Dear Miss Behavin’:
I recently moved and my indoor/outdoor cat is now indoor only. He’s been swatting and playing rough with me lately and I don’t know what to do. Help!
It sounds like your cat might be getting agitated now from being indoors only and not having the same mental and physical stimulation that he had in his prior environment. It can be a bit of a transition for indoor/outdoor cats and might require a little creativity and home improvement to bring what he liked outdoors to an indoor space.
The first thing to invest in would be a few tall cat trees, placed by windows or patios. The taller they are the better, and with plenty of shelves and cubby spaces. This will help your cat exert some physical activity climbing up and down the trees as well as launching off of the shelves. He will also get a birds eye view of any activity occurring outside that will help provide further mental stimulation. If you already have cat trees, consider indoor wall shelves or even tall bookshelves that will give your cat more climbing structures and interesting perches to look out from.
Now would also be a good time to increase your playtime with your cat to a few times per day and especially before bed. If he’s playing rough with you, use long cat wands and string toys to keep his claws at a distance and focus his attention on the toys. Some cats also like larger mouse stuffed toys that they can pounce on and grab with all four paws. The more energy he is able to get out during the day and night with you, the more settled he’ll be overall.
If he’s affectionate at times, just be sure to get his play energy out before a petting session. This will help decrease the likelihood that he becomes overstimulated.