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

Updated on January 22, 2014

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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    • profile image

      Maggie 19 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?

    • Shaddie profile image

      Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

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

    • Cygstarz profile image

      Cygstarz 5 years ago from Maryland

      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.

    • profile image

      Charles 5 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.

    • gail641 profile image

      Gail Louise Stevenson 5 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!

    • Cygstarz profile image

      Cygstarz 6 years ago from Maryland

      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.

    • profile image

      rona 6 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!

    • profile image

      Christy Zutautas 6 years ago

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

    • profile image

      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!

    • profile image

      7 years ago

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

    • profile image

      veda  7 years ago

      thank you for all your help

    • Cygstarz profile image

      Cygstarz 7 years ago from Maryland

      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!

    • profile image

      veda  7 years ago

      what else can i do?

    • profile image

      veda 7 years ago

      i clean it and she still wont let them in

      what else can i do

    • Cygstarz profile image

      Cygstarz 7 years ago from Maryland

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

    • profile image

      veda jones 7 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 ?

    • 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.

    • profile image

      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

    • profile image

      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!

    • David Fallon profile image

      David Fallon 8 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.

    • profile image

      wordscribe41 8 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.

    • Cygstarz profile image

      Cygstarz 8 years ago from Maryland

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

    • Zabbella profile image

      Zabbella 8 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!