Why Does My Cat Want To Go Outside At Night? It’s Not Safe! [Cat Care Q & A]



Since I’ve had cats for a number of years now, I noticed that they sleep all day and become almost instantly active (after a good, smelly poop and eating session, lol) somewhere between 5 pm and 7 pm. They then proceed to stalk the door or flat out cry at it, howling like wolves to the moon while clawing on its surface, demanding to be let outside.

But why does my cat want to go outside at night? It’s not safe AND I’m trying to sleep!

Does this situation sound familiar to you also? I bet it does for most of us cat parents!

But how do we stop it from happening? And is it normal or does my cat want to start something with another cat just to be mean?

Ok, before we unnecessarily open up a can of worms here, let’s have a little discussion about our cats, their instincts and why they are up, being pains in our butts at ungodly late hours at night when most sane lifeforms (aka US! ^^) are trying to recharge our batteries to slay the next day!

Why Does My Cat Want To Go Outside At Night?


This question can be answered in three words: Felis silvestris lybica.

Huh? What’s that? Silvester? This is serious not some old time kids cartoon!

Here, let me explain in non-confusing, layman’s terms (I’ll try to explain this without using anymore weird scientific terms) 🙂

More than 100 thousand years ago, a new group of cats came into existence. These cats were classified as Felis silvestris or “forest cats”.

Most cats in this group look very similar to the domestic cats of today. But DNA evidence and other theories suggest that the actual predecessor of our fur babies is a sub-breed called Felis silvestris lybica aka the “African Wild cat”.


What Does Felis silvestris lybica Have To Do With Why My Cat Wants To Go Out At Night?

The African wild cat is a desert cat that lives in South Africa. It still exists today and looks exactly like a domestic cat.

These cats are well adapted for desert life. They can survive with minimal water and can stand the heat.

That being said, just because they can stand the heat, doesn’t mean they want to be very active in the heat. This is why they tend to sleep during the day and then when it is cooler, they hunt during the evening/night.

This habit has become so deep-rooted in the cat being that it still remains in them all these many generations later.

Their bodies have not lost the ability to function at night either. This is why their pupils have such a wide range of contraction.

They are adapted to be super wide to let in a lot of light at night but constrict very narrow during the day when light is plentiful.

What Can You Do About Your Cat’s Natural Instinct To Be Up At Night?

Now that you understand that your cat is up at night pretty much because it is driven by instinct, let’s talk about how to handle this little conundrum.

First of all, don’t get upset with them anymore. It’s not worth stressing yourself over. We’ve got to preserve our youth! 😉

The next thing to do is simple. If they want to go outside, let them outside.

Some people let them roam around free. Personally, I will discourage you from doing this because there are too many dangers out there both natural and manmade.

I have seen so much cat injuries from tomcats fighting over territory and females to coyote attacks and more! Some other dangers you should be aware of are things like:

  • your cat falling into a well, sewer or other drainage areas
  • falling from high places like bridges, walls, buildings, etc
  • land, air and sea predators like hawks, coyotes, alligators
  • natural disasters like wildfires and hurricanes
  • getting lost
  • death by misadventure
  • getting tangled and strangled in rope, fishing line, etc.
  • and the list goes on and on

I’m not trying to scare you but these and more threats are real. Also, realize that your cat is also a threat to the environment as well since it is a natural hunter that is inclined to scratch, fight, and other behaviors that may harm or kill other creatures.

For instance, in New Zeland, cats are responsible for killing millions of their native birds every year! Unfortunately, the spread of the domestic cats means the introduction of non-native predators which is a really bad thing and this isn’t unique to New Zeland.

Remeber, the domestic cat came from South Africa, not North America, Europe or Canada. So please help our environment by keeping control of your cats.

Now your probably wondering, “How in the world does this crazy woman think I’m supposed to:

  1. Let your cat out at night
  2. Keep it in your yard
  3. Keep it safe from other cats, predators and other threats”

Every time I come to a problem like this I instantly think of Disney’s ‘The Little Mermaid” where Ursula is talking to Arial about going to meet Prince Eric.

(Puts on my best Ursula impersonation voice) “The solution to your problem is simple” (does that little, snarky laugh)

But seriously speaking, it is pretty simple but maybe not so apparent. All you need to get your cat is a good, sturdy outdoor cat enclosure. Depending on where you are in the world, they may also be called other names such as:

  • cat pens
  • catios
  • cat cage (I never like to use the word ‘cage’. My cat isn’t a prisoner but that might just be me. I’m a known overthinker, haha! ^^; )
  • cat fence
  • etc…

What Is An Outdoor Cat Enclosure and How You Can Use It To Keep Your Family Happy!

An outdoor cat enclosure is a fenced in area that you can give your cat to be outside and interacting with nature in a safe, secure way.

These units can come as free-standing structures or more commonly and conveniently, you can get ones that attach right onto your house. This way, with the assistance of a cat door, your cat can go alternate from inside to out as it pleases.

Cat pens come in many styles from a small unit that fits on your window to huge ground to window units for your cat to really have a chance to get its instincts dirty for lack of a better term!

The Outdoor Cat Enclosures Recommendation for You

As I mentioned before, cat enclosures come both free-standing and able to attach to your house. I recommend that you use one that attaches to your home.

If you’re like me, this sounds like a ‘hell no!’ LOL, for real, that was my initial reaction but more than holes in the wall, think of your cat’s well-being (also your sanity!). By using one that attaches to your house, your cat can go in and out as s/he pleases.

That is the cat nature after all. They are pretty independent animals so give them the opportunity to maintain this free-willed lifestyle which will only put them in a better mood for more cuddles later on!


Right now, we recommend that you use the JAXPETY Outdoor Cat Enclosure because it is sturdy, safe and big enough for your cat to be active outdoors but small enough to not take up too much space.

It also gives you the option of attaching it to your home or keeping it free standing. Another option you can do if you opt against attaching one of these to your home is that you can build a little tunnel from your window to the enclosure but that will take some craftiness on your part.

Benefits of Letting Your Cat Out At Night

There can be a huge difference in your cat between keeping him/her couped up at night and letting him/her out at night. By giving them time outdoors at night you can help your cat in many ways including:

  • better health
  • better mood
  • better mental health
  • potentially irradicate problem behaviors
  • allow it to do its marking outdoors whether by spraying, scratching, or urination
  • litter many last longer
  • and more!

You will also help your outside environment by:

  • controlling predators of native birds and small mammals that are important in nature
  • cutting down on damages to buildings, monuments, etc from cat scratching, etc.
  • reducing cat skirmishes over territory
  • reducing the feral cat population
  • and more!

How To Get Started

As I mentioned before, the best outdoor cat enclosure kit out right now is the one by JAXPETY but you can and should do some research to be sure that this is a good fit for your family situation.

The one that I recommend has shelves but there are tons of different styles including one that has a two-story house at the side of it. You can even get super creative and build your own!

If you have any questions, comments or other feedback, please feel free to leave them in the comments box below. Click on the button below to learn more about the JAXPETY Outdoor Cat Enclosure.

Click here to learn more about the best outdoor cat enclosure!


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