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Greetings,
I currently have an outdoor/indoor cat. She comes inside to sleep and eat, then goes outside to do her business and get exercise. I have done a bit of research and have decided, for her safety and the safety of small native species and other cats, that it is best for her to become an indoor cat. I haven't spoken to her vet about this, but I soon will as I am concerned about how this will affect her health. I wanted to ask everybody's opinion on outdoor vs. indoor cats and which you think is best for her health? She doesn't have any issues and as if now she is in good health. I am only concerned because I don't know how she will react to this change as she has been an outdoor cat for her entire life. Have any of you converted an outdoor cat into an indoor cat? Any and all info is appreciated and helpful.
-Thanks, Fluffypumpkin12
 

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I had two outdoor females that have had kittens, and I've had to give some away to good indoor homes. They haven't had any trouble with the change that I know of. The kittens basically already knew to go in the litterbox. The only thing is that they may scratch the furniture, walls, etc. Since she comes inside to eat and sleep, the change shouldn't be hard on her.
 

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If you live in the northern states where it gets cold and have winter, that''s the best time to make the conversion. Much more difficult if you live in southern states where it's warm most of the time. Majority of cats really don't like winter very much. To satisfy her scratching, have a cat tree that have posts wrapped with sisal roap, and a slanted cardboard cat scratcher. If you rub catnip into the cat tree this will encourage her to scratch on it rather than furniture. It's safer for a cat to be an indoor cat rather than outdoors on its own.....many dangers---stray dogs, foxes, coyotes, trafffic, poisons, even birds of prey.. You can still give your cat outside pleasure, but in a cat stroller, both my cats love to have their "walkies". They don't go out in the winter here.
 
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Make sure you have a good cat condo your cat can climb. Build a catio. Take steps to ensure your home is cat friendly. Cat's like having vertical space where they can get up high and survey their territory. Have one litter box plus one for each cat you have. If you have one cat, have two boxes. Two cats, three boxes. This isn't to make cleaning them easier, this is to reduce the chances your cat will start defecating or urinating outside the box.

Be prepared to play with your cat everyday using an interactive toy. (Hands are not toys.) Self play for a cat is good, but they also need time playing with you. It's a good way to bond with your cat. Good time for play is right before meal time. Have distinct mealtimes. Leaving food out 24/7 can lead to bad behavior. Cats are slaves to their stomachs. If they have food all the time, you give up your best tool for teaching your cat manners. Cats are slaves to their stomachs. Use their favorite treats as rewards. Keep in mind, cats are most likely to bond with whoever feeds them.

Take your cat off the dry food. Dry food is kitty junk food and makes cat feces & urine smellier.

Indoor cats live longer. When we first got Belle, I thought about letting Belle go outside, after a time. I was driving as I contemplated this and just then, rounded a corner and found a cat, the same color and size as Belle, crushed in the street. That ended that idea. Belle is perfectly happy being an indoor cat.
 

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Either choice isn't better in general, but for a certain person or cat, one may be better. If you live near a highway, or close to a lot of traffic, or if there are a lot of feral/stray cats/dogs in the area, or even coyotes, wolfs, foxes, etc., it may be best for her to be a strictly indoor cat. Here's a list of pros and cons:



Inside cat

Pros:


  1. Inside cats are proven to live longer
  2. There is a decreased chance of my cat acquiring parasites, or diseases
  3. The cat will be safe from cars
  4. The cat will also be safe from dogs, other cats, and predators
  5. No unwanted pregnancies if your cat isn't spayed/neutered
  6. They can stay warm or cool, depending on the weather/season

Cons:

  1. If your cat is not spayed/neutered, you may experience blood in your carpet or urine (that stinks, and won't came off) on your walls, carpet, and furnishings
  2. You and other people in the household may experience sinus issues
  3. Whoever cleans out the litterbox may acquire several different illnesses for various reasons, these sicknesses include; Campylobacteriosis, roundworms, Giardiasis,
  4. Toxoplasmosis, and exposer to Ammonia
  5. You cat can ruin your furniture, walls, carpet, and other things in your home with their claws
  6. If you cat would happen to get any kind of parasite, you'd have to spent hours of cleaning, and probably spent over a thousand dollars on new carpet and furniture
  7. Inside cats are more depended on their owners
  8. Inside cats need more attention
  9. Inside cats are at risk to become overweight. One major health problem in cats is obesity


Outside cat


Pros:



  1. Your cat has freedom to run around
  2. Outside cats have better teeth, because they catch and eat rodents
  3. They depend less on their owners
  4. Outside cats are unlikely to became overweight
  5. They have a better immune system
  6. They require less attention
  7. You don't have to clean a litterbox
  8. You spend less money on toys


Cons:


  1. Outside cats are in danger of cars, other cats, dogs and other predators
  2. The chance of outside cats acquiring parasites and diseases is higher than inside cats
  3. If your female cat isn't spayed, that can result in litters of unwanted kittens
  4. It's more likely for your cat to get lost
  5. They don't live as long as inside cats
 

