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Do Cats Belong Outside?

Updated on February 27, 2014

People have had a long relationship with cats spanning back to the time of the ancient Egyptians. It seems that it has been common practice for domestic cats to have command of both the inside and outside domains. But recently people have begun to question the idea that cats must or should be allowed to go outside. Here are some things to consider when making the decision for your pet.

Cats Inside Live Longer

According to Kathy Blumenstock of Animal Planet, outside cats may live under half the length of time as compared to their safer and healthier indoor cat counterparts. She notes that an "outdoor cat's life span sounds like a prison sentence: two to five years."

From cat owners, to vets, to animal rights activists, many agree that cats who are indoors live longer and healthier lives. For the owner there is less worry and more time to bond with your animal. For the cat there is less stress and less danger. And indoor cat is happier and more secure than an outdoor one.

There are many reasons for this. Here are some of the reasons you should keep your cat or cats inside.


Cats that go outside are often exposed to more diseases than cats who spend their lives indoors. They are more likely to pick up anything from fleas to FIV. While vaccinations or medications can help to prevent some diseases, your cat must still face challenges to her overall physical health when she is outside. Exposure to these health dangers can cause a cat to live a shorter or less healthy life.


Cats who go outside experience more dangers. They may get in a fight with another cat, dog or a wild animal. Any of these may lead to extensive injuries. He may even find himself unable to return home because of the injuries.

Outside cats are also susceptible to danger from passing cars or even their owner’s vehicles. Cats have been known to climb into warm engines, spare tires or think that sleeping behind a wheel provides a nice, comfortable place to nap. Any of these scenarios could prove to be fatal for the cat if the car starts moving before he has a chance to move.


Cats outside must deal with a range of elements that can compromise their overall health. Extreme heat or snow can stress your cat and his system. Getting wet and overexposed can make him more susceptible to respiratory illnesses.

Cats are also more likely to be exposed to products that could make them sick or kill them. Plants that are toxic, garbage containing poisonous materials, chemicals such as antifreeze or pesticides or even deliberate poisoning can be dangerous obstacles to your cat’s well-being. Cat’s bodies and systems do not tolerate toxic substances very well and exposure may lead to the loss of your cat.

Inside cats can be just as happy as ones that go outside.
Inside cats can be just as happy as ones that go outside. | Source

It's Not Too Late

If you have a cat that lives outdoors or one that goes outdoors sometimes, it is not too late to transition them to an indoor-only pet. You might begin by placing them in an interior room for a few days with food, water, a litter box and frequent visits from you. They may likely not be happy with the transition at first and may want to hide. But just as it takes awhile to adapt a new pet to your household, with time your outdoor cat can begin to adjust to not going outside. It takes time and patience and a strong determination to do what is best for your cat.

Any cat can adjust to an indoor only life. Once you have made the transition you can be assured that you have given your cat the possibility of a longer and healthier life.

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