Need Cat Transition Advice

So… this one is going out to my cat-loving hoodies and to cat groups because I need some advice.

I am about to move to another state to pursue a PhD. I currently live in cat paradise – lots of trees, lots of wildlife, very few people and cars – and my cats have a cat-door so they can come and go as the please. They are living the very best cat life possible, in my opinion.

My new place has a HUGE backyard and a few trees but unfortunately is on a very busy road which will mean my cats will now need to be indoor-only and I am seeking advice from folks on how to help them transition from being indoor-outdoor as they please to indoor-only.

I expect it's going to be pretty rough on them. Going from having so much freedom and being able to be outside any time they want to having to be inside all the time. The whole world as their bathroom & scratching post to litter boxes and fake trees. Any things I can do on this end before the move to make things easier, like making them indoor-only now? Anything I could do on the other end to make the indoor-only life more satisfying?

Any thoughts, experiences, suggestions, words of wisdom are welcome!

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18 thoughts on “Need Cat Transition Advice

  1. Sorry, my first comment got cut off! Here is the whole thing:
    Well, I live in an apartment building so my cats only have access to the balcony, but with such a beautiful yard it might be possible to "transition" your cats to harnesses and perhaps take them out once or twice a day. That way they can enjoy time outside, you can spend some time with them and no one gets run over. šŸ˜‰ Of course, they have to be willing to use the harness …

  2. In your new place I'm assuming you're renting? Would the landlords mind if you purchased a chain link dog kennel (one of those ones that has a "roof") that you could adapt to an outdoor cat haven? You could locate it in a nice spot next to a window (or extra door) where you could put in a cat door or prop open the window and make a secure access directly from the door/window to the kennel.
    You could make the kennel more fun for them, putting a big tree branch for them to climb on, or attach pieces of plywood (about shelf sized) in various places for them to climb on and lay on etc…, put some kitty friendly plants for them in it…
    My father in law did this for his cats, called it his cat habitat. The cats had a kitty door into it directly from the house and they loved it and were safe.
    something like this: http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2753720&keepsr=0
    or you could make it yourself getting fencing pieces from a local supplier or home improvement place.

  3. Those ^ ^ suggestions are great. Here's another for a grassy tunnel walk. On sale too!As for keeping them in the house, the ASPCA has advice here for transitioning outdoor kitties inside and safe outdoor care here.Good luck, Stevie! they're lucky kitties to have you.

  4. Yes, I want to move to your cat paradise as well! One of my neighbors has outdoor-indoor cats. She has learned a few things for the next time she moves: If you want to let them out in the backyard (and let them be outdoor-indoor again), only let them out when you are at first until they know the boundaries well. They're less likely to try and find their way back to their old house. Also, you won't have to worry about them leaving the area if you enforce the boundaries

  5. Hey Stevie, Metz has the right idea, that would work great, if your landlord will agree to let you put up one of the chainlink kennels. The kitties would enjoy that, and you could make it a kittie paradise. Good luck.

  6. Good luck with that, I know it won't be easy at first, but hopefully they'll adapt. But then again, if they've been able to run free all this time, and have outsmarted any predators, maybe they'll be fine outside.

  7. You know, I've heard about cats on harnesses, even know a couple people who do it. I have one who won't even wear a collar, so he might be hard to convince it'll be fun, but my other cat would go for it.

  8. OMG… These are the coolest things ever! My local SPCA has this same set up. I am very excited about this possibility. Thank you thank you thank you!

  9. This one is really cool too. I'm guessing that they don't put the prices on the site because they are pretty $$$. But how cool would it be to create a long tunnel-y type walkway all along the yard? I actually think my cats might like these type things better than having the whole outdoors to wander through. If given the choice, they usually sleep in safe places like a drain tunnel or the upstairs deck. Except for chasing critters to their heart's content, they wouldn't be missing out on much.

  10. Agh! I think I missed them. Two are sold out. The only thing left is a curve but there's no picture. I like the SPCA advice to distract them away from the door. That's what I'm most afraid of because of the busy road. Eep! Glad I will be living by myself though. At least I will be extra careful when going out. A roommate might not be.

  11. Kind of sounds like training them like dogs? How did she teach the boundaries? Mine stay pretty much in my yard but I have seen them as far as two yards away.

  12. It's the predators on four wheels that I'm afraid of. The road in front of the house is really busy. It's one of the main streets to the university. If I could feel confident they would stay in the yard, like the dogs who wear the shock collars, I would let them stay in the back yard. It's huge with lots of good cat nap spots.

  13. I get that Improvements catalog all the time. If they're sold out now, they'll get more in. Do you have screen doors as well as regular doors? I got a screen door after my kitty slipped out several years ago–on the coldest night of the year. If I'd had a screen door it wouldn't have happened. I found her the next morning cowering and freezing under the neighbors car. She was ok. Live and learn!

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