You are probably reading this because you want to know the answer to your question, “Why does my cat want to go outside?” If you haven’t already, you should also read our last Q & A article that answers the question “Why Does My Cat Want To Go Outside At Night?” because they’re both related and also pretty important to maintaining a healthy environment for your cat.
You can feel free to keep reading though because I will provide the link to this post at the bottom of this post. First I want you to focus on and understand why your cat wants, and needs, to spend some time outside preferably on a daily basis.
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Why Does My Cat Want To Go Outside Revealed
By nature, cats have adapted to being outside. This is because they have the need to hunt and part of hunting is roaming around their territory.
The function of their territory is to map out where they hunt which tends to be a pretty systematic pathway. Males also use their territory to establish an area where the females are ‘theirs’ to breed with although female cats will always breed with all males in the area regardless of their authority status.
Along the course of history, they figured out that living communally with people is advantageous as a means of easy shelter and food.
There are no differences between outdoor and indoor cats as far as their species goes. They all have the same needs and can easily move from living completely indoors to living completely outdoors or vice versa.
The reason for this is the strong drive of their instincts. Even though they’re considered to be domesticated they’re actually, technically not.
They are naturally driven to hunt, climb and be outdoors. Of course, some cats have stronger feelings than others to partake in any of these but the general consensus is the same.
There are also a couple of breeds that may have weaker instincts than others. For instance, Ragdolls are known for not having a strong instinct to climb.
This is not the case for most other breeds of cats. As a matter of fact, no one really knows how it happened with the Ragdoll breed because regardless of breeding conditions, cats have always maintained pretty much the same instinctual habits across all breeds.
All this to say that your cat wants to be outside roaming around for part of the day. Usually in the evenings and early mornings because that’s when they’re typically driven to hunt.
Unneutered males may want to go out more frequently when there are females in the area that are in season. This is usually in the Spring, Summer and early Fall months depending on where you live.
How To Stop A Cat Wanting To Go Outside? Really??
Since your cat’s desire to go outside is strictly instinctual, getting it to stop ‘wanting’ to go outside is near impossible. That’s like telling you to stop eating or doing things that are crucial to your survival.
In your cat’s mind, you not wanting it to go outside is you not wanting it to be itself. Is that really what you intend by trying to get it to stop wanting to go outside?
Some suggestions I have for you is that you can try distracting it with an interactive toy. There are a couple of good ones out now.
Get a couple of different kinds so you can keep the activities fresh. Make sure they get your cat very active or you can elicit the help of the almighty laser light! lol!
Of course, this isn’t the best option but if you wear your cat out it should work as a temporal fix but…good luck with that, especially if you have a kitten or young adult cat.
Your arm has my best wishes…haha! I’m just kidding. On a serious note, please keep reading because I have another option that I will talk about a little later which I’m sure you will like a lot better.
Should I Let My Cat Go Outside?
There is a lot of debate on this topic. Some people will tell you that cats don’t have to go outside having raised cats indoors their whole lives with no issues.
Some people will tell you that cats need to be outside because it’s their natural instinct to be outdoors.
Here’s my two cents. Do you like to be cooped up inside all the time? Can people survive being inside all the time?
Sure you can but would you feel great doing it? Of course not! That’s crazy talk. As a matter of fact, doing so makes you feel more negative, sluggish and downright nasty.
The same goes for cats. Being out in nature just has that positive effect on us and it will for your cat as well.
That is how Earth is able to sustain life because of the environmental reactions with sunlight. The second piece to this puzzle is fresh air. Your cat will benefit from the fresh air as well.
So in addition to being able to express its instincts, being outside has a couple of unforeseen benefits for your kitty as well. But it is as simple as opening the door and letting them free-roam?
Keep reading because we have much to discuss.
Would You Let Your Toddler Free-Roam?
I realize that this is a loaded question and I mean it to be. Of course no one in their right mind will let a toddler out of their site and just roam around the neighborhood unattended.
