your Cat Indoors

Cat In Chair

Live Long and Prospurr 

We all want what is best for our animals, but sometimes it can be hard to find the balance between what they want to do and what is safest for them.

Did you know that allowing your cat outdoors can significantly shorten their lifespan? It may seem like they are fulfilling a natural urge to roam, but there are many external dangers for cats living their lives outdoors: busy roads, parasites, fleas and ticks, diseases (FIV, FELV), being attacked by predators, or even just getting lost.

Cats themselves are natural predators and are deadly to local wildlife. The birds will thank you for keeping your feline friend inside!

Transitioning your cat indoors can take some adjusting for both you and your cat, but there are ways to make it a bit easier.

Ensuring the indoors are fun and engaging for your cat is a crucial step to making sure that they are happy and will help prevent unwanted behaviors.

Here are a few ways to make your home a cat’s paradise:

  • Provide plenty of scratching posts and boards to keep your cat from going after your furniture. It may take a bit of time if they don't know what's off-limits for scratching, so check out this article for tips on getting them to scratch their posts and not your favorite chair. 
  • Give them toys that your cat can stalk, chase, and pounce on. Playing with your cat is a way to bond with them and engage them mentally. If your cat is food-motivated, try putting some kibble in a treat ball and have them play with their food.
  • Cat towers allow your cat to see the world the way they prefer: from above. It also gives them their own space to jump on, scratch on, and of course, nap on.
  • Window perches are an excellent way for your cat to see the outdoors and stimulate their senses.
  • Provide them with cat grass to give them to have a healthy treat while keeping them away from your plants and flowers. Learn more about the benefits of wheatgrass here.
  • Help them calm down with pheromones. Pheromone collars or diffusers replicate the “safe people, safe place” feeling that cats give off through rubbing their cheeks against you to mark their territory. They are an easy way to make your cat feel calm and content with their new situation.
  • If your cat demands the outdoors, some cats can learn to love walking on a harness.

Some Tips:

Adjusting your cat slowly allows you to build a positive association with the indoors. Start by bringing them inside for all of their meals, and reward your cat for using their litter box.

Extend the amount of time they are indoors until you cut out their outside time completely.

They may turn into an escape artist any time you open the door. To curb that urge, try throwing a treat across the room as soon as you open the door and blocking the opening with your leg.

If that doesn’t work, try spritzing your cat with water while making a hissing noise, or clapping to train them out of the behavior. Distracting them with toys once you are inside is a great way to engage with them and reward them for not sneaking out.

Bringing them indoors allows you to spend more time with them and provides them with a safe environment to be happy and healthy! It may take a bit of patience, but ultimately, it’s the best thing for both you and your cat.