Tips for Bringing an Outdoor Cat Indoors for Winter

Tips for Bringing an Outdoor Cat Indoors for Winter

Keeping your cat indoors, especially in winter, provides shelter from the cold, rain, wind, snow, and lack of cover, as well as disease, accidents, or conflicts with other animals. Here are some suggestions to help with transitioning your cat indoors, and to keep both you and your kitty safe and happy.

Winter Is the Perfect Time to Transition

Winter is an ideal time for transitioning your outdoor cat indoors. Our feline friends are not particularly fond of cold and dreary weather. A warm and cozy indoor bed can be inviting, especially for older cats. With some time and patience on your part, your fluff ball will begin to enjoy the comfort of your home.
 

Make a Gradual Transition

Transition your feline friend to indoor life gradually, until it becomes the new normal. Most cats will adjust with a little effort on your part, while others may find it more challenging, and they will be sure to let you know. They may yowl, scratch at the door, or claw at the windows. Being prepared will help ease the transition.
 

Prepare Your Cat for Indoor Life

Make sure your cat is comfortable using a scratching post or a litter box ahead of time. Begin feeding your four-legged family member indoors, and slowly increase the time spent inside. Make sure you have a warm, cozy bed to snuggle.
 

Make Inside Life Entertaining

Just like kids, cats can get bored sitting around the house. They enjoy play that is based on their hunting instinct, so make sure your furr-ever friend has access to a variety of hiding places, exciting things to explore, and toys to stalk, chase, and pounce on. You don’t need to spend a fortune on toys. A ball of wool, a cardboard box, or a paper bag will provide hours of play. Cats love to observe the world from above, so providing a cat tree or tower will also help.
 

Spend Quality Time with Your Cat

Make sure to set some time aside for quality interactions with your kitty. Talk to your snuggle bug, roll tasty treats, and don’t forget to enjoy a good petting. Include some interactive play sessions each day to keep your cat’s body and mind agile.
 

Keep Your Kitty Safe

If your cat tries to make a break for the door, rattle a jar of coins to quell the undesired behavior. Never yell or hit your kitty. Trying to escape comes naturally to pets used to the outdoors. A good way to redirect your furry friend’s behavior is to throw a delicious treat away from the door.
 

Access to the Outdoors

A catio, an outdoor enclosure for your cat, will give your cat access to outdoors in a safe environment. Catios range from window boxes to larger room-like structures. One resource we recommend is Catio Spaces, . You can either hire an expert to come build a catio for you, or you can purchase and download the specs for a DIY project. Alternately, you can set up a pop-up tent with window screens in your yard, or place a cat tunnel (also called a cat run) outside. Lastly, you can halter train your cat and let them lead you around your yard. Even a few minutes spent outdoors each day can be very enriching for a cat, and can be a bonding experience for both of you. Just be prepared to treat for fleas if your cat has any outdoor access.
 

Visit All About Cats Veterinary Hospital in the Kirkland Area

Outdoor cats are exposed to many diseases. Before you bring your cat inside, you need to rule out any health problems, especially if you have other indoor cats. When you visit our office, we will make sure your furry friend is free of parasites and will test for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia. Our goal is to ensure your cat is healthy and free of disease. You can always count on us for quality, purr-fectly compassionate care!

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RICHARD LESTER, DVM

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