So why do we so carelessly do it with our cats or even dogs for that matter? Then when they get stuck in a tree or cause some trouble with the neighbors it’s the cat’s fault?
Even though an adult cat is an ‘adult’ it still doesn’t understand things like we do. Remember that as humans we have a higher level of intelligence than most other animals.
This isn’t to be taken lightly or mean that other animals don’t have sense but we have more and understand things better. We also understand human introduced things like machinery, electricity, and wells a lot better than a cat will who might just see relative structures as cat climbing structures or hideouts.
A good example of this is winter time when cats jump in the motor. The next most terrifying thing to see after a cat being fed to fighting dogs is a cat or kitten that’s been torn up by a truck motor. It’s especially worse when you didn’t know the cat was there in the first place.
While we know the danger of the cat jumping into the motor, the cat doesn’t see this as dangerous. It’s just trying to find a warm, sheltered place to escape the winter cold.
In addition, the cat’s owner won’t ever know the cat was harmed or that it wasn’t doing so good outside in the cold. Something like this could be easily avoided by providing your cat with a safe place to interact with nature.
But there are so many other dangers your cat faces when being outdoors such as:
natural predators both flying and ground
ex. hawks, eagles, coyotes, wolves, etc.
drainage holes and manholes
getting hit by a vehicle when crossing the road
being mistaken for a stray and taken to a shelter. God forbid it gets euthanized like it would here in NC.
and the list goes on and on
So going forward, if you let your cat free-roam outside, please think twice and protect them better while providing them their necessary time outside. I know it seems impossible or ridiculous right now but bare with me because I’m going to show you exactly what you need to do.
How To Give Your Cat Healthy, Safe Outdoor Space
I’m not sure about you but walking a cat seems awfully ridiculous to me especially if you understand cat behavior. Cats aren’t submissive or pleasers like dogs so being led around on a leash just doesn’t make sense.
But hey, they sell them in stores so it must work for some people…right? Well, I hate to break it to you but most pet stores, especially the large ones, are NOT the best resource to find good information about your pets. #justsayin
And even if leash walking works with cats, it still doesn’t feed their instincts because how is one supposed to hunt while being led around. It just doesn’t work but it is a good idea.
A better alternative is to use an outdoor cat enclosure to provide your cat with the space it needs to safely interact with nature. It wants to smell, jump, climb and chase around things outdoors.
These units are very customizable and can be setup attached to your home or freestanding. You want to make sure that the one you choose has platforms, shelter, and enough room for your cat to at least comfortably turn around in.
I recommend larger ones over smaller ones but not everyone can facilitate them. Small ones will work fine because your cat will still be able to interact with nature on its own terms without being distracted or pulled in a different direction to where its attention lies.
What Are The Best Outdoor Cat Enclosures For Your Cat?
In order to choose the best outdoor cat enclosures for your cat it really depends on you and your cat. You have two options as far as these go.
You can either:
build your own
buy an affordable cat enclosure from Amazon because almost anywhere else is overpriced garbage
If you’re handy and can handle large carpentry jobs, Catiospaces has plans that you can purchase or you can Google through a bunch of really crappy ones online. There are some gems but its really a headache.
A better option for you is to just buy a kit. This will take out the guesswork and you have everything you need all packaged together.
Even if you’re a DIY nut, you’ll still get your fix because most of these kits still need to be put together. At the same time if you’re not too crafty, no worries because they’re not difficult to assemble and there are likely instructional videos for you to follow online.
In our experience, the best outdoor cat enclosure is this one made by JAXPETY. It is designed to be free-standing or attached to your home.
Having it attached to your home is always the best option because then your cats can go in and out as they please. It also takes a lot of responsibility off your shoulders so that you can focus on better things than letting the cat out!
To learn more about the JAXPETY Wooden Outdoor Cat Enclosure click the button below. If you have any questions, comments or other feedback, please leave them in the comments below.