Indoor Cats vs Outdoor Cats: What Is The Right Thing To Do?

Cat sitting on chair

Should Your Cat Be An Indoor Or An Outdoor Cat?

We all have different expectations when it comes to our furry friends. For example, some may be allowed on the couch, some might even be allowed on the bed and some are expected (and don’t mind) to be outside the majority of the time, too.

When it comes to our feline friends, many pet-parents feel guilty if they keep their cats indoors, as they’re worried they’re keeping them from fresh air and their natural kitty instincts...

However, being outside can be great for a cat. It all depends on what works for them and you, their owner.

In today’s blog, we’re looking at the benefits, as well as the concerns, when it comes to an indoor cat vs. an outdoor cat’s life. We hope it will help you make an informed decision on what’s going to work best for you and your favorite furball.

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats: The Pros Of Outdoor

cat near boats

1. Exercise

Cats are naturally very agile. If they’re allowed outdoors, they can climb, hunt and run wherever and whenever they please. The more frequently cats exercise, the healthier and fitter they will be and will be less likely to develop joint issues or become obese.

2. Reduces Stress

If you’re a cat parent, you’ll know that they are typically a bundle of personality and sometimes, they can feel stress and anxiety! Being able to leave the house can help your kitty stay calm and stress-free.

3. Scratch Mark-Free Furniture

Your cat instinctively wants to scratch, hunt and spray. Allowing them time in an outdoor space means less damage caused to your possessions and they are free to exhibit the behaviors they need to.

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats: The Cons Of Outdoor

1. Risk of disease

When your cat roams free, that means it can come into contact with anything it chooses - including other cats. You can’t trust other cat owners to be as up to date with their shots as you are, and The American Feral Cat Coalition estimates there are around 60 million homeless/feral felines living in the United States.

Diseases they are at risk of developing can be as serious as Feline AIDS, Feline Distemper, or Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs). On the less severe side of the scale, they are also at higher risk of catching tricky to tackle ticks, ringworm, fleas, and mites.

2. Safety

Many cat owners worry that their cat will be unsafe if allowed outdoors. They could get hit by a car, someone might be cruel to them, they might get stuck or trapped or they might get in a fatal fight with another animal.

3. Frequency of fur balls

An additional thought with an outdoor cat is that their fur will grow thicker in the winter, which will lead to more shedding and grooming come spring when the weather warms. The more your cat grooms, the more fur balls they might be prone to! Although they are perfectly normal for cats to experience, they can be unpleasant and problematic.

Read up on How To Prevent Furballs In Cats here.

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats: How To Support Your Cat Outdoors

Jumping cat in field

1. Get microchipped

Having your kitten microchipped is a great way to ensure you can find your purring pet if they were to lose their way home. Chat to your vet about how to go about getting this done.

2. Get up to date on vaccines

You should be visiting the vet once a year to stay up to date on all your furry friend’s shots, parasite screenings, and treatments.

3. Consider a leash/large cage

If you want your cat to have the benefits of an outdoor life, but still want to minimize the risks that come with it, try using a leash to walk with your cat outdoors or if you have a private outdoor space, try a large cage in which they can roam.

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats: The Pros Of Indoor

Cat on stairs

1. No hunting

There won’t be a gift in the form of a dead bird or rodent waiting for you on the doorstep. However much they mean it as a gift, it’s never pleasant. Plus, cats are estimated to kill hundreds of millions of birds a year in the US which can have a negative effect on the environment.

2. Reduced risks

As they’ll have less contact with other animals, they’ll be less likely to develop disease or catch fleas, mites and ticks.

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats: The Cons Of Indoor

1. Stress and Boredom

Like humans, cats can become frustrated and bored at being in the same surroundings for days on end. This may lead to restless behavior or developmental problems.

2. Increased Sensitivity

Cats can grow more sensitive to changes in their surroundings if they’re kept indoors. Even the smallest of alterations can cause unexpected behavior and your cat becoming irritable.

3. Less Activity

Your cat will be more likely to gain weight or develop joint problems as their exercise can will be limited.

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats: How To Support Your Cat Indoors

Cat on bed

1. Invest in a companion

Cats enjoy the company of other cats and contradictory to the myths, can love the company of dogs too! They can play and chase, which increases their activity levels, which helps them to stay healthy. Cats and other pets commonly groom and snuggle each other, which helps them feel love and affection whenever you’re out of the house.

2. Get Toy Happy

Your cat will thank you if you invest in some great interactive toys. A prey-like toy, like a fishing pole or a laser light can be super entertaining for your furry friend. Be sure to rotate your toys regularly though, as cats get bored of the same playthings quickly.

A scratching post is a must too, as they help satisfy your cats natural instinct to scratch. It’s good to have multiple types of posts around the house, as this helps keep your furniture safe.

3. Create The Purr-fect Environment

Ensure that your cat has ample opportunity to climb by providing something like a cat tree (although they still might always favor your cabinets and shelving!), and making sure there are cat perches dotted around the windows so they can soak up all the vitamin D (cats love to sunbathe!).

Most cats also love to hide. You can invest in a condo or a tunnel, but if you’re not fussed on aesthetics, every cat will be thrilled with a simple cardboard box! In addition, consider placing a bird feeder or bath near a favorite window so your kitty can watch the wild birds and nature flutter in and out. Just make sure there’s no way they can actually reach our winged friends!

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats: Our Final Thoughts...

There are pros and cons to a cat’s life being indoors or outdoors. Factors like the business of the nearest road or the general safety of the area you live in will come in to play too when making this decision. Your cat can have a happy life as either an indoor cat or an outdoor cat, so have the confidence to find what works for you.


Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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