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Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats – Best and Balanced Approach to deal with your kitty

Let me give you a short incident if you are contemplating indoor vs outdoor cats. Two weeks back, I met a couple who were living with a cat. They had a long vacation a month ago and adopted a cat post their return home. 

They mentioned their new little friend always stood looking over their gardens peeping from the windows. They had discussions with a few other friends who owned cats about its behavior. Now they are looking at ways to take their cat outdoors frequently so that she would enjoy the trip.

indoor vs outdoor cats

It is common for cat lovers and owners to think about what is the best place for a cat to be. Is it safe for cats to visit outdoors? Will cats become sedentary and be victims of diseases if they preferred to stay indoors? What are the precautions a cat owner must take when a cat is taken outdoors?

With 150 hours of research by cat lovers, this article provides you with straight details on all aspects of cat upbringing indoors vs outdoors. 

We always think it majorly depends on the cat’s preference and we always recommend a balanced approach to keep your cat entertained indoors as well as outdoors.  The proportion of indoor vs outdoor depends on your cat’s liking and your environment.

Let’s look at the following sections to understand more about the various pros and cons of indoor vs outdoor cats.

  1. Benefits of A Cat Staying Indoor
  2. Cons of A Cat Staying Indoor
  3. Benefits of A Cat Staying Outdoor
  4. Cons of A Cat Staying Outdoor
  5. Indoor vs Outdoor Cats: A Balanced Approach

Benefits of A Cat Staying Indoor

The following are the 4 critical benefits of making your cats stay indoors. Let’s look at them one by one.

Longer Lifespan 

As per WebMD, indoor cats live significantly longer and they reach 10 to 15 years of age whereas cats that spend their life outdoors just stay alive for 2 to 5 years.

Lower diseases and infections

In comparison to outdoor cats, cats that stay within four walls protect themselves from contagious diseases like rabies and parasites such as fleas.

Lower Predatory attacks

 Being outdoors, a cat is susceptible to attacks by foxes, coyotes, dogs, and other cats. These are eliminated by making your kitty stay with you.

Lower medical expenses

Being indoors, your cat’s health risk is lower and you can avoid frequent visits to the vet and medical store as your cat stays healthy.

Cons of A Cat Staying Indoor

Whether you choose an indoor or outdoor stay for your cat, there are cons. Let’s look at 3 important disadvantages of making your cat stay indoors.

Behavioral problems

The most important risk of being an indoor cat is being affected by emotional issues. Being indoors restricts the freedom of a cat to behave naturally and spontaneously. Being wild animals, it’s not surprising if they miss grass, trees, and outside surroundings. 

They might show frustration on cat owners like you and me if not properly taken care of. This can lead to expenses which is the next issue.

Furniture and damage expenses

When indoors, cats need to be looked after and cared after. If neglected and if they feel stressed, they go about damaging and scratching furniture, pissing outside the litter box, and causing more issues to cat owners

Health issues

If you think keeping indoors will make cats purely healthy, you are in for surprise. Cats that stay indoors constantly don’t have a lot of movements. They become sedentary and are at higher risk of contact obesity, arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Benefits of A Cat Staying Outdoor

We have looked at the benefits and cons of cats staying indoors. Let’s look at 2 important reasons for a cat to move out of the room and roam outdoors

Lower lifestyle-related health issues

By staying active outside, cats can significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Their bones get stronger, and healthier which reduces the risk of arthritis. Also, their body is leaner, of natural shape and they will reach their ideal weight.

Better emotional wellbeing

Just like humans, cats when they wander outdoors can stay fresh, healthy, and happy. They can jump, run, walk and also exhibit predatory moves over smaller animals. This instinct will cure their emotional stress and this will lower their worrisome behaviors at home. 

They get friendlier with humans, less startled by friends or strangers, and also won’t litter outside the litter box as their emotional state is in control.

Cons Of A Cat Staying Outdoor

Taking a cat outdoors always has consequences and let’s look at the top 3 reasons:

Shorter lifespan

As mentioned above, cats staying and roaming outdoors are exposed to a lot of risks and hence their lifespan gets shortened a lot.

Risky diseases and infections:

Outside is not safe for cats. They are vulnerable to smaller and bigger living and non-living things. 

  1. They get a variety of bacterial, and fungal infections if not in a decent environment. 
  2. They are exposed to contagious diseases such as feline leukemia, and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).
  3. Cats can ingest rat poison or other toxic chemicals
  4. Also, dangers of heatstroke exist for certain cats

Attacks by other animals and accidents

Cats like to fight with other animals including neighboring cats as well. There are instances of cats losing parts of their jaws, eyes, and skin due to rash fights. Fox, dogs, and coyotes can hunt cats and indoor cats are extremely vulnerable to such dangerous attacks. 

Also, it is very common for cats to be run over by vehicles on roads. As cat owners, we fail to understand that cat’s instincts don’t serve them against fast-moving automobiles.

Indoor Vs Outdoor Cats: A Balanced Approach

When there are multiple ways to keep a cat entertained, it is always a balanced approach depending on the cat’s preference that needs to be valued. If a cat prefers to stay indoors, provide a comfortable environment so that cats feel cared for and happy. Spend time with them. Use laser toys, cat trees, and cat toys to keep it engaged and healthy. 

indoor vs outdoor cats
Cats resting and playing on cat trees

When you feel, your cat wants to go outdoors, try to use a leash that is comfortable for your cat and always stay close to her. Initially, the cat might try to run away and enjoy alone. But with practice, you can make your cat play with you even outdoors. This keeps the cat safe while at the same time it has the chance to express itself and feel natural.

indoor vs outdoor cats
cat with a leash feeling safe and enjoying nature

When discussing about taking cats outdoors, the importance of vaccination can’t be stressed more. “If the cat is vaccinated it should be okay for the most part. If it isn’t then it can get various viruses. The cat can also get affected by internal parasites and fleas” says our team vet Dr. Iulia Mihai, with a Master’s degree in Pets’ Pathology and PhD in Pets’ Cancer

Having a cat patio that is safe within the garden and protected by fences is not a bad idea. The proportion of time that a cat must spend outdoors and indoors is specific to every cat and it is our responsibility as cat lovers and owners to spend time and know the same by observing and playing with them.


Cats are cute, vulnerable, and active friends. Keeping them indoors makes them safer but at the same time, it increases emotional issues and keeps them less natural. A balanced approach of spending time with our cute friends, providing toys, and cat trees within the house and exposing them outdoors for a limited time with our supervision is a healthy way of keeping cats safe, healthy, and happy. If you feel your cats experience certain issues even after adopting a balanced approach, you might be missing some hidden issues and it is best to take her to the vet immediately. 

If you are still interested in reading more about cats, continue reading top 10 reasons why cat can’t meow and reasons why your cat won’t use litter box.



Girish is a cat enthusiast and lover of cats. He firmly believes to create an impact by bringing the right information about cats to their owners

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