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Wow, I don't even know where to start.
  1. If your cat is not spayed/neutered, you may experience blood in your carpet or urine (that stinks, and won't came off) on your walls, carpet, and furnishings
  2. You and other people in the household may experience sinus issues Never heard of this, unless they're allergic.
  3. Whoever cleans out the litterbox may acquire several different illnesses for various reasons, these sicknesses include; Campylobacteriosis, roundworms, Giardiasis, This happening is so rare
  4. Toxoplasmosis, and exposer to Ammonia Pregnant women should take precautions. Not sure what exposure to ammonia is about
  5. You cat can ruin your furniture, walls, carpet, and other things in your home with their claws Most cats are not destructive. Cats can be trained not to scratch furniture. Walls???
  6. If you cat would happen to get any kind of parasite, you'd have to spent hours of cleaning, and probably spent over a thousand dollars on new carpet and furniture Okay, you listed not getting parasites as a "pro" for keeping cats inside. Can't have it both ways. One of my girls had a parasite which took a little medication to fix. New carpet and furniture??
  7. Inside cats are more depended on their owners People want to be loved by their cat
  8. Inside cats need more attention Again, cats are PETS, we want them to sit on our laps and be affectionate
  9. Inside cats are at risk to become overweight. One major health problem in cats is obesity This doesn't even make sense. Cats become overweight because they're either free feeding or their owners feed them too much.

I think the fact that your dad will not allow cats in your house has a lot to do with your posts. But most of them are so rare and not likely to ever happen. Cleo was an indoor/outdoor cat before I adopted her (being outside is how she got the parasite) and she adjusted to being inside only almost immediately. Lots of windows to look out of, toys, etc.
 

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@marie73, thank you for pointing these things out. Since I've never had an cat inside, I got some things wrong.

2. I had to give a kitten away to a good indoor home, and the owner's step-mother was experiencing sinus issues, and as soon as they got the a cat out of the house, she was not longer having these problems.
3. Yes, it is pretty rare.
4. This one was actually part of number 3, whoops.
5. I've heard about a lot of cats that scratch the furniture. My grandmother's couch is just about ruined. About the walls, cats can sharpen their claws on the walls, but that's probably not likely.
6. Yeah, you're right. But if you're cat did have fleas, they could get in the carpet, cat bed, couch, etc.
7. Dependence isn't love, it's relying on someone for something.
8. Yeah, you're right.
9. Even if a cat isn't feed too much, they can still become overweight, because of lack of activity.

I don't want to argue. I admit I got a few wrong. Thanks again!
 

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omg, fleas are so hard to get rid of. When I moved, my furniture was put in a huge van along with other families' belongings. My mattress, along with other items, was delivered so flea-infested that it took 3-4 months to get rid of them. What a nightmare that was. I admit I'm very lucky with my girls, they've never scratched my furniture.
 

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Thanks, everybody. This is all super helpful. But I still need more info on how to convert an outdoor cat to an indoor cat.
 

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Before keeping her inside, I would have places for her to see outside, whether it's a cat tree or other furniture next to a window. I had a hummingbird feeder outside one of my windows which my girls could watch for hours. I guess basically you'll have to keep her in and see how she reacts. It shouldn't affect her health at all. Maybe buy some interactive toys.
 

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omg, fleas are so hard to get rid of. When I moved, my furniture was put in a huge van along with other families' belongings. My mattress, along with other items, was delivered so flea-infested that it took 3-4 months to get rid of them. What a nightmare that was. I admit I'm very lucky with my girls, they've never scratched my furniture.
Just thinking about that makes me shudder. I'm sorry you had to deal with that. I can't imagine the stress. Some cats will scratch, and some just won't.

I have no problem with indoor cats, I'll probably have one or two of my own.
 

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Thanks, everybody. This is all super helpful. But I still need more info on how to convert an outdoor cat to an indoor cat.
Before you bring her inside, make sure she has no parasites. You may have to get her checked out by the vet. Since cats are semi-nocturnal, when she's inside at night, she's probably already done some exploring. Make sure that she knows where the litterbox is. She'll most likely use it. You may want to get her a scratching post, so she can sharpen her claws on it, and not the couch. She'll need toys like the ones she has outside. Good luck!
 

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My now indoor only cat was once an outdoor neighborhood feral cat for the first 2 years of her life. When I first took her in, she did sit by the door and cry for a while, but after a few weeks she was over it. We have a screened porch that my cats use, but they have no desire to go outside. I agree, its very dangerous for our kitties to be outside, too many predators. Good luck!
 

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Make your home an interesting place to be in. Cat trees are fun for them and they like being higher up. There are shelves that you can attach to a window for them to look out. Toys.
 

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If she is not spayed make sure that is done first. Many times the6 like to wander because they are in heat. Plus this world does not need more kittens no matter how cute they are. I would start it when you have time to be there with her and give her company. Do you have any other indoor pets for her to be friends with? All our cats are indoors. One goes outside on a harness and leash only and stays with us. That might be an alternative. You also could look at giving her an outdoor cat house she can come and go from at will. Years ago we got a kitten who I attempted to keep indoors but that cat would get out even the smallest crack in a door. We finally had to just let him come and go as he wanted to make him happy. He also ended up in later years hit by a car. So I think everyone’s suggestions of when you first bring him in lots of play, attention, window stimulation with a bird feeder close etc. Also put multiple liter boxes around she can use. Hope it goes well for you.
 

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My Boy was an outside cat and he took to a litter box like he had been inside for years, LOL. He is now wary of the outdoors. He was easy and still is curious about what is going on out there but, not being a feline psychologist I don't know if he was affected in a negative way. How long does he stay out and does he let you know when he wants back in?
 
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