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Article: Why Does My Cat Want to Go Outside?

Why Does My Cat Want to Go Outside?

Watching your fur baby nap on her cat tree or lazily bat a ball of yarn, it’s easy to forget that her ancestors were fearsome hunters. Sometimes, that wildcat blood makes your kitty want to go outside and prowl the neighborhood. But your little tiger isn’t really a wildcat, and you might feel hesitant about branching out to the great outdoors. Read on to learn why your cat wants to go outside all of a sudden, how to help her enjoy safe time outdoors, and how to keep her from meowing at the door 24/7.


Reasons for Cat Constantly Meowing and Yowling to Go Outside

Sometimes, a kitty who’s always been perfectly happy as an indoor cat will suddenly get the travel bug. If your little tiger is constantly standing in front of the door meowing, that’s a sure sign she wants to go out. 

So why does your cat want to go outside all of a sudden? Here are some possible answers:


Is there a sexy new cat in town? If so, that could be the reason for your kitty’s sudden enthusiasm for the outdoors. 

Something new outside

Cats are naturally curious. If there’s a new bird’s nest outside your window, a squirrel family, or other exciting discoveries to be made, your kitty may be itching to get out and explore them. 

Lack of stimulation

Other times, your cat may simply be bored with her indoor lifestyle. Going outside provides more stimulation, with countless sights and sounds for your kitty to enjoy. Walks around the block & poking around your yard might be enough to keep your kitty's curiosity satisfied, but if they're up for more adventure then go for it!

Reasons You Might Want to Let your Cat Outside

Going outside can be good for kitties. There are limitless opportunities for your cat to experience the enrichment that being outside brings. Not to mention all of the quality time you can share together! There are SO many benefits of letting your cat roam free (safely, of course!) Here are just a few:


Cats need a certain amount of exercise each day, and outdoor cats get that exercise naturally. With so many opportunities to run, climb, and explore, an outdoor kitty is less likely to gain weight and suffer from related health issues. Not to mention that it helps them get out some pent up energy! 

Mental health

The outdoors is an exciting world full of new sights, smells, and sounds. Because kitties are naturally curious, they need a healthy amount of mental stimulation every day. Going outside allows your little tiger to boost his mental health. Hoomans aren't the only ones who need that good old vitamin D! 

Save your furniture

Outdoor cats are much less likely to scratch up your furniture or tear your brand new curtains, since they have plenty of opportunities for scratching outside. Pawing around the lawn or scratching & climbing trees is a great way for them to scratch that itch!


Reasons You Might Want to Keep Your Kitty Indoors

But before letting your cat run out the door, you may want to weigh the pros and cons. Ultimately you know your kitty best & should not try to stretch them too far outside of their comfort zone. Every cat responds differently to getting out of their usual safe space. Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement & extra treats til they've got the knack for adventure, while other kitties won't ever take to it - and that's ok! Either way, there are risks that you should make yourself aware of before venturing out:

Run-Ins and Attacks by Other Animals

Going outside puts your cat at risk from other cats, dogs, and, depending on where you live, wild animals like foxes and coyotes. That's why it's important to always make sure you are with your cat and that they have a trusted harness & leash or cat backpack to keep them safely within arm's reach & to give them a place of security if they get spooked.

Contagious diseases

Because of potential run-ins with other animals, outdoor kitties are more likely to get contagious diseases. There’s also a risk of kidney disease if your kitty eats toxic plants, so make yourself aware of the wildlife & flora in your area before going on any deep forest hikes. 

Ticks & Fleas

It goes without saying that outdoors, your cat is more exposed to parasites like ticks and fleas. Check them after you've been outdoors if these pesky bugs hang in your area.

Taking Your Cat Outside Safely

If you’re not sure you want to let your fur baby out on her own, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways for you and kitty to enjoy safe outdoor time.

Carrying Your Cat

If you’re just going for a short stroll, you can always try carrying your cat. Approach your kitty slowly. Place one hand under his chest and one under his abdomen to keep him supported and comfortable during the walk.

