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Home Pet Q&A Cat Questions Can You Train An Outdoor Cat To Be An Indoor Cat?

Can You Train An Outdoor Cat To Be An Indoor Cat?

Sometimes an outdoor cat can be trained to be an indoor cat. If you've noticed an adorable cat hanging around your yard, you may want to bring it inside and make it your pet. If the cat is feral, this will prove a more difficult task than if the cat is a stray. That being said, there are stories of even the most aloof feral cats becoming loving indoor pets.

Outdoor Cats: The Difference between Stray and Feral 

Did you know that there is a difference between a stray cat and a feral cat?

Feral Cats 

These cats were born outside or were abandoned at a very young age without having had much human contact. Feral cats typically do not trust humans and will not allow you to get close enough to pet or handle them.

Many kind people care for colonies of ferals (also called community cats) by providing food, water, and shelter, and getting the cats TNRd (trapped, neutered, released) to prevent more kittens from being born. You can spot a feral cat that has been TNRd because one of his ears will be tipped. This is done so that other cat caretakers will know the cat has already been fixed.

Feral cats make their life outside, but it is possible to bring them in—if you have a lot of patience. You'll start by providing food and water. Over time, the cat may allow you to come closer, and may in time allow petting. You can then try moving the food closer to your door and, eventually inside.

The process can be quite slow, and some feral cats will never be won over. There are varying degrees of "feral-ness," so you may eventually come to the conclusion that the indoor life isn't for that particular cat.

Stray Cats 

A stray cat is a cat that is either lost or has been abandoned. Many times, these cats will walk right up to people and allow petting and other contact. Stray cats are often in danger outside as they don't have the same fight in them as do feral cats. These cats have been around humans and probably lived inside, at least part time, at some point. 

Before you fall in love with the cat, it's important to note that it could be someone else's pet. Perhaps the pet owner allows the cat to come and go, or maybe the cat got lost. The right thing to do when you find a stray is to look for an owner. Check out more tips about what to do if you find a stray cat in this article. 

Once you're confident the cat has no owner, you'll find that bringing stray cats inside is a much easier process than bringing bring feral cats inside. A stray that has already spent time inside will likely take right to the litter box and may become a loving pet right away.

Whether feral or stray, it is possible to turn an outdoor cat into one that appreciates life inside. Thank you for caring enough to try! 

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