Encourage Your Cat to Stay Indoors With These 5 Tips
Though cats are domesticated animals, even the most pampered pets will sometimes want to be able to go outside and roam freely. Many cats enjoy strolling in the yard and hunting for birds or mice because of their predatory instincts. However, letting your beloved kitty outside without supervision isn’t safe. Because most cats are smaller than dogs, they are more at risk of getting injured by a speeding car or another animal. Your cat can also catch diseases like rabies from other wildlife, which could make them a danger to you and others—unless your feline friend has been up-to-date with their rabies shots. They might also bring home fleas and ticks, which can cause your pet to itch or develop an infection.
When you let your cat explore outdoors unsupervised, there’s also a chance of them getting lost or being mistaken for a stray. As such, it’s a good idea to put customizable cat collars on your feline pets in case they do get outside. But apart from taking precautionary measures, it’s best to give your cat plenty of incentive to stay indoors for their health and safety. Here are some ways you can encourage your cat to appreciate staying indoors.
Extend Play Sessions With Your Kitty
If your cat has a lot of energy and strong hunting instincts, they may want to go outdoors to find ways to expend their energy. If you want them to stay indoors, however, play with them more at home. This can simply mean adding five or 10 more minutes to each play session so your cat gets the stimulation they need and have a chance to engage in some physical activity. Also, you don’t have to play with your cat for hours. They’re quite content with short play sessions as long as you make it more frequent.
To help make the sessions more fun for your cat, introduce toys they’ll love like catnip wand toys. These interactive toys feature a wand you hold and a dangling toy at the other end that you can use to tease your pet. This kind of cat toy stimulates your pet’s natural hunting instinct while allowing them to safely burn off excess energy.
Feed Your Cat Before You Leave
Switching your pet’s feeding schedule can encourage them to stay indoors. If you go to work following a regular schedule, you can practice giving your cat their food before stepping out of the house. Once your cat becomes accustomed to this routine, they’ll be less likely to rush out the door with you. Even if they get tempted to explore beyond the door, the availability of food at home and your pet’s rumbling tummy should dissuade them from going outside. To ensure this technique is effective, make sure your cat can’t access their food on their own so they have to wait for you to be fed.
Have Your Cat Look Forward to Your Arrival
If you’re concerned about your cat dashing out when you open the door, make your pet look forward to your arrival by keeping one of their favorite toys near the entryway. It helps distract your pet with the promise of playtime so they’re discouraged to go outside. For example, you can get catnip toys and let their appealing odor draw your cat’s attention. You can hold onto the toy as you enter the threshold and only give it to your pet after you’ve entered and closed the front door.
Get an Indoor Cat Tree
Another way to make your home more appealing than the outdoors is by getting an indoor cat tree. Sometimes referred to as a cat condo or cat treehouse, this structure is composed of varying levels of wooden planks, short poles, and boxes where your cat can sleep and play. Some parts of the structure may be made of abrasive materials to encourage scratching.
Whether you get the short kind or one that stretches from the floor to the ceiling, a cat tree allows your cat to climb and expel their energy safely. If you have a multi-cat household, having a cat tree is an effective way to create more rest spots while maximizing your home’s vertical space. It also encourages play among your feline friends. If possible, place the cat furniture near the window so your cat can enjoy a view of the outdoors.
Make the Entryway Less Appealing to Cats
In case you don’t want your cat lingering near the entryway, make the area unpleasant for them to stay in. You can put double-sided tape to make the surface uncomfortable for your pet to walk on. If you don’t want adhesives to leave a residue on your floor, stick the tapes on placemats and position them in the area you want your cat to stay away from.
Alternatively, you can utilize smell-based deterrents to keep your kitty away from the doorway. Since felines aren’t fond of citrus smells, you can spray orange or lemon scents at the bottom of the door to keep them from staying near it. You can also use a diluted mixture of vinegar to deter your pet from frequenting the area as many cats dislike the scent of vinegar.
It can be tempting to let your pet kitty freely roam the outdoors, especially if they cry a lot or constantly attempt to escape home. However, allowing them out without supervision has many health and safety risks that a responsible pet owner would not want to take. Instead, try these measures to encourage your cat to stay indoors and ensure that they stay happy, healthy, and safe.