Leash Training

To train your kitty to walk on a leash & start by having her wear a harness, without a leash, indoors. Then, try leash walking her indoors, first with no tension on the leash. Once she’s comfortable with tension on the leash, you’re ready to take your fur baby outside. Read this article for all of our best advice on harness training!

A Personal Carrier

For a longer walk (or maybe even a hike), try using a carrier or cat backpack. Make sure your kitty has a clear view and is nice and comfortable in his carrier. Try wearing it on your front if they prefer having a forward facing view of their surroundings.

Wheeled Walker or Stroller

Another option is to take your kitty out in a walker or stroller. (We've got one in the works, furriends!) Most cats enjoy strollers, and many allow you to strap your fur baby in so he can’t run off after squirrels and other kitties.

Outdoor Enclosures

Outdoor enclosures are a great way to let your kitty roam while keeping her safe in the yard. Of course, cats are master escape artists, so make sure your fence is high enough and doesn’t have any holes or gaps.

How to Stop Your Cat from Wanting to Go Outside  

Constant meowing and scratching on the door gets old fast. If going outdoors isn’t a good option for your kitty, you might try scheduling short walks, giving him more indoor stimulation, and providing a view of the outdoors.

Schedule walks

If leash walking works for your fur baby, you might want to schedule a walk once or twice a week. Keep it consistent so your kitty always knows when it’s time to go out. 

Keep him entertained indoors

If your cat keeps wanting to go outside, he may simply be bored. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders, scratching posts, and climbing towers can keep your fur baby entertained so he’s not constantly meowing at the door. Regular playtime can also help.

Provide a view of the outdoors

Your feline may simply want to see what’s going on in the outside world. Set up a tower or bed by the window to give your kitty a prime view of the outdoors.

How to Keep Your Cat from Running Out the Door

Your fur baby may be so eager to go outside that she runs out the door as soon as you open it. If you don’t want her going out unsupervised, it’s a good idea to nip this behavior in the bud. 

Reward your kitty for staying indoors

Before opening the door, put your kitty’s favorite treat in her bed or cat tree—and make sure it's positioned far away from the door. You may also want to put a treat there when people knock or ring the doorbell so your kitty knows to go to her tree every time the door opens.

Spray or neuter your kitty

Although it doesn’t work every time, most cats try to escape much less often after being sprayed or neutered. Spraying or neutering can also help your kitty avoid health issues and live a longer life.

Keep your kitty away from the door area

If you don’t want your fur baby escaping, let her know that the entryway is off limits. You could clap or hiss each time she goes to the door, or make the area unpleasant by covering the floor with aluminum foil or Sticky Paws tape—both things that kitties hate.

Carry your kitty outside

If you do want to take your cat outside but don't want them running out on their own, never let them walk outside on their harness. Instead, pick them up after their harness & leash are on, so they get used to being carried out & don't bolt out the door as soon as their harness is fastened.




Does letting cats outside make them happy? 

Cats do enjoy going outside: they like the exercise, mental stimulation, and adventure. But indoor kitties can be perfectly happy if they get the entertainment and exercise they need.

What are the signs of an unhappy cat?

Signs that a cat is unhappy include:

  • Hiding
  • Yowling
  • Body language: such as ears back, fur standing up, or tucked tail
  • Being aggressive
  • Sudden changes in sleeping, grooming, or eating habits
  • Disinterest in playing or in being active


Do cats naturally want to go outside?

Cats have a natural instinct to hunt and explore, and going outside is how they fulfill that desire. That being said, every kitty is different, and there are plenty of ways to help your fur baby get her wildcat fix without letting her outdoors.

Why does my indoor cat want outside?

Even indoor cats can sometimes get the urge to go outside. This may be due to changes in your kitty’s environment or boredom with his indoor lifestyle.

Is it cruel to keep a cat indoors all the time?

As long as you’re providing enough exercise and stimulation for your kitty, there’s nothing wrong with keeping her safely indoors. 

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