Will my outdoor cat ever be happy indoors?
Even though cats have natural instincts to hunt and prey in the wild, they can be perfectly happy indoors. Keeping cats indoors is often a safer option, since they will not face risks such as encounters with wild animals, cars and other threats that can cause cat emergencies. Plus, limiting your feline's interactions with wildlife means she has a smaller chance of getting rabies in cats.
The Humane Society of the United States reports kittens who are kept indoors for their entire lives often have no desire to go outside when they grow up. However, cats who have spent the majority of their time outside may be more difficult to satisfy with indoor play. Here are some tips to keep your feline friend happy and safe inside.
Take it one step at a time
Because cats are creatures of habit, it's a good idea to slowly adjust the indoor-outdoor routine. According to the American Bird Conservancy, which sponsors Cats Indoors! The Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats, start by bringing the feline inside for longer and longer periods of time. The time she spends outside should become increasingly shorter until she no longer goes out at all. You could also attach her to a cat leash for supervised trips outside.
Shower her with attention
All cats love human attention, and the fact is, when your feline is outside, she is not likely to get much affection from you. The transition indoors may be a lot easier for your cat to grasp if she is showered with love, attention, play and maybe some food when she's indoors. You may want to invest in some cat condos, which provide your feline with plenty of interesting places to explore and nap, as well as scratching posts. The best way to bond with your feline and get her to love staying indoors is to offer lots of interactive toys. A long pole with feathers or fabric on the end engages most cats and is a great form of exercise and bonding. Because outdoor cats tend to be more active than indoor felines, play time is also a crucial step to prevent obesity in cats.
Bring the outdoors in
One aspect of the outdoors cats love, aside from hunting, is grazing on fresh greens. There are kits that owners can use to grow their own cat-friendly grasses and plants, but you can also buy alfalfa, grass, bird seed or catnip in a container. These plants will allow your cat to graze safely, instead of nibbling on your house plants, which may be toxic to her.
Allow for easy observing
Another aspect of the outdoors cats love is being able to watch people, animals and other goings-on of the world. You can install a perch next to a window for your cat to watch all the action outside - she will also love basking in the sun here. You can place a bed on a bench or other piece of furniture in front of a window - in some homes, cats can perch on sofas and chairs in direct sunlight near a window. This will allow enough visual stimulation to keep your cat engaged.