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Honey, There’s a Lion at the Window

She’s been outdoors her whole life. How could I safely lure my kitty indoors for the winter?

Last year, our cat Harley “adopted” a scraggly little feral kitten that he found outside. Since then, the kitten, named Penny, has grown up, and her fur has grown out, and now she’s a beautiful, bushy miniature lioness who likes to lounge on the porch railing and bask in the sun.

In summer.

Now it’s winter, and it’s snowy and cold, and I want this cat to come in the house and get warm, not just perch on the porch railing for hours, staring in the window at us like we’re some kind of reality TV show for cats.

I’ve tried inviting her in. It took forever to coax her close to the door, then another few days before she would poke her head in. Then one day, she came all the way in. I gently shut the screen door behind her, taking care not to catch her big fluffy tail.

Then she freaked out.

First meowing, then those long extended meows that sound like crying, then actual howling. (Up until then, I didn’t know cats COULD howl!) I tried to tell myself she was just nervous about being in a new place, someplace that wasn’t the great outdoors she’d known her whole life. She’ll get over it. I’ll give her a few minutes.

Alternately meowing and yowling, she prowled around the living room, as Pearl watched from her hiding spot under the Christmas tree and Catillac trailed behind at a respectful distance, tail tip twitching. Then Penny spotted the living room window, climbed the cat tree to get to it, and—bonk!—knocked her head against the glass. Well, what did I expect? First window she’s ever seen. Poor kitty!

I opened the window and she leaped onto the back patio, into the snow. “Stay warm,” I instructed her. “Go in the garage!” (Our garage has a cat door in it. It’s nice being married to a cat guy.)

Even though Penny’s still an “outdoor” kitty I’m giving her all the love I can. Plenty of petting and tummy rubs, monthly flea drops to the neck (fun for everyone, right?), yearly shots, and of course I have had her spayed.

I guess until she decides the time is right to come in and enjoy the Great Indoors, that’s all I can do. My reward is a big orange fluffy purring ball of happy cat, so I guess she’s okay with her outdoor lifestyle.

Cat lovers…any ideas for luring Penny into the house on a full-time basis? Please comment!

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