Bringing outdoor kittens indoors isn’t always easy. The outdoors is their world and changing the environment can be scary for them.
Mother cat and kittens on the patio.
Fifteen years ago I brought three kittens, Sammy, Teddy and Mookie indoors. They lived in my backyard with their mother for the summer.
Once September arrived I could see the mother cat pushing the kittens away and getting annoyed. I was worried about the cold weather ahead. It was time to bring them indoors.
I had a neighbour who gave the mother cat a home.
I was fortunate to have had time to get to know the kittens and gain their trust. There was no problem getting them into the house They had been trying all summer, but mother cat wouldn’t let me touch them.
You don’t always have time to gain that trust with kittens and have to act fast due to weather, sickness or abandonment by the mother.
The cats weren’t afraid of me, but the house was a different story. It was a scary new world. The first time they saw tv they ran in fright. The radio scared them. Even opening a cupboard or drawer made them jump.
It’s important to give kittens a quiet place of their own. I had an empty upstairs room that became theirs.
I scattered blankets on the floor and placed cardboard boxes around the room. They were used to boxes outdoors, so this made them feel safe.
I gave them toys to keep them busy and I put a bench at the window so they could watch the birds. If your kittens are in a room 24 hours a day you don’t want them to be bored. I spent a lot of time in that room, playing, feeding and getting to know them better.
Another reason to keep them in one room is to get them used to the litter box. I placed two in the room. Sammy and Mookie used it almost immediately, while Teddy took a bit longer. He thought the pillow I put down for him to sleep on was a litter box. After a few days of watching his brothers he finally learned.
I gradually introduced them to the sounds of the house. I placed a radio outside their door. I brought them downstairs one at a time for about an hour each day. Sammy enjoyed lying on the sofa while I watched tv.
The most important thing is to be patient. They aren’t going to adjust overnight. It took several months for mine to feel comfortable with the house and even then they would return to their room at night to sleep.
When you’re ready to let the kittens explore the house leave the door open and let them decide when they want to leave the room.
Kitten proof the house before letting them out. Take a look at each room and see if their are any dangers, such as electrical cords they could chew, cupboards they could get into or plants that are toxic.
It’s hard to believe that 15 years have passed and the cats now rule the house.
Not once have I had them cry at the door wanting outside I think the summer was enough outdoors for them and they now enjoy their comfortable indoor life.
Correne from The Cat Corner