The Dangers Outside - Turn Your Cat into an Indoor Only Pet!

My cat, Oscar, was once an outdoor, creature of the night. However, now that I am educated on the hazards of outdoor living, he has since become an indoor only pet. Trust me when I say that I understand why cats enjoy going outside. After all, life outside is exciting! There are things to hunt, other cats to play with and sunbeams to sleep in. Though life on the "outside" may be fun and exciting to your cat, the dangers are too great of a risk. After all, we are talking about the safety and well being of your feline friend. Caring for your cat is much easier to do INSIDE of your home than out!

Did you know that the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is only FIVE YEARS! That is shocking when you compare it to the life expectancy of an indoor only feline. If properly cared for, indoor only cats can live 18 to 20 years! So, what exactly are the dangers that outdoor cats face on a daily basis you ask? Well, let me tell you!

The Dangers of the Great Outdoors

  • Automobiles – Need I say more?!
  • Other Cats – Many outdoor cats are territorial and will fight to protect what is theirs. Cat fights are NOT pretty.
  • Disease - There are many diseases that an outdoor cat can become infected with. Some diseases such as Feline Leukemia, Rabies and Immunodeficiency Viruses are transmitted from one animal to another.
  • Poison – Outdoor animals run the risk of coming into contact with poisons such as rat and insect poison as well as plant and garden fertilizers.
  • People – Sad but true, there are people in the world who are NOT so kind to animals. In fact, people have been known to abuse and torture animals. Though most of the people that live in your neighborhood are most likely kind to the animals they come across do you want to risk your cat with the ONE person who is not?
  • Fleas, Ticks & Mites, Oh my! - If you cat is an indoor only pet, he or she will be less likely to become infested with fleas, ticks and mites.
  • Help, I'm Lost! – Many cats that are free roaming, outdoor animals, often, at one point or another, end up getting lost or picked up by animal control. If your cat does not have the proper identification, it might be difficult to locate him.
  • Thieves – As I previously mentioned, there are some "not so nice" people in this world. If you leave your cat outdoors, there is a chance he could be stolen.
  • Dogs – Stray dogs that come across outdoor cats are not always so kind.

The reasons listed above should be enough to convince you that it is smarter to have an INDOOR rather than an outdoor cat. Indoor cats receive better care and live longer. If you are worried that your cat won't be happy staying inside, there are things you can do and steps you can take in order to convince him that life IN THE HOUSE, isn't so bad after all.


If your cat MUST go outside...consider these products!

Make sure your indoor cat has a lot of toys to play with!
Make sure your indoor cat has a lot of toys to play with!

Inside Fun for the Outside Cat!

Indoor cats that do not receive enough stimulation often become overweight and end up spending a lot of their time sleeping. Don't get me wrong, cats are known for LOOOONG naps, so don't be too alarmed if your puss sleeps a lot!

It is important that your cat has a lot of toys to play with. It is also a good idea if you spend at least 30 to 60 minutes a day actually playing with your cat. I know, sounds like a lot of time, however, you can watch TV and play with your cat at the same time. Trust me, it's not hard to do (besides, the bonding time will be good for BOTH of you). Another great "cat item" to invest in is a cat tree! Cat trees allow your cat to retreat to their own "safe place" high above the rest of the room. They will also enjoy the scratching opportunities that cat trees provide. If possible, put the cat tree near a window. If given the opportunity, many cats will gaze outside for hours. Another great idea is to get a second cat! Contrary to what people may say, cats are NOT loners, they enjoy companionship! Finally, if you feel guilty about your cat not being allowed to go outside then buy him a cat harness and take him for a walk! Not all cats enjoy going for walks…but you'll never know until you try! Good luck and may you be successful at bringing your outside cat…in!

Cats enjoy companionship!
Cats enjoy companionship!

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Comments 23 comments

Zabbella profile image

Zabbella 7 years ago from NJ-USA

Yep, I lost my cat when we opened the door for our dog. He either got out and kept going, or like you said, someone not very nice, took him. He was beautiful!

Cygstarz profile image

Cygstarz 7 years ago from Maryland Author

So sorry to hear that!! I can't imagine losing one of my pets.

wordscribe41 7 years ago

Fantastic hub. Our cats have always been indoor kitties for the reason you cited. They're all lived until 16 or 17. We keep them well entertained, though.

David Fallon profile image

David Fallon 7 years ago from Pomona, CA

You are right...but it is SOO hard to keep them indoors. Paco and Trixie try to bolt out every time they hear the door creak.

