Reducing Outdoor Stressors for Indoor Cats

     Seeing the outdoors can be entertaining and engaging for an indoor cat, or it may cause stress. Stress

signs may include symptoms such as not eating, not using the litter box appropriately, hiding or over

grooming, hiding and aggression. If you notice these signs in your indoor cat, first seek veterinary advice

to rule out any medical conditions. If your cat is healthy otherwise, outdoor cats may be the stressor

causing the symptoms mentioned. Because even the sight of another cat, when not properly

addressed, can evolve into serious problems, it is important to assess and tackle any change in your

cat’s behavior right away.


     Pay attention to your cat’s body language when they see an outdoor cat. Stress signs can occur in any

breed, size, age, or gender, and can stem from many different types of stressors. The most common

include fear, defense, territorial, redirected, status, play, pain, and discomfort. A fearful cat may exhibit

dilated pupils, ears turning back, or a twitching tail. In this situation, your cat may growl or hiss when

they see an outdoor cat. Your cat may appear nervous or frightened and startle easily, trying to run and

hide. A more offensive aggressive cat may have their ears back, constricted pupils, and their tail may be

up or down with fur standing on end.


     To address aggression, work with a professional who looks at the context in which it happens. Never use

punishment as a training technique. It will not work and will only hurt your relationship with your cats.

To reduce the stressors, visual access can be blocked. Manage the outdoor cat so they are not to be able

to approach the home. Additionally, the indoor cat needs to ahve options for enrichment in order to stay

engaged with the indoors.