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How to Prevent Your Indoor Cat from Running Outside

How to Prevent Your Indoor Cat from Running Outside

My cat has only gotten out once but it was a frightening enough experience that I hope it never happens again. Cats are born with a natural desire to explore. However, most house cats aren’t equipped to handle the dangers of being outside. This is partly why my cat eventually just sat in the back of the house staring at the window waiting to be let back in. 

Despite my cat not being a fan of being outdoors, I still struggle trying to stop him from making the great cat escape whenever I open the front door. Fortunately, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way that’ll help you prevent your indoor cat from running outside. 

Why Cats Want to Run Outside

Cat’s are so curious and love to explore their surroundings. Ever notice that you go out shopping or bring home groceries and your cat comes out to inspecting and sniff down every last thing that your brought home? It’s like having my own crew of FBI cats.

Your at home hunter may want to get out to hunt the lizards, birds and other critters he sees running around outside. Or if there is another cat outside your house that is wandering or even marking on the outside of your house it could be driving your cat crazy. Cats are highly territorial and your cat is going to want to protect its house.

Preventing a Cat From Running Out

1. Distract Your Cat Before Opening the Door

The second they hear the door open, my cats are on a mad dash to escape into the unknown. However, I started to notice a change in their behavior if they had something to preoccupy them like a cat toy, treat, or plate of food when I tried to leave.

While you don’t want to feed them a ton of extra food every time you leave the house, keeping them distracted will be a big help next time you go to leave. 

Read more: 10 Cat Toys My Cats Actually Play With

2. Use a Spray Deterrent Around the Door

Cats’ noses are sensitive to different odors. Plus, they don’t like to get wet, which is why a spray deterrent is kind of the best of both worlds in terms of preventing them from escaping through the front door. 

Whenever your cat approaches the door, the deterrent will be triggered and let off an unpleasant odor. This will deter your cat from approaching the door as they won’t want to get sprayed nor smell the odor. 

3. Don’t Give Your Cat Any Attention at the Door

The more you interact with your cat at the door, the more likely they’ll be to associate positive attention with it. Even if they run to the door to greet you, they still run the risk of accidentally getting outside if they get spooked. If a cat gets outside, it can be targeted by other animals and get injured by other cats, dogs, or even struck by a vehicle. 

To combat this, try not to pay your cat any attention until you are fully away from the door and in another room and then pet them. By doing this over and over, your cat will begin to associate their reward with the spot you designate in the house rather than the one they think will reap the most benefits. 

4. Get Your Cat Spayed or Neutered

Only 60% of cats who are 18 months and older get adopted. One way to combat this is by getting your cat spayed or neutered to help with population control. However, getting your cat fixed is another way to prevent them from trying to constantly escape. 

When your cat isn’t spayed or neutered, it will have a natural desire to explore outside and find another cat to mate with. When they’re fixed, they lose that desire and will be more comfortable residing inside the home. Not to mention the perks of a healthier cat that will be less likely to damage your house.

5. Provide Them Safe Access to the Outside

If you have a screened-in porch or patio, then letting your cat out in this area will help satisfy their natural urges to explore. Make sure your front door is locked and that they can’t escape while they’re out there by mistake. If you don’t have a screened-in porch or patio, you’re not out of luck as you can make one yourself by using large wooden crates, screens, and a little wire. I live in an apartment complex and my neighbor built a little exploration deck for their cat on the back porch and from the looks of it, the cats absolutely adore it. 

Granted, that will take a little bit of elbow grease, but it’s a great way to give your kitty a little extra love and provide them with the opportunity to take in some fresh air and sunshine. 

Have Any of These Tricks Worked For You?

There are a lot of different methods to keep your indoor cat from escaping. As with any new routine, you have to keep at it. Your cat will eventually learn that they can’t escape, but it’ll take a little time practice, and dedication to get there. Let us know if any of these tricks have worked for you, or if you found success with something else entirely. 

While it may sound harsh to prevent your cat from going outside, it’s for their safety. We love our cats, so we have to do everything we can to protect them from the possibility of getting injured or lost forever.