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Cat Behavior Cats

How to Bring an Outdoor Cat Indoors


There was a time when it was “normal” to let your cats roam the neighborhood. but those days are long gone and not keeping your cat indoors is considered cruel and irresponsible.

After all, with the incessant meowing at the door and elaborate escape plans that cats make to escape the confines of their home, letting a cat outdoors was often deemed the best course of action. Most cat owners wrongly believed that their cats “had to be outside so they could roam, hunt and be wild”.

But these days, it’s no longer the right thing to do. Cats are in an increasing amount of danger when they’re allowed to roam outdoors. Vehicles, weather, disease, stray dogs, coyotes, bobcats, and especially humans, are all a direct threat to your kitty.

Let’s face it – it’s a lot easier to keep a cat in than it is to retrain a cat to stay in. But, here are some steps that will help make the transition relatively painless for you and your pets.

Environmental enrichment is a lifestyle change for both you and your cats. It entails making changes to your living conditions that are more “zen” for cats and hopefully for you as well.

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Indoor Enrichment for Cats

For outdoor cats coming back into a home, you will want to observe where he prefers to be when he’s outdoors.

  • Does he like to hang out in trees?
  • Walk along a block wall?
  • Hide in the shrubbery along the gate?

Then you should consider adding areas inside of your home where he can do the same. To offer your cat the best in indoor enrichment, you have to think like a cat…

Indoor Options for Cats who Climb

Affordable options include the unique designs from Katris modular. These innovative trees feature a modern design that is efficient and simple to create, giving your cats plenty of options for climbing.

Catastrophic Creations offer a wide selection of wall-mounted cat tree shelves that cats of all kinds will love.

These cat tree houses from PetTreeHouses.com are ideal for cats who love to be up high or in an area where they can observe from afar. If you haven’t seen the custom tree that set a Guinness World Record, check out this 19′ cat tree with 11 platforms and perches from the same company!

If your cat’s favorite activities include bird watching, consider a window perch. They are simple to install and ideal for cats to safely watch birds. We hang bird feeders near our windows to help attract daily entertainment.

For Cats Who Prefer to Keep Paws on the Ground

For cats who love to hide under shrubs in a yard and watch the world from afar, consider a Cat Haven Cat Condo or simply add some silk, lifelike foliage to your living room.

Indoor cat tunnels are a great way to provide your ground cat with some hiding places where they can run, hide and stalk their prey. Some cats prefer to keep their activities silent, so consider the lined or fabric tunnels.

Cat caves are another great indoor invention for our feline friends. They not only keep cats in a protected and safe area, but allow them plenty of observation. These Merino felt and wool cat caves are some of my cat’s favorite places to nap.


Controlled Outdoor Access

Getting your cat outside on a regular basis can go a long ways towards making your pets feel at home. In our opinion, a fully enclosed cat patio is the best way to keep your cats safe but still keep them contained.

Photo courtesy Cliff Zammit

There are thousands of designs that you can utilize, or you can simply be creative with a fully enclosed dog kennel. Add some outdoor cat furniture and plenty of napping areas for your cat to feel right at home.

Whatever method you choose to get your cat outdoors, it will take time and encouragement to help your cat adapt to indoor life. Be patient – it takes time, but it’s very much worth the effort to keep your cats safe!

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