How to Train an Outdoor Cat to Be an Indoor Cat


Cats can be stubborn creatures but, in most instances, it is not very hard to train an outdoor cat to live indoors. Felines love to be pampered and, no matter how adventurous a cat may be, it should be fairly easy to teach him that a spoiled and comfortable life awaits him in your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Cat toys
  • Scratching posts
  • Cat garden grass
  • Cat nail clippers
  • Start training the cat during winter months. If you live in a region that experiences a change of seasons, you will find that it is easier to begin the transition with your cat when it's cold, snowing or raining outside. Cats enjoy warm sunny weather, so spring or summer months may be a more difficult time to persuade her to stay inside.

  • Try an outdoor enclosure first. If your home has a garage or screen enclosure, a subtle way to introduce the cat to being confined is to lead him into these areas and show him a pleasant time. Offer him treats or toys and plenty of affection. Taking this gradual approach may help to ease him into feeling comfortable with entering the home. Once your kitty has adjusted to living indoors, consider allowing him to spend time outdoors in these enclosures.

  • Purchase or make plenty of kitty toys, scratching posts and cat tree houses for your home. Cats need exercise, so jumping and climbing from level to level, or batting and chasing toys around will keep them entertained and healthy. Providing your outdoor cat with adequate indoor entertainment will help to make her want to be indoors.

  • Keep some pet grass and a clear sitting space near a window for kitty. Cats have a natural instinct to eat grass and love to sleep in the warm sun. Many pet stores offer pet-safe edible grass seeds and plants that grow in a sunny window. A warm, sunny window space with a steady supply of grass is sure to appeal to any cat's instinct to relax and nap.

  • Keep your cats claws trimmed. Felines have a natural instinct to scratch and claw at things, especially outdoor cats that may not be familiar with scratching posts. To ensure that your furnishings and belongings are not damaged by your kitty, be sure to keep her claws neatly trimmed.

Tips & Warnings

  • The key to turning an outdoor cat into an inside cat is making the animal feel safe, loved and taken care of in your home, and encouraging him to want to stay home. Allowing him a few reminders of the outdoors within the home should keep your cat satisfied once he is settled.
  • Never trim a cat's claws or declaw him if you intend to let him roam free outdoors. Outdoor cats need their claws to defend themselves from threatening animals or to quickly climb trees to escape harm.

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  • Photo Credit Cat looking in through house window image by Scott Latham from cat high contrast image by Allyson Ricketts from Cat by a shed image by Develio13 from cat playing with mouse toy image by Marzanna Syncerz from orange cat in the grass image by Katrina Miller from cat paws image by Albert Lozano from
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