Training an outdoor cat to stay indoors

Training an outdoor cat to stay indoors

Cats, being the feral animals that they are, their natural instinct would be to hunt and roam around freely.  But, being a cat-parent, we would do anything in our power to make sure that they are safe, by loving and taking care of them just as we would do with our own children to keep them safe. 

Having an 'indoors only' cat, is the one sure way, we as cat-parents will know that our cats will be safe from all the harmful outdoor elements, such as other wildlife, being run over by a car, diseases, parasites, bad weather and so much more.  Cats on the other hand would like to believe otherwise.  An indoor cat usually has a longer life expectancy than that of the one who is free to roam. 

Kittens are much easier to train and keep indoors because they are young and  have less knowledge of being outdoors.  It is basically all they know of and are accustomed to, but if you have an older cat who likes to roam outside a lot then it will be a little more of a challenge, but fear not, it is possible if you just follow these steps: 

RECREATE YOUR CAT’S ENVIRONMENT 


In all honesty, not everyone has the means to do what this guy did but we can do a few things to make our cats feel comfortable enough indoors so that they will not miss being outside.  

For this to be successful you need to actually think like a cat, you may want to study your cat for a few weeks to understand what he really does when he is outside.  By recreating your cat’s environment you will actually be transforming your house into a big park or playground where your cat will feel safe but also have everything right at his paw-tips so he will not feel the need to go outside.  Some of the things your cat will do when he goes outside are: 

    • to hunt 
    • to climb trees 
    • to chase and play with objects such as balls, leaves etc 
    • bird watching 
    • to find a mate 

    From the list above you can come up with ways to substitute those things with indoor-friendly activity products

  • Toys and Puzzle games 
    Placing toys and puzzles in different parts of the house, you will have your cat occupied for hours when he finds it and starts playing with it.  He will forget all about going outside. 

  • Cat Trees and Furniture 
    Cats love to climb trees so you will need to place a few of these in your house. It will also help with distracting him from clawing your furniture and will help him to stretch his paws and do exercise.

  • Bird Watching 
    In order for your cat to achieve this without actually stepping out, you will have to make sure that there are windows in which your cat can look out at. Having a window perch will be great so that your cat can sit comfortably and look at birds for as long as he likes. Having an enclosed outdoor porch will be a plus for your kitty’s enjoyment. 

  • Food and Water 
    This should always be readily available for whenever your cat has the need to nibble on something or gets hungry. Cat treats are also a great way of letting your cat feel like he has to hunt for food if you place the treats in different hiding places in your house for him to find. 

  • Have your cat spayed or neutered 


    This will help keep your cat indoors and not want to go roaming around looking for a mate! When cats are in “heat” they will do anything to get out and fulfil those hormonal desires which can last up to two weeks (14 days) and if they do not mate within that time they will go back into heat again a few days after. 

    REINFORCEMENT OF POSITIVE TRAINING 

    Once your cat is indoors you need to make sure there is at least one door he knows about that he can exit from. Therefore all other doors need to either be blocked or you can use the Cat Training System to train your cats to stay away from other doors. Training your cat to come when he is being called will also help for when he do go outside, he will come back when you call him. All family members will have to know once they exit through a door they have to quickly close it behind them before your cat can escape. 

    Cat Training can also be used when you take your cat outside for walks. This will keep him safe and within your own premises and he wouldn’t go roaming into the neighbor’s yard or elsewhere. Remember even if you have an indoor cat, your cat still needs to at least be able to go outside (with your supervision off course) once in a while. Your cat should be on a leash to make it easy for you to be able to control where he goes. 



    AN INDOOR GARDEN

    Making an indoor garden for your cat would be ideal, he would feel as though he is outside with all the outdoor aroma of plants and grass. The best plants to consider when making your cat garden are: 



  • The best time to start training your cat to stay indoors is during winter if you live in an area where this occurs. Cats would love the warmth of a nice soft bed to cuddle up into rather than being out in the cold! Give your cat enough time to accept the changes of this transition and let him adjust by showing a lot of love and attention. There can be a lot of bonding during play time and grooming

    Knowing when to go Cold Turkey 

    If your cat refuses to accept the transition and you have given him enough time and privilege of being outside then you may have no choice but to go “cold turkey”. This only means that you will have to show a more stern approach to the training and don’t give into any of your cat’s whining or whimpering ways. Always keep in the back of your head that a safe and happy cat is an indoor cat, this will give you enough motivation to keep doing what you have to do to keep your cat inside. 

    I hope this helps and feel free to leave your comments below.  I will love to hear from you!

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