Bringing an outdoor cat inside & introducing a new cat?


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Oct 16, 2020
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Hi there! I’m currently in the process of buying my first home and will be moving with my almost 5 year old cat Gus! I have a few questions regarding how to smoothly transition my indoor/outdoor cat to a completely indoor cat and about getting him a friend so he’s not bored all day!
I’ll first preface this by saying that I realize “outdoor cats” are a controversial subject. I live in the country in a very low traffic area and our wildlife mostly consists of deer. He often plays outside all night and comes back at sunrise, he absolutely loves playing outdoors and I really didn’t want to deny him that as it was an available option. My attitude has always been that I’d rather him live a shorter, happier life doing what he loves than have him live 20+ years cooped up inside all day. If you disagree that’s cool, I won’t argue and it doesn’t matter as I’m now moving to the city and he won’t be allowed outside (maybe on a leash in the yard). I feel bad that he’ll be losing that freedom and need some advice on how to do this as nicely as possible! It is getting cold out, we have freezing winters so he usually doesn’t go out then anyways. We probably have a month left of decent weather, should I be keeping him inside? Or should I let him enjoy it while he can? Also any tips or advice for how to keep him stimulated in our new house, I’d really hate for him to be bored all day long! Favourite toys or any recommendations would be great!
I’ve also decided to get another cat, I think he will be happy to have a buddy around! Gus has lots of energy so I’m conflicted on getting a kitten and or an adult cat around his age or younger. I feel like a kitten would be less threatening and stressful for him but I also feel terrible for all of the adult cats that need to be adopted :( He has played with my SILs cat, as a kitten and then about once a year when we would cat sit for each other while the other was on vacation. Gus definitely takes about a week each time to warm up to her cat, who isn’t too bothered by Gus lol. We do have a few cats in the area who he sometimes crosses paths with outside, I think that might play a role in why he isn’t too fond of my SILs cat until he adjusts. Also male or female? I think male as Gus is also male but open to advice!
Last question is, when should I get this cat? Before I move so they can adjust together while gus is in his own home? Should I have the cat at the new house when Gus goes there for the first time (he could probably stay living at my parents for a week or two after I move so the new cat would have time to adjust). Or should I let Gus adjust to his new home and introduce the new cat in a month or two? I’m really in no rush to get another cat, so I’m willing to wait if that’s what’s best!
thank you in advance for any advice, I really appreciate it! :)


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Nov 25, 2013
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Hello and welcome to TCS. Congrats on the new home.

About turning Gus into an indoor only cat, don't worry too much about him not being happy. Lots of cats, including former ferals, adjust to inside only living. My Ruby girl was a stray who was rescued and taken to the shelter from off the street, and she shows zero interest in going outside. As long as there's windows for the cat to gaze out of, and toys to play with, most of them will be fine.

TCS has a couple articles with more info. Here are the links:
The Five Golden Rules To Bringing An Outdoor Cat Inside | TheCatSite
How To Prevent Your Cat From Darting Out The Door | TheCatSite
How To Make Your Home Bigger (at Least For Your Cats) | TheCatSite

Bored Cat? What Cat Owners Need To Know (including 10 Actionable Tips) – TheCatSite Articles
7 Proven Ways To Get Your Cat To Be More Active – TheCatSite Articles

Since you'll have your own home, you can also consider building him a catio.
Cat Enclosures – TheCatSite Articles

As for when to "lock the doors to outside", maybe before you move would be better. But, honestly, not sure. Does he use the litter box inside now?

As for getting him a friend, kittens generally are easier to introduce than older cats, but with time and patience usually both work out without too much trouble. Do plan to keep the new cat in a separate room, so that you can slowly do scent swapping and introductions.

As for whether to have the new cat in the house before you move in, I'm thinking no. But not sure, so hopefully other members will add their thoughts.

Here's a TCS article on How To Move With Your Cat To A New Home In A Safe Way | TheCatSite

Also articles on cat introductions:
Your Second Cat: How To Choose The Best Friend For Kitty | TheCatSite
The Multi-cat Household | TheCatSite

How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide | TheCatSite
How To Introduce A Kitten To An Older Cat | TheCatSite

Good luck. Hope everything goes smoothly. Post updates to let us know how it's going.


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Aug 1, 2018
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I think the best thing in your new home would be to not let your cat outside at all. If Gus understands that at the new home he is not able to go outside then he probably won't ask to be let out. However if you let him have any access to the outdoors because he used to be an outdoor cat, chances are high that you will have to live with relentless pestering and meowing to get out and you will regret the fact that you ever let him out in the first place. You may then have to deal with the dangers of City life as opposed to Country life that he is not used to navigating as he may try to dart outside. Fear of the unknown may be a good thing in your case. We live in a City but we have a 14 year old cat who never went outside other than on an enclosed porch many many years ago in an old condo. We thought it would be a great idea to let her out on the back deck (enclosed) and walk her on a leash. Except she now saw those areas as her territory and she cries relentlessly to go out, no matter what we do. We tried the catio it's not enough. It's certainly possible that your cat may not be the same, but you have to weigh the risk of that happening. Even the catio could leave her wanting more. I was surprised living in Washington DC how many people let their cats roam freely, but they do.