How Can I Train My Cat To Stay Close To Home?

It is natural for us to be protective of our pets. After all, they are not just animals – They are part of our family. If you have a cat, however, it seems unfair to confine them to your house. They are naturally curious animals and will have a lot of fun exploring places outside your home.  It’s important to let your kitty play in the yard but how do you train a cat to come back home?

Since there are a lot of terrible things that can happen to your pet outside your home, it is best to train him to stay near your place. Houses with yards, in particular, are wonderful. Training a cat to stay in your yard is great in the beginning.  As he gets more comfortable with the idea of being outside, you can let him leave the yard.  If you’re planning on training a cat to be outdoors some of the time, do not be too eager to let him out. Kittens should NOT be allowed outside your house until they have had all their vaccinations or are at least three and a half months old. Additionally, they should only be allowed outside with supervision. You should accompany your kitten on his first ventures to the outside world. It’s also a good idea to keep his first experiences in your own yard. Follow your cat as he explores this new environment and learns to find the back door of your place. After he is neutered at about six months, you can begin to let him out by himself.

If you have an older cat, keep him inside your house for about a month before letting him out. This will make him familiar with your house. Once he is let out it will be easier for him to come back home. It is also wise to let him out on an empty stomach so that he will return to your house when he wants to eat.  We all know that a cat won’t miss out on a tasty meal!

No matter how old your cat is, it’s always best to have a cat flap so that he can enter your house anytime.  This way, your cat will have easy access to both of his worlds – inside and out!  Try not to worry too much about your little buddy as he makes the transition from indoors to outdoors.  I find there’s no real need to teach a cat how to stay close to home.  Cat’s are naturally curious animals, but they’re not stupid!  Chances are your kitten won’t go too far away from his home.

Good Luck!

Comments

  1. Cynthia says

    Ty for this post. I’ve been reading some other ones, and this one was the most helpful to me. We kept our precious cat Buddha where he could run inside and outside through the cat flap/doggy door, (we also have a westie and a great pyrenees) and he was a wonderful cat that stayed nearby for 6 yrs. One night there was a hurricane (Ida) 5 hours from here, and the storm that night, well.. .never saw him again. So challenging to endure.
    So, when we got a new kitten- Boddhee, we kept him in the house for 7 monthes. He was very jealous of Rubee (the westie) that could go in and out and he couldn’t. He was not good about going potty in his box sometimes, and was not leaving the carpet and padding alone AT ALL where the doggy door was. So we relented and took him outside and I walked the perimeter with him and have done my best to keep him trained to stay in the yard and leave other critters alone. He tests me to check his boundaries and just now he went into the bushes where he knew he wasn’t supposed to, off of the property. He usually minds, but this time he wouldn’t. This is one reason why my hub and I don’t have human children after 32 years together. I care way too much, way too much. You’re site is very comforting, and it is nice to tell someone who seems to be understanding about it all. Fortunately, we live on a dead end street at the end, surrounded mostly by woods. Just past them, there are houses and a busy street, so it provides kind of a good barrier or ‘moat’ to our yard.
    I’m kind of at a loss of what to do now. He has officially not minded and is/was out of the yard. I’m not sure how to disapline him about this? The other times he did it, he came running back in and running up to me,like- you still love me mommy right? He has been doing it more and more lately and finally didn’t come back this time. I don’t know if I should give him the cold shoulder for awhile or what. If one gives them the cold shoulder for longer than they should, he might not be the same lovey cat he was. I guess I’ll just see if I can wing it.
    Thank you for your post and comment area so I could share and get it out of my system anyway. God, what parents must go through!
    Luvuso, c

  2. admin says

    Thanks for stopping by Cynthia! Your story is one that many cat owners can most definitely relate to.

    It’s incredible how attached we can get to our pets. I hear what you’re saying about kids as well… I can’t even begin to imagine!

    Here’s hoping that everything works out with your kitties… Good luck!

  3. says

    Hi there. Today I watched my wonderful loving friendly cat get hit by a car and die right in front of me out on the busy street in front of my house. I’ve given them stern repettative vocal commands to “get off the road” whenever they wondered out there. I’ve also physically chased after them directing their escape back to my side of the street while again saying “get off the road”. I’ve also taken them out on the road in my arms, pointed them back to my house and give them a few swats while saying again “get off the road”.
    Today was a crappy day and my other cat also is crossing. Without lecturing to me about swatting my cats to try to get them to not get killed like one did today, perhaps someone has a proper solution that actually works. I sure would appreciate a constructive solution.
    Thanks in advance.

