Home > Family and Home > Turn an Outdoor Cat into an Indoor Cat

Turn an Outdoor Cat into an Indoor Cat

Photo: Pexels

Scratching Post

A stray cat or one who was exclusively outdoors will have claws that have never been trimmed. This is a cat who is used to being able to scratch on whatever she pleases so make sure there’s a good, sturdy scratching post available. Sisal-covered ones are usually the most popular with cats but if your cat doesn’t like it, try bringing in an actual log.

Cat Tree or Perch

Being able to climb up to a safe elevated perch was a crucial part of outdoor life for the cat. It provided safety and it also allowed the cat the ability to see what was going on around her. Provide a sturdy cat tree or at the very least, install a window perch. If you don’t invest in a cat tree now, you really will need to at some point. Cat trees may seem like a big expense but it’s a very important piece of feline real estate. It provides so much comfort and security as well as being a great place to climb. Multi-perched trees also allow more than one cat to share a relatively close space while still maintaining some kind of status.

Quote from Beth Stern


Cat trees come in all shapes, sizes and prices. What I did when I brought two feral cats in many years ago was to attach some silk tree branches around the cat tree to give the cats more cover. They felt a little more concealed when up on the tree and I believe that accelerated our trust-building process.

Place the cat tree near a window so the cat has something to look out on.


Don’t be in a rush to show the cat how much you love her. Let her set the pace. She needs to feel secure and then the bond of trust will start to grow. Use interactive playtime as a way to engage her in fun activities while still allowing her to stay within her comfort zone. The fishing pole-type design of the toy keeps you just far enough away from her that she can focus a little more on playing and less on you. That’s actually what you want because if she feels she can relax around you and not have to keep her eyes on you at all times, it will help her see that you are a friend and not a foe.

Solo Toys and Activities for the Cat

Leave some interesting solo toys like crinkly balls and furry mice for the cat to place with. The more you show her that the indoor world has all the stimulation and fun that she needs, the easier it’ll be to do the indoor transition.

Cat Proofing

Now that your cat is indoors there are some dangers around you may not have paid attention to previously. Go around your home and check for potential risks and make necessary changes. Make sure all window screens are secure, put plants out of her reach (almost all plants are poisonous to cats), keep cleaners and chemicals stored away, put the trash can under the sink or make sure it has a secure lid, etc.


  1. Jeani Le Breton

    I have started keeping my fixed male Siamese indoors after he was trapped by the local pre school. He is driving us insane with his constant whining, screaming, etc. we have tried spraying him with water, it’s just not working, is there any way to discourage this wailing?

  2. Christian Meland

    I have done most of the things written in the article above.They now come and go as they like through a cat door.
    And now they sure know where their home is and where the food is. With two of them I slept on the floor in the cat room.
    So they wouldn’t feel lonley. That helped. Now they are like normal housecats with freedom. But it takes patience. You cannot force anything with cats. Everything has to be at their pace.

Leave a Reply