Connie 7 years ago

My cat is scared of the outdoors. We have fishes as well and he doesn't even try to hurt them. I'm his best pal!

Glenda 7 years ago

My cat was a wild stray and he adopted us, he has by far the best behaved cat that I have ever owned.He goes in and out during the day & comes in at dark ,he knows the routine and is a very happy cat . He doesn't claw the couch or get on counters he is the best behaved cat ever!! everyone loves him when they see his personality even the people that don't like cats give him rave reviews!!! He is in his 9th year with us

somelikeitscott profile image

somelikeitscott 7 years ago from Las Vegas

This is a great hub! We have two cats that "adopted" us by literally walking through the door one day but because they were strays for the first six months of their lives we've let them go in and out. I know, I know, we should keep them inside but I'm a bad parent, they whine and it just seems easier to let them out than listen to it.

veda jones 6 years ago

i have three cats,they go outside during the day and come in at nite but yester day i forgot to clean the litter box and my mom through them outside like wild animals what should i do ?

Cygstarz profile image

Cygstarz 6 years ago from Maryland Author

Veda: Clean the litter box and maybe she will let them back in! :-) Good Luck!

veda 6 years ago

i clean it and she still wont let them in

what else can i do

veda  6 years ago

what else can i do?

Cygstarz profile image

Cygstarz 6 years ago from Maryland Author

Veda: Hmmmm, I don't know. Maybe once some time passes she will allow them back in the house. In the meantime, make sure they are safe outside! Good Luck!

veda  6 years ago

thank you for all your help

6 years ago

my cat is 13 years old and has always been an outdoor cat, she is still going strong

saucy 6 years ago

We had an indoor/outdoor cat that we could not keep inside. He would get in fights and we would clean the wounds, but he lived for 18 years!

Christy Zutautas 6 years ago

Fantastic hub, I enjoyed reading it. Cats are definitely safer indoors. :)

rona 5 years ago

You mean that you will never let your kids playing and staying outside because there are cars, people and they can get lost? they are cat, they know what they are doing. it's so sick to buy them a cat-tree instead of letting them enjoy a REAL tree outside...come on they are animals! mother nature put them "outdoor" so it can't be so wrong!

Cygstarz profile image

Cygstarz 5 years ago from Maryland Author

Rona: I understand what you are saying...however it is a fact that indoor only cats live much longer lives than those that live outside. I take care of several "feral" cats and unfortunately, one was run over by a car just last week (he was only 2!). When I adopted a cat from the ASPCA I had to sign a contract stating that I would keep the cat I was adopting INSIDE at all times!

I do think that where you live also plays a major role in whether or not your cat goes outside. If you live in the country...obviously...your cat would have less chance of being run over by a car.

In any event, thank you for your comment.

gail641 profile image

gail641 4 years ago from Mason City

I think its definetly best to keep the cat indoors. I adopted a cat 10 years ago, the vet said to keep the cat indoors-never let the cat run loose outdoors. It is so dangerous and the cat would be at great risk of being hurt, maimed or killed. I don't want my cat to be killed! I got another cat and she stays indoors, too. She's a real sweet cat, and my first one is, too. That's her picture in the little square. Thanks. Great hub!

Charles 4 years ago

I lost my best friend BANDIT, it was the worst day of my life. He was only 10 years old. He was so full of life, and very happy. He was friendly, loving, well behaved. He was neutered at 6 months. He loved prowling at night and i gave him that freedom. I should have known better, it is all my fault. Never let your feline friend prowl at night. BANDIT-04/15/02-05/30/12.

Cygstarz profile image

Cygstarz 4 years ago from Maryland Author

Charles: Thank you for your comment. Sorry to hear about Bandit. I bet you really miss him. :-( Don't be too hard on yourself...sometimes it is hard to say "No" when your cat is begging to go out. I am glad that you had ten wonderful years with Bandit...and may he rest in peace. Take care.

Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 3 years ago from Washington state

Indoor cats all the way! No cat should ever be allowed to free-roam outside.

Maggie 11 months ago

We got our two year old cat when he was about eight weeks old. For two years we tried to make him stay indoors. He got out many times opening the sliding glass door himself or just slipping out when we opened the door. He loves his one year old sister to death but that didn't make him stay. He always came back and spent most of his time inside. Recently he started to pee and spray in the house, finally peeing on our bed. Now we have banished him to the outside. He is mostly happy with the change but once in awhile asks to come inside or looks longingly at our female cat. I miss him being inside with us and worry about him. What can we do?

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