By Ashley Watson
Do you have an outdoor cat that you need to keep inside because of a new dog in the neighborhood, or have you adopted an outdoor cat that you can’t keep outside? Transitioning an outdoor cat to an indoor one can be tricky. However, with the right tools and a few tips, you can make this transition a little easier for you and your cat. The most important thing to keep in mind is that this will be a slow process for many cats, so try to be patient. One way to start is to speak with your vet and ask for recommendations. Meanwhile, here are some ways you can make the transition without your cat destroying your furniture, or driving you crazy in the process.
One of the ways to prevent your cat from scratching the furniture or urinating outside the litter box is to keep your cat stimulated. You don’t have to spend a ton of money on toys, but make sure you get something your cat will play with. A ball of aluminum foil, an empty toilet paper roll, string, even a box will work. This will keep them active and stimulated. Cats also love to perch, so make sure they have a place where they can watch the world. A sunny window is ideal. If you have a screened in porch or a garage, let them roam around and explore.
Be sure to have plenty of scratching post options. Try to figure out what material your cat likes scratching the most, such as rope, or carpet, or fabric. Many cats like scratching on wood, but most cats prefer something they can shed. The shape and direction of the scratching surface matters as well. Some cats love scratching vertical posts so that they can stretch at the same time. But having both a vertical and flat surface is ideal. Or you can find mullti-use posts with platforms for scratching and perching. Some of the cardboard pats come with catnip to encourage using the the scratching pad rather than the furniture.
Litter Box Transition
While there are many different types of litter boxes and litter, the most important tip is to keep it clean, especially if you are training an outdoor cat only. Many cats won’t use the litter box if it isn’t cleaned daily. When you change the litter, make sure you clean the box with soap and water. Cats typically prefer an open litter box. The covered boxes may keep odors away from you, but it traps the odors inside, which can also deter the cat from using the litter box. Cats also tend to prefer larger boxes to have room to move around.
If your cat continues to have behavior problems, a little extra support may be needed. Calming is an advanced formula to calm your cat in times of stress. It contains a combination of ingredients, such as L-Theanine (Suntheanine® brand), and Thiamine (Vitamin B1), all of which support neurotransmitter balance and relaxation to address stress-related behavior. L-Theanine is known to support dopamine and GABA balance, while Thiamine supports normal disposition and a healthy appetite. Calming for Cats is available in a delicious chew that cats love, and it is recommended for daily use or as needed.