Ought to Cats Be Indoor or Outside Pets? Execs, Cons & Security Suggestions

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

Whereas we could love our cats, many people additionally acknowledge that dwelling with them may be difficult. Not solely do you have got the mess and scent of litter containers in your own home, however cats additionally shed, scratch furnishings, and typically pee in inappropriate places. In case your cat has developed unhealthy habits, you’ve in all probability been tempted to make them an outside pet.

Many cat homeowners wrestle with whether or not cats ought to be indoor or out of doors pets. In my very own life, I’ve owned totally indoor cats, out of doors cats, and indoor-outdoor cats, so I’m additionally conversant in this dilemma. On this article, we’ll take a look at the arguments for and in opposition to cats dwelling 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 out of doors entry is harmful for cats and suggest they be saved indoors. We’ll go into the reasoning behind this advice later on this article, however many house owners proceed to let their cats exterior regardless of the dangers.

In some instances, homeowners could fear that maintaining cats inside is merciless and prevents them from utilizing their instincts and abilities as predators. Others could imagine their cat will get extra train and keep at a wholesome weight extra simply in the event that they’re allowed exterior. One other widespread purpose cats transition to out of doors pets is persistent behavioral issues corresponding to urine marking or aggression.

Typically, homeowners will undertake or assume the care of a cat that has already lived outside for years. For instance, you resolve to meet a lifelong dream of proudly owning property within the nation solely to search out that your new buy comes full with a number of barn cats. In these situations, homeowners could really feel that the out of doors cat will wrestle to transition to life indoors and select to not pressure the problem.

tabby cat hunting ourtdoor
Picture Credit score: VeleMarinkovic, Pixabay

What the Analysis and Consultants Say

The Humane Society and veterinarians agree that maintaining cats indoors is the most secure possibility. On common, indoor cats dwell as many as 10 years longer than exterior cats. Cats with uncontrolled out of doors entry not solely face many risks, however they’ll additionally pose a risk 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 out of doors cats. Whereas dwelling in a rural space, our household misplaced two out of doors cats to mysterious circumstances. They only by no means got here house. Listed here are among the risks cats who dwell as out of doors pets could encounter or trigger:

Automotive Accidents

The most important risk to an outside cat could also be automobiles, even in the event you dwell in a rural space. Analysis exhibits that automotive accidents are a number one explanation for loss of life and damage for out of doors 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 at all times protected, particularly from FeLV. Cats usually decide up these ailments by combating with different cats, which is a habits that carries an extra threat 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 exterior and, in flip, go them to different cats and even individuals.

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 canine are a continuing risk, and out of doors cats in dense city places (like Los Angeles, the place I at present dwell with solely indoor cats) could fall sufferer to coyotes or mountain lions.


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

People with Unhealthy Intentions

Sadly, out of doors cats can simply be a nuisance to the people round them. Nighttime vocalizing and combating usually happen. Cats might also stalk chickens, out of doors pet rabbits, or different owned prey. And, after all, there’s the problem of out of doors cats utilizing yards and gardens as litter containers, elevating the chance 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 in the event you attempt to take precautions like microchipping your cat, there’s nonetheless a major threat that out of doors cats may get misplaced and never come house. A lot 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 probably than canine to search out their means again to their homeowners.

Risk to Birds and Wildlife

Outside cats, owned or stray, pose a major risk to birds and wildlife. Globally, cats have contributed to the extinction of total species. In accordance with estimates, out of doors cats in america kill billions of birds and wildlife every year. 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 exterior at the very least a part of the time, listed here are some steps you possibly can take to maintain them and native wildlife safer. First and probably most significantly, maintain your out of doors cat confined at evening. The evening is essentially the most harmful time to your cat, and maintaining them someplace behind closed doorways at midnight is the most secure possibility.

Microchip your cat and maintain your contact data 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 can assist warn birds and wildlife of your cat’s strategy and maintain them protected.

Deal with your out of doors cat with a month-to-month parasite preventative that’s efficient in opposition to fleas, ticks, and inner worms. Take them to the vet at the very least yearly for an examination and all beneficial vaccines. Outside cats usually want extra photographs than indoor ones due to their increased publicity degree.

If doable, solely permit your cat supervised entry to the outside, corresponding 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 apprehensive your cat can be bored, lazy, or acquire weight if it might’t go exterior, 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 looking. Actively play along with your cat every day to supply 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 exterior and be safely entertained by birds and wildlife.

Rigorously monitor your cat’s caloric consumption to make sure it’s acceptable for its measurement, age, and exercise degree. Your vet can assist you identify this quantity, in addition to assist you calculate how a lot to feed your cat.


Whereas maintaining your cat as an indoor pet is the most secure and beneficial possibility, the fact is that’s not at all times doable, and a few cat homeowners can’t or gained’t comply with this recommendation. In the event you should let your cat exterior, comply with our tricks to maintain them as protected as doable. Indoor cats don’t have to steer boring, unathletic lives, however maintaining them entertained could take extra effort from their homeowners. In case your cat begins misbehaving, see your veterinarian for assist and recommendation earlier than giving up and turning them into an outside pet.

Featured Picture Credit score: Seregraff, Shutterstock

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