Ask A Vet: My Indoor Cat Keeps Trying to Get Outside!


Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on Dr. Jeannine Berger, DVM, DACVB is a board certified veterinary behaviorist who counsels guardians whose pets’ issues are beyond the scope of training. Think of her as a pet shrink…at your service. Ask your own questions in the comments!

Q: I adopted my cat from the SPCA 3 years ago. Up until now, he’s been the perfect cat for me. But then he escaped out the window (he’s an indoor kitty). Since that day he has decided he MUST get back out there at all costs! Now, my previously happy cat starts yowling at me from the MINUTE I walk in the door at night until I go to bed. He frantically follows me around my apartment, feverishly running and getting completely underfoot, hoping I’ll let him outside. What do I do?

A: The Outside world is very stimulating for a cat – but is not always a safe place. We advise that cats are kept indoors for a variety of reasons, including the dangers of cars and disease. So now that your cat wants to go outside, here are a few ways to make inside more alluring.

Primarily, your efforts will consist of making the home environment more interesting with changing toys, play time and different things to discover such as Feed dispensing toys. You can also try to soothe your kitty with Feliway, which is a synthetic pheromone which can solve a number of issues having to do with stress. Can your cat see out the window and watch the world go by? Something like this with suction cups is great. Our cats at the SF SPCA love these. A distracting DVD might also do the trick. You can also try getting him used to a harness and take him out on scheduled walks or offer a fenced cat safe area.

Maybe he needs a friend? If your cat is bored, a little company might do the trick. Now is a great time to adopt – we are waiving the adoption fee on all cats over 6 months old through Labor Day at the SF SPCA. Check out who is available on our website.

Good luck!

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