    • admin says

      Hey Tony,

      Terribly sorry to hear about your lose. Cats are funny and surprisingly unique little characters. A training technique that works for one won’t necessarily work for another. In my experience though, cats don’t respond particularly well to vocal commands. Try getting a spray bottle filled with water and giving your kitty a little squirt when he starts wandering towards the road. This could potentially help him associate road with danger. Note that the age of your cat could also be playing a role here. Older cats tend to be more mature and road savvy than younger kittens.

      Good luck Tony. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. JodiLane says

    We moved our six year old cat into a home with two other cats. The oldest cat picked on
    her and she has been hesitant to come home. She will come in late a night when I call
    her and she eats takes some petting and then leaves. I finally sent the older cat to
    live with a sister but my girl still won’t stay home. Our daughter is home with her 3
    very young babies and there is crying but I want my cat to come home. The weather is
    getting bad and she was always home at night but ventured during the day but always
    came home to sleep. Any ideas? We miss her and worry about her being out all night in
    the weather.

    • admin says

      JodiLane,

      Why can’t cats just get along?!?! I feel your pain. Check out this article on introducing cats before you do anything else – It’s a fantastic read. Note that it doesn’t matter if your cats already “know” each other. Animals live in the present – They don’t hold grudges like us humans! The techniques outlined in this article will work regardless of the fact that your cats aren’t actually meeting for the first time.

      If this doesn’t work, I’d seriously consider converting your outdoor cat into an indoor one – at least until next spring. It’s not worth losing sleep over the fact that your cat’s out in the cold, fending for herself. She’ll get used to the sounds of crying children too. Don’t worry about that…

      Good luck!

  5. mazey says

    Im getting a new kitten and i live in the city but i have a okay sized yard. I dont want my new kitten to come inside at all because the last 2 cats i had had i bathroom problume,so i dont want it inside at all.But there are dogs that live next to me and i dont want my kitten to go over there,and i have a busy rode in the front yard.Would i be able to keep my cat in a certain area?

  6. Dylan says

    I was wondering if we can try to keep our cats in our yard only as we have stupid old annoying wingeing neighbours that have written a letter to us complaining about our cats in their yard. would suggesting they just hose the cats each time they enter the property stop them from going back?

  7. Trinia says

    If you let your cat run loose, don’t whine when it gets killed! It’s YOUR fault for putting it in danger. For shame!

  8. Tim says

    hi my cat just got hit by a car and i am really sad, but my girlfriend said i can have one of her cats, but it has to be an outside cat. my first one followed me home and stayed. i live 9 houses away. and now that im trying to take another one. it keeps trying to leave and im not even sure if it knows the way back. what do i do.

    note it has to be outside my dad wont let me take it inside.

  9. says

    Geez, Tony, the same thing came so close ,to happening to me this evening! I almost lost my little “Theodore” I FELT SO ,POWERLESS!!!!!!Watching him run out on a ,semi busy st. I could see the headlights of the oncoming car. I had no idea that he was going to that dangerous street. I too live on a dead end st. .So, the major one ,I just knew he would not try by himself!I hadn’t noticed he was where he shouldn’t have gone. That incident, has ruined our relationship, as far as me,trusting him to make the right decision his own . He isn’t even a year old yet ,I cannot let him out now. We have seen quite an array of flattened pets there. I’m doing the best I can do for him. If I had not seen him crossing when I did, well you got the picture. All I could do was scream his name ,to stop him from going any further. Then he turned, and engaged my hubby and I into
    a game of tag.then we brought bad-boy inside. Im so sad for your loss. Seems like no-one can help our cats. HELP11111

  10. Curtis says

    Here’s an idea Mazey – a perfect place fo your cat – NOT WITH YOU! You obviously have no intention of paying attention to the cat or have a sniff of what to do for training (as per your admission of your last two cats), so do the world a favour and avoid getting something you cannot look after. Idiot.

  11. Shonna says

    Tony- I know what you mean I have done the same things but it just doesnt get thru to them! Cant find a reasonable answer that works,aside from making them indoor cats. I would like some more options! Maybe a technique or something like that..anyone have any HELPFUL ideas ASIDE from “MAKING THEM INDOOR?” please help. -S

  12. Will says

    Hi there. I live adjacent to a large section of woods and I have seen coyotes, foxes, and fisher cats in this area many times. My last cat Hendrix loved going outside, but he dissapeared one night at the age of ~3. We finally decided to get two kittens after a year or so, and we reluctantly let them go outside. They love being outside, and we make sure we don’t let them go outside on full stomachs. That really helps, but yesterday Leo got came back limping to the house. His ear and lips were kind of bloody, and the vets at the pet hospital said it was blunt trauma to the face from a car. Leo is recovering well and has an elizabethan collar (cone) and is taking medicine. He isn’t even one year old, and it is making me feel like we should keep the cats inside. To me, that is cruel. I hate seeing most animals at the zoo, and I feel like my cats shouldn’t be holed up inside either. Suggestions?

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