Ought to Cats Be Indoor or Outside Pets? Professionals, Cons & Security Ideas

Final Up to date on: February 27, 2023 by Crystal Uys

bengal cat walking on plank outdoor

Whereas we could love our cats, many people additionally acknowledge that residing with them might be difficult. Not solely do you’ve the mess and scent of litter containers in your home, however cats additionally shed, scratch furnishings, and generally pee in inappropriate places. In case your cat has developed unhealthy habits, you’ve most likely been tempted to make them an out of doors pet.

Many cat house owners battle with whether or not cats must be indoor or outside pets. In my very own life, I’ve owned totally indoor cats, outside cats, and indoor-outdoor cats, so I’m additionally acquainted with this dilemma. On this article, we’ll have a look at the arguments for and towards cats residing outside, in addition to what specialists and researchers say on the subject.

Causes House owners Maintain Cats as Outside Pets

Veterinary specialists and researchers agree that uncontrolled outside entry is harmful for cats and advocate they be stored indoors. We’ll go into the reasoning behind this advice later on this article, however many homeowners proceed to let their cats outdoors regardless of the dangers.

In some circumstances, house owners could fear that retaining cats inside is merciless and prevents them from utilizing their instincts and abilities as predators. Others could consider their cat will get extra train and keep at a wholesome weight extra simply in the event that they’re allowed outdoors. One other widespread cause cats transition to outside pets is persistent behavioral issues akin to urine marking or aggression.

Typically, house owners will undertake or assume the care of a cat that has already lived outside for years. For instance, you resolve to satisfy a lifelong dream of proudly owning property within the nation solely to seek out that your new buy comes full with a number of barn cats. In these situations, house owners could really feel that the outside cat will battle to transition to life indoors and select to not power the difficulty.

tabby cat hunting ourtdoor
Picture Credit score: VeleMarinkovic, Pixabay

What the Analysis and Consultants Say

The Humane Society and veterinarians agree that retaining cats indoors is the most secure choice. On common, indoor cats dwell as many as 10 years longer than outdoors cats. Cats with uncontrolled outside entry not solely face many risks, however they’ll additionally pose a menace to the setting and a nuisance to people.

Personally, I spent a few years working as a veterinary nurse and witnessed firsthand the traumatic actuality of life for a lot of outside cats. Whereas residing in a rural space, our household misplaced two outside cats to mysterious circumstances. They only by no means got here residence. Listed below are a number of the risks cats who dwell as outside pets could encounter or trigger:

Automobile Accidents

The largest menace to an out of doors cat could also be autos, even when you dwell in a rural space. Analysis reveals that automotive accidents are a number one reason for demise and damage for outside cats worldwide.


Outside cats are way more prone to catching harmful ailments like feline leukemia virus (FeLV,) rabies, or feline distemper. Even vaccinated cats aren’t all the time protected, particularly from FeLV. Cats usually decide up these ailments by preventing with different cats, which is a conduct that carries an extra danger of damage and an infection.


Outside cats usually tend to be infested with parasites like fleas and ticks, which might additionally carry ailments or result in harmful blood loss. They will decide up inner parasites like worms extra simply outdoors and, in flip, go them to different cats and even folks.

cat with tick
Picture Credit score: anastasiya parfenyuk, Shutterstock


Cats could also be environment friendly predators, however that doesn’t imply they gained’t function prey too. Neighborhood canines are a relentless menace, and outside cats in dense city places (like Los Angeles, the place I at present dwell with completely indoor cats) could fall sufferer to coyotes or mountain lions.


Outside cats could encounter quite a lot of toxic substances whereas wandering free. Antifreeze, poisonous crops, or rat poison are all widespread threats to roaming cats. There’s additionally the danger that outside cats could also be intentionally poisoned by people who discover them a nuisance.

People with Unhealthy Intentions

Sadly, outside cats can simply be a nuisance to the people round them. Nighttime vocalizing and preventing usually happen. Cats may stalk chickens, outside pet rabbits, or different owned prey. And, in fact, there’s the difficulty of outside cats utilizing yards and gardens as litter containers, elevating the danger of people changing into contaminated with parasites like Toxoplasmosis or roundworms.

Fed-up people could take it upon themselves to take care of nuisance cats, with unhealthy outcomes for the kitty.

Cat meowing
Picture Credit score: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

Getting Misplaced

Even when you attempt to take precautions like microchipping your cat, there’s nonetheless a big danger that outside cats may get misplaced and never come residence. Many of the cats who find yourself in animal shelters are picked up as strays. As soon as in shelters, cats are statistically far much less seemingly than canines to seek out their method again to their house owners.

Risk to Birds and Wildlife

Outside cats, owned or stray, pose a big menace to birds and wildlife. Globally, cats have contributed to the extinction of whole species. In line with estimates, outside cats in america kill billions of birds and wildlife annually. They might additionally compete with different predators for these meals sources, inflicting hurt to their populations.

cat hunting bird
Picture Credit score: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova, Shutterstock

Methods to Maintain Outside Cats Safer

In case your cat lives outdoors not less than a part of the time, listed below are some steps you may take to maintain them and native wildlife safer. First and presumably most significantly, hold your outside cat confined at evening. The evening is essentially the most harmful time in your cat, and retaining them someplace behind closed doorways at midnight is the most secure choice.

Microchip your cat and hold your contact info updated within the database. Put a cat-safe collar and ID tag in your cat for an additional layer of safety. Including a bell to the collar may also help warn birds and wildlife of your cat’s method and hold them protected.

Deal with your outside cat with a month-to-month parasite preventative that’s efficient towards fleas, ticks, and inner worms. Take them to the vet not less than every year for an examination and all really helpful vaccines. Outside cats usually want extra photographs than indoor ones due to their larger publicity stage.

If doable, solely permit your cat supervised entry to the outside, akin to leash walks or playtime in a “catio.” You can additionally use cat-safe fencing to maintain your cat within the yard and most predators out.

cat owner walking bengal cat
Picture Credit score: Amerigo_images, Shutterstock

Methods to Maintain Indoor Cats Entertained

In the event you’re frightened your cat might be bored, lazy, or achieve weight if it may’t go outdoors, there are methods to maintain your pet entertained and slim safely.

Present your cat with numerous toys, particularly people who encourage pure behaviors like stalking and searching. Actively play together with your cat each day to offer additional stimulation and construct a bond between you.

Maintain your cat’s indoor setting attention-grabbing by offering vertical play areas like cat bushes, towers, or cabinets. Give them lounging areas close to home windows to allow them to see outdoors and be safely entertained by birds and wildlife.

Fastidiously monitor your cat’s caloric consumption to make sure it’s acceptable for its dimension, age, and exercise stage. Your vet may also help you establish this quantity, in addition to aid you calculate how a lot to feed your cat.


Whereas retaining your cat as an indoor pet is the most secure and really helpful choice, the truth is that’s not all the time doable, and a few cat house owners can’t or gained’t observe this recommendation. In the event you should let your cat outdoors, observe our tricks to hold them as protected as doable. Indoor cats don’t have to steer boring, unathletic lives, however retaining them entertained could take extra effort from their house owners. In case your cat begins misbehaving, see your veterinarian for assist and recommendation earlier than giving up and turning them into an out of doors pet.

Featured Picture Credit score: Seregraff, Shutterstock

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