ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Letting Your Indoor Cat Outside

Updated on September 17, 2011

My cat was once a 100% indoor cat; she never left the house since the one time she arrived. She was satisfied with the indoors, since the house (her world) was a decent size and she was free to explore any area of the house she wished. Sometimes, we'd let her into the basement after she discovered that it existed, and her excitement was priceless. As they say, ignorance is bliss, and since the cat didn't know the world beyond existed, she was satisfied. Eventually though, in the summer, she would start sitting by the open window. She'd hear birds chirping, see trees blowing, and witness the many other wonders of the great outdoors, all from the safe confines of the house. It seemed like the happiest medium, as she was safe, but still got to experience nature.

How My Indoor Cat Started Going Outside

Now, when I got my cat she was already declawed so from day one I was very strict about her ever being outside. However, last summer, when we set up seats on our backyard patio, I thought it would be a good idea to take her outside. At first, I would keep her in my lap the entire time. It was an exhilarating experience for her, you could tell from the look on her face. She was too scared to even step down from my lap, so I thought it would be okay to take her out in the sun every once in a while. I started using this time to brush her as it was so much easier doing it outdoors. After a week or two, the cat overcame her nerves and in a shocking move, lept off my lap into the grass! Really, how could I have underestimated the curiosity of a cat? The one thing that over-powers their fear.

The first few times she lept off I instantly grabbed her and put her back in my lap. Over-time though she got more comfortable in the outdoors, and I got more comfortable letting her off my lap. My family would also take her outside every time we went into the backyard, so we decided that we would only let her out if we were outside. She was safe under our keen eye, and the backyard was sealed with fences so there was no way for her to really run away. Dear god though, once she discovered the outdoors, she would not stop begging to go outside. Seriously, in the time she wasn't sleeping or eating, she was constantly by the kitchen sliding doors, pawing away and and constantly meowing to be let outside into the backyard.

By now, she was already in control. At one point or another, each member of my family, whether out of annoyance or pity, would take her outside for a little while. However, every time we let her in she would again beg to come outside. By this time though winter was approaching and there was no way she would be going outside in the winter. After the first snowfall, we stopped letting her out. After a few days she forgot all about the outdoors, and we vowed that next summer we would avoid the whole hassle and not let her out at all.

And then we arrive to this summer. In all honesty, I don't even know how it started. All I know is, my cat once again discovered the outdoors. Since the backyard was sealed, and all of last year not once did the cat ever manage to jump the fence, we figured it was safe to let her outside on her own. After a few trials of watching her form the indoors, we eventually started letting her outside for hours on end. For the past 2 or 3 months now, my cat has been in the backyard for upwards of 8 hours of the day. We decided it was smart to have the vet come over and give her all the shots an outdoor cat would need, not to mention powder for flea control and such. Any time we need her to come inside it's easy as she's right in the backyard, and usually comes in whenever you call her. We only let her out when it's daylight outside, so there isn't any threat to her from racoons or anything. The majority of the time she just sits in the grass or contemplates ways to catch birds. My once indoor cat, is now officially an indoor-outdoor cat. Even though she is declawed, she still safely and happily enjoys the out-doors.

How to Monitor your Cat Outdoors

Okay so, you have an indoor cat that's recently discovered the outdoors and won't stop begging to go outside. Or, you simply want your cat to enjoy a bit of nature. No worries. My cat got a very gradual transition, and still defecates and eats inside, so she knows she still lives indoors. She also knows that she can never be outside during the night, and so now doesn't even bother asking for it. You need to train your cat in the same way, and it's a lot easier than it sounds. Just make the transition gradual, watch your cat the first few times, and see how far she goes.

Boundaries are key, and must be restrictive. By this I mean, cats are curious by nature, so you can't train them to stay on your property. If they see something they want to chase, they'll instinctively go after it. You need to make sure that it isn't possible for your cat to leave the property. If your backyard is fenced, then you're in luck. Just make sure all the small nook and crannies are sealed. Cats can easily squeeze through small holes or breakages in the fence, so make sure those ways are blocked. Make sure your cat cannot jump high enough to the fence, or that there isn't anything the cat can use as a median for jumping onto the fence.

If there is no fence, trying using a harness, although often times cats are easily mangle their way out of it. Harnesses can also be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful for your cat. They can even be a choking hazard if not tied right. See if a harness works for your cat, if not, avoid it. You can try being creative and build your own little outdoor house for your cat out of wood, or better yet get a screen tent such as the one pictured to the right. They come relatively cheap and allow for protection for your cat. They usually work better for declawed cats as they can't rip through it, but even if your cat has claws there are some tents she won't be able to rip through.

Just make sure your cat is confined wherever you decide to let her out, and watch her for a couple of weeks before you leave her alone. If your cat is going outside, he/she needs additional shots and needs to be washed more often. Your cat also needs powder so that it doesn't get fleas. It is possible for your cat to be indoor-outdoor in the right limit, you just need to dedicate a little bit of time and care to it. In the long run, both you and your cat will be happier.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I honestly loved reading this as I am fairly new to cat ownership and my cat thrives to be outside. Everywhere I look for help on keeping her from running off all I can find is people that refuse to let cats outside. I understand the dangers of letting a cat outside bit honestly she is so much happier when I do. The only problem for me is that my cat can jump the fences of my yard even though they are taller then me. Thank you for an interesting article on helPing the transition

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Canada

      I have an indoor-outdoor cat tooooo! Mine always finds a way out of the backyard yet she behaves in the front. Odd, isn't it? If only my cat could meet yours... sigh

    • crazycatman profile image


      7 years ago from Dallas, TX

      I enjoyed reading this article. My cats are indoor cats but they are very curious of the world outside. When the back door is open, they carefully venture a few feet outside. I liked the tent to keep them in. Perhaps I'll try something like that or some type of cat run.

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image


      7 years ago from south dakota, usa

      6 of my rescue cats are outdoor cats though 2 come in to eat and in the winter time will be spending more time indoors as i am building a run that will be attached to their room (our old trailer is just used for storage now, so i closed off one of the bedrooms and inserted a cat door in one of the windows and that is where they go to eat and it has a heater in the winter)because i will be putting 5 male kittens out there and i don't want any fighting. i am building the run because these kittens who are six months old do not have any wisdom and will wander and get hurt or killed while my adults all stay close to the house. but with the run now all but the two that eat inside will be going into the run. great hub and right on the mark. voted up, useful and interesting.

    • dmcgaw profile image

      Danielle McGaw 

      7 years ago from Manitoba, Canada

      Great article. I have indoor cats that want to go outside all the time. Next year I am building a cat run - fenced in area that they can run up and down in!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)