Can outdoor cats become indoor cats?

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


Messenger of the- Gods
Purred: Tue Oct 12, '10 10:13pm PST 
I need to find new homes for our three cats. They live outdoors, farm kind of situation, but are loved pets that are fed, vetted, spayed & neutered, and get Revolution once a month. They are outdoors because my mother has asthma. Two are the babies of a cat that came with the property. As soon as she had her kittens we had everyone fixed. We had mama in the cellar for birthing her kittens (her first litter was killed) and I put a litter box down there and she wouldn't use it. I tried so many different configurations. She used the dirt floor instead. So her babies never learned to use a litter box.The male has a personality suited to indoors, but the female hates being indoors.
The third is a Tom that showed up & never left. In pretty bad shape. Now he's so friendly & sweet. He acts like he's been indoors before, but I don't know if he's used a litter box before.
I love these cats. I don't want them to be dumped on some farm. I doubt the male, Hermes, could take care of himself and I'd hate to see that Tom cat, Orpheus, go back to what I rescued him from.
My mom is separating from my stepdad and he won't care for the cats. My mom can't take them to Texas with her (she'll be living with family) and I live in a one bedroom apartment with my min pin.
I'm just wondering if I will have to consider outdoor homes exclusively. Also, what keeps a cat from just leaving its new home?
What is the best way to find a cat a new home? I am putting them on Petfinder, on here. I help with Daviess County Humane Society, so there is a source, possible foster if need be. I've made a flyer but I want to try other avenues. The closest shelter, which I volunteer at, is new and doesn't have a very high adoption rate right now, so that would be my very last option, but the female, Artemis, hates walls and putting her in a cage would be awful for her.


Rescue cats- rule!
Purred: Wed Oct 13, '10 1:35pm PST 
To just simply state my opinion on your question in the title of the post...yes, I think outdoor cats can become indoor cats. You hear of ferals being taken in or adopting people, and going with them when they move to another place, like an apartment, and they adapt to indoor living. As far as transition specifics, I do not know, hopefully other Catsters will offer advice, but in short, yes, I have heard many success stories of outdoor, or barn cats becoming chilled out indoor-only guys out of last-resort necessity, I think cats are pretty flexible and adaptive, despite culture-at-large's belief that cats are stubborn and rigid (and weird). So, no scientific facts to back up my belief, just my personal belief in felines as an adaptable species, shoot, they've come this far right?!
Best of luck, I hope things work out for the best, take care & keep us updated here!


Knead softly &- carry a big purr
Purred: Fri Oct 15, '10 1:55pm PST 
I now have 2 boys that were ferals, that love the indoor life. Tigger stil likes to go for walks on his leash, but Smithwick who is about 5 months old, has no interest in going outside anymore. We are purring for youto find them homes. Is it possible to take the friendliest one into your home? Just a thought. Good luck

Member Since
Purred: Sat Oct 16, '10 3:34am PST 
Although it takes patience, an outdoor cat can be turned into a perfectly content indoor pet. The key is to make the conversion gradually and provide lots of attention and stimulation while the cat is indoors.
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