This advice is from Animal Behavior Consultant Cheryl Falkenburry. Read more about Cheryl and her work.
There are so many benefits to bringing your cat indoors, not only for the wildlife who share our world but for your cat too. From parasites to dangers from cars and predators, bringing your cat indoors just makes sense for all involved. However, it’s not always as simple as bringing kitty inside and closing the door. You may be confronted with a multitude of problems if you don’t start with a little preparation and planning. Undoing a problem is much harder than avoiding it all together. If frustrations build, it may end with the door being opened and the cat going right back into the great outdoors.
Most cats can learn to be happy indoor family members. Feral and strays from shelters have adapted to indoor living for years. First things first: you need to make sure your cat is neutered or spayed. Many behavior problems stem from a cat trying to find or attract a mate. Female cats can get moody when in heat. Male cats are far more likely to spray when intact. Spay and neuter the cat immediately if you haven’t already done so.
Next, you need to make sure you have created an environment that will replace much of what the outdoors provides. You don’t have to turn your home into a jungle, but you do need to be willing to add a few items to your current that are cat-friendly. Places to climb and hide, places to scratch, and places to eliminate are the first things to establish. Then you will also need to consider how to entertain the cat. A bored cat is a cat who will act out in inappropriate ways. If you are bringing in a shy or feral cat, you will definitely want to set up a separate living area while the cat learns to adapt to living in close quarters with people.
Here is a three-step process to get you on your way to bringing your cat indoors to help keep wildlife safe and give your cat a healthier and happier way of living as a member of your family.
Step One: Setting the Stage
Step Two: Places to Play
Step Three: Transitioning to Indoor Living
Problem Solving for Indoor Cats