Yes or No: Should I Let My Cat Outside?

“Cats are wild animals! They need to be let outside!”

How many times have you heard that argument? If you’re like me, more than you can count. 

But here’s the thing: The cats who live in our homes as companion pets are domesticated animals. This means that they don’t necessarily need to go outside.

Orange tabby cat with fluffy tail walking on green grass with text “should I let my cat outside?”

In fact, your cat is a lot safer staying inside. 

Which is why I believe…

Indoor Cats Should Stay Indoors

That’s right. If you want what’s truly safest for your pet, you need to keep them indoors. And I’m not just saying that as a clingy, helicopter cat mom. There are real dangers outside that could seriously injure your cat or even cut their life short. 

Dangers to Cats Outside

Animal Predators

Even if you live in the suburbs or middle of the city, there are true wild animals running free that could harm your kitty. Coyotes, foxes, and even snakes can hurt your cat in the blink of an eye—so it’s best to never give them the chance. 

Gray coyote walking in suburban backyard caught on nest camera

That’s one big coyote! He was in our backyard running around in the middle of the night. 

Harmful Pests

Mosquito bites are the worst, aren’t they? Insects like them—and a whole slew of others—can carry life-threatening diseases that can infect your cat. 

Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, there are preventative measures you can take for your kitty to help protect them from the stray bug that enters your house without your permission. Reach out to your vet and follow their guidance on this. 

Other Cats

There are community cats living in your neighborhood. Even if you don’t see them, I promise, they’re there! We have 4 or 5 who frequently pass by our place. 

Collage of four different outdoor community cats walking through a backyard caught on nest camera

Here are a few of them that we see walk across our back patio on a regular basis. 

But even if they look friendly, those cats could easily get in a fight with your own cat that could end up with either of them getting hurt. No one wants that. 

Certain Plants

Not all plants are safe for your pet to be around. You don’t know what your cat may find out there in nature, and you don’t want them sticking their nose in something that could make them sick. 


We all know that people make bad choices and drive distracted. Don’t let your kitty be a victim of a careless human. Instead, keep them inside, far away from the street. 

Safer Ways to Let Your Cat Experience the Outdoors

I get it—you want your cat to live a full, vibrant life. But you don’t have to swing open your back door and let them freely roam the neighborhood to do that. There are ways that still allow your kitty to enjoy the outdoors while keeping them safer. For example:


An enclosed patio—also known as a catio—is a great option for letting your cat feel like she is outside while still keeping her safely indoors. 

Just be sure to fully secure the structure so that your cat can’t find an escape route, and no other animals can sneak in. 

Walks on a Leash

Don’t make fun of it until you’ve tried it! A supervised walk—whether with a leash and harness, cat backpack, or even pet stroller—can be a great experience for your cat and you!

Gray cat sitting on vet exam table inside of a gray cat backpack carrier

Rainbow loves her catpack! 

Be sure to start with short, slow walks outside so that your kitty can get comfortable with the experience. 


Simply raising your blinds to let your kitty see out is a great option for entertaining her with the outside world! Try to make it so that there are a few different windows around your home set up so your kitty can lay by them and look out. Bonus points if they look out at a tree or other place birds hang around!

Tortoiseshell cat sitting in a white cat hammock bed with blankets looking outside through a window

There is almost always a kitty sitting in my bedroom watching birds. 

But never open the window and leave your cat there alone. Any open windows require constant supervision—even if there is a screen! Cats are expert escape artists. 

A Safe Cat is a Happy Cat 

Ultimately, letting your indoor cat outside means you’re putting them at risk of injury, sickness, and even death. Why would you do that when an indoor-only life can be completely fulfilling—and a whole lot safer?

I’ll never let my cats outside unsupervised or unsecured. They’ll stay healthy and happy—and so will I!

I know a lot about cats, but I’m not a veterinarian or animal welfare professional. Please don’t take any of the statements I give as medical advice and do always consult your trusted vet, rescue group, or welfare professional, especially if your cat is experiencing behavioral or physical challenges.

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