Can indoor cats become outdoor cats? We know that outdoor cats can eventually become indoor, but what happens in the opposite situation? Indoor cats are used to warm temperatures, and people feeding them can be a shock to shift the environment quickly.

An indoor cat can become an outdoor cat with time. However, if a cat is used to being indoors and has grown up with the comfort that a home can offer, it is challenging for him to adjust to surviving outside. Therefore, it has to be a gradual adjustment to teach an indoor cat how to live outside.

Let’s see how to help a cat move outdoors when not used to living outside.

Can indoor cats become outdoor cats

LETTING AN INDOOR CAT OUTSIDE FOR THE FIRST TIME

If you are letting an indoor cat outside for the first time, you should be there and supervise the experience. If you have an outside environment that is closed or doesn’t allow your cat to escape quickly, you can have your cat explore by himself, always under supervision.

Otherwise, it would help if you tried to walk him out with a leash. Unfortunately, cats do not like to wear anything, so putting a leash on them can be impossible. I used to bring my cat to the shared garden in front of my house without a leash a few times a week without any leash.

You have to be close to him while he explores the surroundings so you can prevent him from running away. The critical point is to let your cat out gradually, so he can smell and leave his scent around. In this way, cats can orient themselves and find their way back to the house when they leave alone.

Bring your cat out a few times a week until he gets used to walking outside; try to teach him how to follow you back home, stay away from cars, and do other valuable things. Then, with a bit of patience, you can teach your Indoor cat to move around in the outside world and never get lost.

CAN A HOUSE CAT SURVIVE OUTSIDE IN THE WINTER?

House cats can survive outside in the winter, but they are not familiar with how to do it and where to find places to stay warm. House cats are used to a comfortable life with a regulated temperature. A sudden change can be dangerous.

Although, in general, all cats are equipped with the means to stay warm, indoor cats are not used to the cold winter if they have to get through it living in the streets. In addition, indoor cats are not used to finding warm places, while an outdoor cat has developed the skills and knows which places to go when it becomes too cold.

An indoor cat may not have the time to adjust to the outside and explore the surroundings to find a good warm place before it gets too cold. Whether they are used to living inside or outside, all cats can die if the temperature gets below freezing.

The difference between the two is that the house cat may not know how to get through it and find a warm place to rest, free of dangers. Because of this, cats can go into hypothermia, which is caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperature or cold water ( if it rains and the cat has no shelter).

CAN INDOOR CATS BECOME OUTDOOR CATS EASILY?

Indoor cats cannot become outdoor cats in a short time. They can become used to living outside with time, and they can learn how to come back home, but you can’t let your cat out and expect him to survive after he grew up exclusively indoors.

I have seen cats escaping their house, becoming afraid to move only a few meters later, or getting stuck in a staircase, not daring to go back to their ower’s door or move forward but crying for help. Once my neighbor’s cat was balled up in the first-floor flight crying for 10 hours before I was able to get the owner to go and pick him up.

How would such a cat survive outdoor? Of course, not all cats are like that. But an indoor cat, especially those already scared or shy, can get extremely scared of sounds, strangers, and moving objects. If you want to get them used to the outdoor, you have to work with them a lot.

TIPS TO GET AN INDOOR CAT USED TO THE OUTDOOR LIFE

You can try to get your cat used to the outside world doing baby steps. A gradual and slow approach with daily sessions is the best course of action. Here are some of the things you can do to get your cat used to the outside:

1.OPEN THE HOUSE DOOR

At first, you could start opening the house door and stand there with your cat on the porch. However, some cats may try to run out or go out. If your cat is just exploring, let him smell around if you are there.

You can place a gate for cats on your door or your porch, so they are confined within an area at the beginning. In this way, they can go out and get used to the entrance area. Some cats try to run off, but typically most of them smell the ground, the sides and leave their scent around.

Here are some gates for cats you can use:

Preview
Carlson Extra Tall Walk Through Pet Gate with Small Pet...
Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate with Small Pet...
Pet Safety Gate Extra Tall 120cm Pet Gate For Dogs and Cats,...
Retract-A-Gate 52" Café by Smart Retract: Retractable Baby,...
Title
Carlson Extra Tall Walk Through Pet Gate with Small Pet...
Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate with Small Pet...
Pet Safety Gate Extra Tall 120cm Pet Gate For Dogs and Cats,...
Retract-A-Gate 52" Café by Smart Retract: Retractable Baby,...
Rating
-
Price
$49.99
$48.99
$341.19
$147.00
Preview
Carlson Extra Tall Walk Through Pet Gate with Small Pet...
Title
Carlson Extra Tall Walk Through Pet Gate with Small Pet...
Rating
Price
$49.99
Preview
Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate with Small Pet...
Title
Carlson Extra Wide Walk Through Pet Gate with Small Pet...
Rating
Price
$48.99
Preview
Pet Safety Gate Extra Tall 120cm Pet Gate For Dogs and Cats,...
Title
Pet Safety Gate Extra Tall 120cm Pet Gate For Dogs and Cats,...
Rating
-
Price
$341.19
Preview
Retract-A-Gate 52" Café by Smart Retract: Retractable Baby,...
Title
Retract-A-Gate 52" Café by Smart Retract: Retractable Baby,...
Rating
Price
$147.00

2. USE A LEASH

If your cat is let you place a harness on him, you could teach him to walk outside with you. Unfortunately, I was never able to do it with my cats. But, I have seen other cats owners, friends of mine, who successfully put their cats on a leash.

