Can outdoor cats become indoor cats? Have you met an outdoor cat, and you would like to adopt him and make him into an indoor cat? Is it even possible? Some outdoor cats will not trust humans, while others are more open to a new friendship. How to help

Most outdoor cats can become indoor cats. However, some need a longer time to adjust. Some will be happy to be indoors and adapt immediately, while some will have difficulty getting used to indoor life. Cats owners can help them transition by providing food, water, litter, and a safe place.

Let’s see how to help an outdoor cat transition into a loving indoor cat.

Can outdoor cats become indoor cats?


It is not cruel to turn an outdoor cat into an indoor cat. However, times are changing, or we can say they are already changed. It was easier for cats to find food in nature many years ago and be in places not populated by humans. Today the hazards are many.

An outdoor cat has to protect himself from cars and traffic and has difficulty finding food in cities where only concrete, traffic, and frenetic people are moving around. Possibly, in small towns and villages, the scenario can be better.

Today, for a cat is better to be indoor to have a better and longer life. However, cats like to go out, and cats owners can let them out if they have a way to provide an outdoor enclosed place or supervise them.

In general, cats get used to being indoor if they are provided with enough entertainment and a way to exercise. But, obviously, they are cats and will always try to hunt birds or demand to go out and explore.

Today, outdoor cats can be victims of accidents, starve, get sick, be subject to cruelty from other people, freeze, fight with other cats or dogs. In other words, their life expectancy is much shorter, and it is difficult for them to survive by themselves.


Outdoor cats can become indoor cats with time and patient. If you want to help an outdoor cat, you have to gain some trust first. In addition, there are different types of outdoor cats. You can find feral cats, semi-feral cats, alley cats, and stray cats. There is a difference between those types of cats.

Stray cats are cats that have been in contact with humans, possibly they were domesticated once and may have gotten some veterinarian attention. In some cases are already neutered or spayed, or even microchipped. The same goes for alley cats.

Feral cats or semi-feral cats are undomesticated and not familiar with humans. They may be pretty aggressive and do not allow any contact if you try to touch them. Semi-feral cats are still untrusting but have had some contact with humans and can be less aggressive or skittish.

In my experience, it can take weeks to get a feral cat to trust you, and you have to take it in small steps and be happy with any bit of win. But, on the other hand, On the other hand, I know of people that took even three months to become friends with stray cats.

They have started to leave food outside, watching them at a distance for weeks, ensuring the cat would be accustomed to them even from a distance. Then, they went the extra mile, building even an outdoor cat house and leaving blankets.


It is not a walk in the park. Feral cats are afraid of humans and are accustomed to staying in the outside world and counting only on their own efforts. So the first step in the process is to become friends with a feral cat and build trust.

Here are some of the critical steps to make a feral cat an indoor cat:


This first step is maybe the most important, and it is necessary for the overall successful transition from feral to an indoor cat. But, unfortunately, you can’t force them to have interaction. Otherwise, it is going to create the opposite effect.

You have to feed them, give them treats, or otherwise get them used to your presence without making any move in their direction, but wait for them to come to you. It can take a lot of time, but if you try to touch them or move in their direction, they may run away and never come back.

You have to give them space and wait for them to reach out to you.


Once you have a feral cat in your home, you have to leave him enough space and wait that he realizes the environment is safe. If they hide, do not force them out of the hiding place; bring water and food close to them. Do the same for the litter box.

If you can dedicate them to a room where there are a lot of hiding places, with all the necessary for their survival, cats will adjust faster and will feel more secure. Then, when they realize that no one is out to get them, they will start to explore the house and even decide to come to you for some attention.

It is always essential to wait for them to come to you and that you do not try to touch them or hold them too soon; you will get the opposite effect.


When cats are scared, they will not go around the house looking for food and water. So make it accessible and easy for them to reach it. For example, if the cat hides under the bed, in the beginning, bring water and food under the bed—possibly even the litter box.

They will take their time to adjust, but at the same time, they will feel safe from the beginning and will know that no one is trying to deprive them of their food and basic needs. You can also provide a soft blanket for them to sleep on, some toys, and other cats accessories.


Once brought indoors, feral cats, or outdoor cats, will try to get out often and may complain if you do not open the door for them to let them out. If you have an enclosed outdoor space, it is easy to resolve this problem.

For those who can’t let the cat out in an enclosed space, it is necessary to create a challenging indoor environment with cat trees, toys and provide access to windows so that cats can still look outside and watch birds or other moving things.


If you are bringing a feral or outdoor cat in a home where there is already a cat or a dog, you should keep the separation at the beginning. It is necessary to safeguard the resident pet and the new pet simultaneously.

Outdoor cats and indoor cats can be both territorial. It is not good to bring a cat indoors only to fight with another pet can slow down the transition.


Yes, it is possible to train a cat to stay indoors. It can take longer than expected, but it is possible. If you have options such as balconies, or a way for your cat to take some fresh air outside, it can help them adjust to indoor life.

Cats like to look outside, and it would help to give them the possibility to go out, at least on the porch, balcony, or an outside enclosed place. However, with time cats can get used to staying inside. Cats owners can provide indoor attractions or even adopt two cats to play with each other.

Here is a summary of what you can do to train a cat to stay indoors:

  • Provide a way for your cat to look outside through windows
  • Make sure your cat has enough cat trees
  • Provide scratching posts.
  • Provide interactive cat toys
  • Consider adopting a second cat
  • If possible have your cat spend some time outside on the balcony, patio, porch or controlled outdoor envirinment
  • Spaying and neutering can help
  • Walk your cat outside on a leash frm time to time to give him some good time


So how do you help a stray cat adjust to indoors?

Helping a stray cat to adjust to indoors requires a lot of patience and time. First, one has to provide all the basic things a cat needs and wait for the cat to reach out and give a lot of love. However, cats will adjust over time.

How long does it take an outdoor cat to become an indoor cat?

An outdoor cat can adjust to an indoor life within days, but sometimes it can take weeks and months. The time of adjustment depends on the cat’s personality. For example, some cats are more open to human contact, and others are more skittish.

How do you tell if a stray cat likes you?

You can tell if a stray cat likes you if he let you come close, pet him, gives him food, shows the belly, purrs at you, and in general if he is friendly and doesn’t have a problem if you go near him.

How do you tell if a cat is feral or stray?

A feral cat is not used to human contact, and may show signs of aggression, will hiss at you. In general, feral cats will crawl and stay low and try to protect themselves when humans approach. Stray cats are more friendly and used to human contact. They may like humans to touch them and want to be friends with them.

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