How do I transition an outdoor cat into a cat that lives indoors? - BC SPCA
Search by
postal code:
Search our site:

Animal Helpline:


For all other calls and inquiries
see our contact details.

Find a BC SPCA location in your area:

How do I transition an outdoor cat into a cat that lives indoors?

Transitioning an outdoor cat to an indoor cat can be stressful. For the well-being of everyone involved it is best when done gradually. Start by allowing them free access to the indoors at any point in the day. Make the home as enjoyable as possible with toys, scratching posts, plants and more (check out our “DIY Cat Enrichment” (PDF) for some ideas). The goal is to make the the inside of your home as fun as possible to decrease any stress your cat will be feeling.

Cat using scratching post and playing with a mouse toy

Additionally, you can encourage your cat’s hunting instincts inside the home by feeding them with food puzzles and playing with toys designed to mimic the movements of birds and mice. Outdoors, cats have the opportunity to climb and perch. In order to provide a similar environment inside, add scratching posts, cat trees and perches near doors or windows where they can see outside.

It’s important that a cat has the opportunity to express their innate behaviours when they are kept indoors. A catio is the perfect way to help transition an outdoor cat into the home as it provides the stimulation of an outdoor environment while protected. We have step-by-step guides to help you build a catio.

If your cat is still showing signs of wanting to go outdoors, leash-train your cat and enjoy walks together.

Cat outdoors wearing a collar and id while being walked on a leash