Understanding why your indoor cat wants to go outside

by Christy Honaker 01/01/2023

As a pet owner, it can be frustrating when your indoor cat wants to go outside. Constant howling, scratching at doors or bold attempts at escape can get tiring, and it’s hard to know what to do about it. 

While cats are perfectly capable of living healthy and fulfilling lives completely indoors, they can’t deny their natural urge to explore. Rather than risk your cat’s health and safety by letting them roam free, here is some info you can use to address the situation:

Why indoor cats try to escape

In addition to a cat’s natural curiosity and want to explore, there are some other common reasons why your furry friend might be trying to make a break for it. Your cat might be trying to get outside if:

  • They need more exercise or mental stimulation.
  • They want to hunt.
  • They want to find a mate (if not spayed or neutered). 

How to enhance the life of your indoor cat

The simplest way to keep your cat from begging to go outside is to actively play with them. Toys and games that encourage rigorous exercise, such as jumping and running, are the perfect way to help your feline friend blow off steam. 

Experiment with different types of toys to find out which your cat prefers - some are more inclined to playing solo, while others need more direct interaction. Catnip mice are great for indulging the hunter’s instincts, while “fishing pole” toys with feathered bait will encourage them to chase.

Safe ways to take your indoor cat outside

Depending on your home situation, you may have options for safely letting your cat outside. A small, enclosed backyard can be enough to satisfy their need for freedom as long as they have supervised access. 

Many cats tolerate or even enjoy wearing a small harness and leash. Even if they don’t want to go on a walk around the neighborhood, you can relax with them in your yard, knowing they can’t get too far away.

If you have the means, building a “catio” is one of the best solutions for keeping a happy cat indoors. These indoor-outdoor spaces give them fresh air and room for exercise while still keeping them safe.

If your indoor cat is clamoring for outdoor life, keep these tips in mind. While it might be tempting to give in and allow them to run free, keeping them inside will keep them healthy and safe. 

About the Author
Author

Christy Honaker

Heart of Virginia Properties Team consists of Tammy Berfield, Elizabeth Jones, Christy Honaker and Erica Cuskey. All of these ladies have strong community ties and strong family values. With 20 plus years’ experience in organizing, nurturing, multitasking, and problem-solving, they find themselves capable of juggling the many hats necessary for a real estate transaction. Most people look for one agent to help them manage the process but with Heart of Virginia Properties Team, our clients receive the benefit of 4 agents working on their behalf. They would love to welcome your referrals into the family.