We have had our two cats, Maddy and Wally which were adopted from the RSPCA, for a little over six months. It took a while but now they have settled into a routine of coming inside just as the sun is setting. We do this because we have a cat curfew in our area that states that all cats must be kept indoors between sunset and sunrise.
We struggled at first, spending time most evenings trying to coax the cats inside after dark. Wally was probably the worst because he just loves being outside and really rebelled against the idea of being locked in at night. That said they have both had their moments when they seem to change from wanting to be near us to running away from us once the sun goes down. It’s like they turn feral once the sun has set and nothing we do will make them want to come in!
Most times, when they were out after dark, we had to trick them into thinking that we didn’t really care so that they would let us near them. Then there was lots of wriggling and squirming when they realised that they were being taken inside! We were a bit worried that we would have to spend the years ahead struggling to get the cats to come inside at night!
Regardless of whether there is an official cat curfew in our area we wanted to have our cats inside at night. This is because, when we had cats in the past they were allowed outside at night and would want to be let inside or outside at all times of day and night. It was frustrating having to let the cats in or out during the night! We also wanted them inside so that they (and the local wildlife) would be safe at night.
So when we adopted Wally and Maddy we were determined to make the night curfew work.
How We Enforce our Cat Curfew
I have heard people say that you can stop feeding your cat in the morning so that it is hungry by night time. We didn’t really want to starve the cats during the day so we decided to try the next best thing – which is to withhold wet food!
Our two cats just love their wet food; they come running when they know it is on offer. So we decided to only feed wet food to our cats at night. They have access to dry food during the day but they don’t get any wet food until after sunset.
It took them a while to make the connection between sunset and getting wet food but now that they have they are so easy to call inside at night. These days as soon as they see me getting the wet food out they are quick to run inside and wait patiently in the laundry. I don’t think they realize there is a cat curfew. They just think it is wet food time!
If you want this technique to work it is important to keep to a strict routine and cut out all wet food during the day. Like us, you will probably find that your cats are not too happy about it at first but they will quickly adjust and be much easier to control.
Don’t Give Up if Your Cat Still Won’t Come in at Night!
Here’s another suggestion if you are still having trouble getting your cat to come inside at night. A while after writing this post we started having some trouble getting Maddy to come inside at night. We were still withholding her wet food until night time but she kept trying to stay out longer and longer.
We decided to try another brand of wet food and that made a huge difference! Maddy absolutely loves her current wet food brand and she will happily come inside at night to get it. Actually she now knows what time of night she gets her wet food and she will come inside and wait for it.
So make sure to keep trying different brands of wet food until you get the one they can’t resist. There are so many cat food brands out there, so I’m sure that you can find one that you kitty can’t resist. Just try to make sure that it is a fairly good quality food.