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How to keep your indoor only cat happy so that he does not run away; tips and strategies from a lost pet psychic

by Hilary Renaissance, Pet Psychic ©

date: 12/01/2022

As a lost pet psychic, one of the most common types of lost pet cases I handle is bored or "outdoor curious" indoor only cats who bolt outside at the 1st chance possible or stealthily sneak outside when a door is accidentally left open. Sadly, for these cats that thought "the grass is always greener" outside your home, the truth is that they often go into hiding mode when they are confronted with new sights and sounds they are not accustomed to encountering.  One of the most common comments I hear from indoor only cat owners is "It is like my cat disappeared into thin air!  He has been gone for a week and no one has seen my cat anywhere!"​

The purpose of this article is to prevent indoor only cats from wanting to leave your home in the 1st place so you won't need to call a lost pet psychic because your outdoor curious cat has bolted out the door.  (Of course, some cats will bolt if scared of something in your home like new children or dogs or other scary events.  This article is not about how to manage those problems. If  you need help with a cat that is scared by someone in your home or another animal, please call me for a pet consultation.) This article is about how to prevent your indoor only cat from constantly prowling the door in the hopes of escape.

This article is near and dear to me because I have a new cat named Ollie. Ollie is the very 1st cat I have  kept indoor only. All of my previous cats were indoor and outdoor. But, as the urban environment has changed recently to 2 coyotes regularly prowl our next door neighbor's yard. So I have had to really work at keeping our cat Ollie happy so that he does not try and escape due to boredom or because he thinks chasing the birds or squirrels he sees outside the window would make him happier than being inside .

The number one thing you can do is get your cat a playmate or cat that helps keep him or her from being bored.  Cats are naturally interactive creatures. Some have a strong play drive and some have a strong prey or hunting drive.  If your cat is alone all day with no other cats or pets for interaction and companionship, your cat will likely hear sounds outside your home or see cats, birds and other critters outside the windows and seek companionship or a hunting experience with the other animals outside your home. Basically, if your indoor only cat is bored, he or she will seek outside fun.  So the more that you can provide companionship and fun interaction with pets inside your home, the better.

One big mistake indoor only cat owners make is getting a young, playful cat or kitten for their older or mature cat.  That is a mistake because young kittens have a lot of energy and needs for parenting that your older cat will likely reject.  At first introduction, it might go smoothly, but as the newness of the kitten's strong play activities wears thin, you may have fighting.  Your indoor cat may attack the kitten as a message to the kitten to go away and stop bugging me. 

Another problem can develop down the line if your older cat "mothers" the kitten at 1st.  In that case, when the older cat deems that the kitten is mature enough to go out on their own, the older cat may reject the "grown kitten" which can lead to fighting and all kinds of trouble with which you do not want.

Instead, when looking for a new cat companion for your cat, look for similar energy and maturity levels in both pets.  So get a cat that is about the same age and  sleeping patterns/. Also, be mindful that if your cat is an alpha personality, do not get another alpha personality cat, instead look for a calm "beta" cat or cat that will not threaten your cat's alpha role in your home.  Similarly, if you have an alpha cat, do not get a timid cat who will run from your alpha cat or the timid cat's fearful running behavior may trigger your alpha cat's prey drive.  You don't want a timid cat who will live in fear of your alpha cat or, even worse, your alpha cat may use a timid cat for "hunting practice."

If you have a very timid indoor only cat, make sure not to get an alpha cat or a rambunctious kitten who may scare your cat.

Don't think that cats only will be happy with cat companions.  Our cat Ollie loves to play with our dog.  Ollie likes to sit by the window so he can see everyone who comes and goes and also watch our dog.  They have lots of fun playing together.

* Another thing that can help keep your indoor only cat preoccupied so that he is not always looking to get outside is creating a fenced in catio. Catios don't have to be fancy or made out of expensive materials to provide your cat with hours of fun.  You can easily create a catio with chicken wire, 2 by 4 wood boards, a carpenter's staple gun for attaching to chicken wire to the 2 by 4s, brackets for creating shelves where your cat can sit and potted plants that will attract bugs. Just make sure that the catio has a chicken wire covered floor and roof so that raccoons, coyotes and mice can not dig underneath or jump in from above and get to your cat.  Remember that coyotes can jump at least 6 feet, so having a secure roof on your catio is an important safety precaution.

* There are some cats that will come to think that stalking your door and looking for opportunities to get outside is a fun game. These cats often don't really want to go outside.  Instead they want the thrill of defeating your attempts to thwart their escape attempts.  These cats often get an endorphin rush or thrill of winning sense of pride after getting outside.  The most important thing to do if you have a "door dash athlete" cat is to not get to panicked if your cat does get outside.  If your cat does escape, remember, your athlete cat needs you to participate to make the event fun.  These cats are looking for stimulation, so give it to them by talking and having a little fun with them by talking and sitting down.  Let your cat who wants attention come to you.  Running after your cat only gives your cat another opportunity to escape you again!

Thank you for reading this article.

If you would like personalized suggestions to keep your indoor cat happy to live inside, I can ask your cat what he or she would like to make the both of you living the good life.

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