If little Mitzy has been spending too much time patrolling your backyard and you have no idea how to move her inside, you're not alone.
Teaching a cat to stay indoors is one of toughest struggles pet owners face. It takes persistence, creativity and patience but it can be done, and we'll teach you how.
The first peace of advice we need to give you is don't lose hope. Like we said, this is a very hard thing to do, but if you start to give up just remember you're adding years to your cat's life, whether they like it or not!
To start things off, you'll want to introduce indoor landmarks to your outdoor cat as soon as possible. If they live outside 24/7 they'll fall in love with a cat scratcher, and you'll want to leave their litter box somewhere they can get familiar with it. This will save you a lot of hassle later on.
You can easily move your cat inside by moving the food bowl into the house, but once they've visited a few times, it's time to go cold turkey. Your pet will adjust much faster if you don't let them go in and out of the house.
During this early phase remember to take it slow, you cat will be adjusting to lots of scary things - like sharing their living space - so try to make your home as inviting as possible.
It can't hurt to give your cat lots of food, a warm place to relax and even a place where they can be alone. If they don't feel comfortable in their new environment, why would they stay?
The most important thing is to have lots of toys. The outside world is full of distractions but your home isn't. Your cat will want to hunt, climb and play, so give them every chance to.
To make them really feel at home, bring the outside in. Adding some cat grass or running water to your home means your pet will have no reason to leave. But the best thing your home has to offer is YOU, so spend time with your cat and make them feel welcome.
If you've done everything we mentioned so far your cat should be warming up to you. Get them checked by a vet in case they've contracted any parasites and it should be smooth sailing from here.
Just remember: going outside is a bad behavior now, and you need to remind them of that as much as possible.
If you feel alright spraying your cat with a water bottle it's a good deterrent for when they try to run outside. You can also throw a treat into another room when you open the door.
This should go without saying, but it bears repeating because this is a frustrating process: never ever hit your cat. Along with being terrible it's unproductive.
The more welcoming and friendly your home is, the happier your cat will be to stay inside.
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