August 2019

Audience: Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers

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, over-grooming, and even aggression. If you notice these signs and you only have one indoor cat, observe carefully to see if unfamiliar outdoor cats are visible and causing them stress. 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 the cat's behavior right away. The first step is to seek veterinary advice to rule out health concerns.

To reduce the stressors, block visual access to outdoor cats. In addition, manage the outdoor area so that no cat can be within sight.

Managing the outdoors:

  • Do not feed outdoor cats close to doors or windows of your home.
  • Using cat-safe fencing to keep animals out of your yard.
  • Cat scat mats can deter digging in the dirt/garden.
  • Secure trash with a tight lid.
  • Use a motion activated sprinkler system that keep cats away from the home.

If these simple measures are not deterring cats coming into your outdoor area, contact your local shelter and enquire about their Community Cat program.

This document created by the San Francisco SPCA with a grant from Maddie's Fund®.