A leash lets you do long walks and ensures that your cat is not running off. You can bring your cat outside and go a little further every week so he can explore more territory and leave his scent around.

You can see if some other cats or dogs can be dangerous if your cat goes around alone with those walks. In addition, you can spend quality time with your cat and teach him the way home from many directions.

Here are some excellent cat leashes you can use:

Preview
rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash for Walking, Escape Proof...
PUPTECK Cat Harness and Leash Set- Adjustable Vest Escape...
Cat Harness, Collar & Leash Set - Escape Proof Adjustable...
rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash Set, Kitten Harness Escape...
pidan Cat Harness and Leash Set, Cats Escape Proof -...
Title
rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash for Walking, Escape Proof...
PUPTECK Cat Harness and Leash Set- Adjustable Vest Escape...
Cat Harness, Collar & Leash Set - Escape Proof Adjustable...
rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash Set, Kitten Harness Escape...
pidan Cat Harness and Leash Set, Cats Escape Proof -...
Rating
-
-
Price
$15.98
$16.99
$19.99
$10.98
$13.99
Preview
rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash for Walking, Escape Proof...
Title
rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash for Walking, Escape Proof...
Rating
Price
$15.98
Preview
PUPTECK Cat Harness and Leash Set- Adjustable Vest Escape...
Title
PUPTECK Cat Harness and Leash Set- Adjustable Vest Escape...
Rating
Price
$16.99
Preview
Cat Harness, Collar & Leash Set - Escape Proof Adjustable...
Title
Cat Harness, Collar & Leash Set - Escape Proof Adjustable...
Rating
-
Price
$19.99
Preview
rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash Set, Kitten Harness Escape...
Title
rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash Set, Kitten Harness Escape...
Rating
-
Price
$10.98
Preview
pidan Cat Harness and Leash Set, Cats Escape Proof -...
Title
pidan Cat Harness and Leash Set, Cats Escape Proof -...
Rating
Price
$13.99

3. CREATE A CLOSE OUTDOOR SPACE

If you have the possibility and have a yard, you can create a close space where you can let your cat out. In this way, your cat can roam around and become familiar with outdoor life without any danger. With time you can also walk him out with a leash or teach your cat how to go further out and come back.

Be aware that a cat can climb trees and jump the other side of a fence. Therefore, if you have a close space that allows your cat to get to the other side, you still have to supervise him from time to time.

4. SUPERVISE YOUR CAT CLOSELY

If you do not have any of the above, just walk with your cat outside and supervise him while he does the exploring. Start with small sessions of the area around your house, your door, and teach him commands like “No,” “Come” before you go too far from home.

This is how I did with my older cat since he doesn’t let him place a leash, and I do not have a personal yard for him. So I had a shared garden, and I went as far as going from the first floor down to the yard and back with him flowing me.

He could do a bit of exploring, watch the birds, and learn the house door. But, he could go one floor up and one down, up to the garden and would not know how to come back. In my experience, if you work with your cat for some time, you can teach him at least how not to get lost.

It depends on how much time you can invest.

SHOULD I LET MY INDOOR CAT BECOME AN OUTDOOR CAT?

If you should get your indoor cat to become an outdoor cat depends on your circumstances. It is generally better to keep and house cats indoors if possible. Cats going outside, not supervised, are always subject to dangers, such as cars, other animals, and evil humans.

Cats naturally want to go out, and you should let them do it safely if you can. However, if you have no way to keep your cat safe outdoors, it is better to keep him inside and enrich the environment. Also, indoor cats can get lost if they are not used to finding their way home.

If you want to let your cat go outside, you have to consider the environment and what dangers are there for him, and if you know that your cat knows the way back, can hunt, or in general, stay out of trouble.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Will my cat come back if I let him outside?

Generally, cats should come back if you let them outside, but it is not always the case. Some cats get scared and paralyzed from fear. Also, if your cat is not used to going out, he may not find his way back, and you have to search for him.

Do cats need to go outside to be happy?

Cats are happier if they can be outside from time to time or part of the day. Indoor cats can still enjoy some time out on a balcony, window, or with their owners on a leash. Alternatively, a cat owner can still enrich the house to entertain their cats.

Can outdoor cats smell indoor cats?

Outdoor cats can smell an indoor cat. Often they can sense the presence of another cat through an open window or the marked territory of an indoor cat if that cat used to go out from time to time. Cats have a superior sense of smell and can sense even small particles.