My Indoor Cat

How to make an outdoor cat an indoor cat

How to make an outdoor cat an indoor cat

There are many benefits to having an indoor cat. Their safety being number one. So it’s no wonder that many cat owners want to bring their outdoor cats in. But knowing how to make an outdoor cat an indoor cat can be a little tricky, especially if your cat loves being outside. Some may adjust more easily but with others, it may take a little more time.

Here are a few tips you can do to make the transition behind the door that little bit easier.

What are the benefits of having an indoor cat?

  • Safety. No roads, predators or other risks. These can help increase the life expectancy of indoor cats.
  • No parasites or diseases. Outdoor and stray cats are much more likely to pick up potentially life-threatening diseases or bring fleas and worms back into the house.
  • Wildlife. An indoor cat means you also have a garden full of animals and no ‘gifts’ to clear up.

Making an outdoor cat an indoor cat

Making the decision to move your cat indoors can be a hard one. Is it kind? Will they get enough exercise? Will they learn to use a litter tray? Will they be entertained enough? The answer to all these questions is ‘yes’. But you’ll need to do certain things to make it easier for them.

Start slowly

It won’t happen overnight. Nor should it. Making an outdoor cat indoor too quickly could shock them and cause them to change their behaviour. The process should actually start well before you want them to be 100% inside. 

Whilst they’re still outdoor cats, introduce a scratching post and a litter tray inside. Try to encourage them to use both whilst you still let them outside. This will make going to the bathroom easier later, as well as saving you expenses on scratched furniture.

Feed your cats indoors and encourage them to stay indoors for a while after eating. Play with them so they don’t want to go outside directly. This will get them in the habit of being indoors after food. 

How to make outdoor cat indoor

Begin in winter

Cats aren’t huge fans of cold or wet weather, so they’ll naturally be spending more time indoors during the colder months. That, plus warm fires, a comfy bed and more cuddles with you will all be incentives to stay inside.

Provide plenty of entertainment

Cats love going outside because there’s an abundance of things for them to do. They can climb, hunt, play and interact with other animals. When they make the move inside they still need to satisfy these natural instincts. This can be done with toys for them to chase, scratching posts, climbing frames and attention from you. Cat tunnels are a really great way for them to play, ‘hunt’ and hide.

But it isn’t just their body that needs to stay active, their brains do too. You can do this with interactive games, or food puzzles that give them a treat. It’s also really important to talk to your cat and reinforce your bond. 


Just because they’re now indoor cats doesn’t mean they don’t need anything from outside. Just like for us humans, sunshine and fresh air are very important and a real mood booster. Make sure they have access to a sunny window sill with a view of the birds, or even better a catio. Window catios, as well as garden runs, are a great way of keeping them safe but letting them enjoy the great outdoors.

How to make an outside cat an inside cat
How to make a stray cat an indoor cat

Watch their weight

This shouldn’t be a problem if they’re moving enough and you’re not overfeeding them. But indoor cats tend to exercise a little less than outdoor ones, so it’s important to keep an eye on it – after all, they’re inside to keep them healthy and safe.

Make a plan for the door

Anyone who has a cat knows that they’re escape artists and incredibly quick. You turn your back for one second and their head is already in the bin cupboard. That’s why it’s important to make sure everyone is aware of the front (and back) door. Don’t leave it ajar, and when training, try to deter them from going towards it. You can use treats to lure them away, keep them in a different room, or even lightly spray them with water when they go in that direction.

Keep them in at night

Start by keeping your cats in at night – so that they get used to being indoors for periods of time.  You can then gradually extend the time they are in the house and reduce the time they are outside.  Although cats can be nocturnal, my cats have happily adapted to sleeping at night time and being more awake during the day.

How to make my cat an indoor cat
How to make my indoor cat an indoor cat

Keep with it!

Exactly how to make an outside cat an inside one can differ depending on your pet and their circumstances. Some will find the transition easy and it will be a little more difficult with others. But keep going! You’re doing it to keep them safe and as long as they have enough things to keep them entertained and stimulated, they’ll be happy!

Did you make the transition at one point? How did you make your outdoor cat an indoor one?

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