Many indoor cats get the urge to go outside at some point, this could be triggered by a change in their environment or they could be feeling bored with their current lifestyle.
Cats can happily live indoors all the time as long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation so don’t feel like the only way to deal with your cat obsessing about going outside is to let them out.
This guide can help you understand why your cat wants to go outside and what you can do about it.
Reasons Your Cat Wants To Go Out:
1. To Hunt
Going outside is a way for cats to fulfill their natural desire to hunt and explore. When outdoors, cats have the opportunity to stalk and catch prey which can satisfy their hunting instinct.
If your indoor cat sees a bird or rodent through the window they are going to want to stalk it and get to it, this could be what has triggered the initial obsession to go outside.
Even if your cat hasn’t seen any other animals through the window, they will still have a natural urge to go outside and look for prey.
2. To Mate
Cats are social animals and they may want to go outside to socialise or even find a mate.
If your cat has not been neutered or spayed they are more likely to want to leave their territory to mate. Your cat’s enthusiasm to go outside could be due to a new cat in the area.
3. To Explore
There is so much to see and do outside, there are lots of new sights and smells for your cat to experience.
Your cat may be lacking stimulation and, as cats are naturally curious, it is likely they are trying to go outside to simply do some exploring.
If you notice your cat is more eager to go outside at certain times, they may have heard unfamiliar noises or seen something interesting that they want to go outside and investigate.
4. To Mark Their Territory
Some cats want to go outside so they can mark their territory and deter other cats from coming too close to the house.
It is natural for cats to want to mark their territory, they have protective natures and marking territory is a way of communicating with other cats and minimises contact with them.
Should You Let Your Indoor Cat Go Outside?
If you can let your indoor cat outside while keeping them safe it can be hugely beneficial to their overall health and wellbeing.
This could mean creating a secure enclosure for your cat outside, letting your cat explore a secure garden, or taking your cat outside using a harness and lead.
It’s best to take steps to help ensure your cat is going to be safe as there are many hazards in the outside world.
These hazards mean outdoor cats have a shorter lifespan than indoor-only cats so it is understandable many owners don’t want to put their cats at risk by letting them outside.
Although safer, being indoors all the time means cats can lack mental stimulation, they may be unable to express natural behaviours, and they can experience behavioural issues as a result.
This can cause indoor cats to become overweight, stressed and depressed.
There are pros and cons to letting indoor cats outside but if you can let your cat experience the outside world in a safe way the benefits are huge.
Is It Normal For An Indoor Cat To Want To Go Outside?
Yes, cats are naturally curious and many indoor cats show interest in going outside at one point or another.
With that said, cats can settle into an indoor lifestyle very well as long as they have mental stimulation and ways to express natural behaviours such as hunting.
What To Do When Your Indoor Cat Gets Outside
If your indoor cat has managed to go outside, try to encourage them back in by calling their name, making noise with their food bowl, or shaking a bag of treats.
If your cat is out of sight and has not come back after calling them, stay calm and check the hiding spots around your home and garden.
It’s a good idea to place your cat’s litter box or favourite blanket outside as these will have your cat’s scent on them and this will help your cat be able to find their way back if they have lost their way.
When your indoor cat has managed to get out, be sure to tell your neighbours and the local shelter/ vets and give them your contact details in case someone finds your cat before you.
If your cat hasn’t been outside before, they have probably found a hiding place to keep safe.
They are more likely to come out of hiding and search for food between the evening and early morning so this is a good time to go out and look for them.
How To Stop Your Cat From Trying To Go Out All The Time
It can be stressful trying to keep your cat inside when they run to the open door or window at any opportunity they get. These tips will help stop your cat from trying to get outside all the time:
1. Get Your Cat Neutered Or Spayed
Cats that have been neutered or spayed tend to stay closer to home as they are not interested in going away from home in search of a mate.
When your cat has been neutered/ spayed you also have the peace of mind that if they do go outside they will not be able to breed.
2. Use Deterrents To Make Escape Unappealing
Consider making the doorway unappealing by placing aluminium foil or sticky tape near the door or by making loud noises each time your cat approached the door.
You could also cover the windows with a screen so you can still open the window without the risk of your cat escaping through a gap.
You could also make staying inside more appealing by giving your cat treats when they are in their bed or in a safe area each time the door is opened.
This positive reinforcement may help stop your cat from running towards the door each time it is opened.
3. Put A Cat Tree Near A Window
Positioning a cat tree near a window gives your curious cat the opportunity to watch what is going on outside without actually having to be outside.
This can provide them with a natural source of entertainment and can be excellent for their mental stimulation.
4. Get Them A Catio Or Cat Window Screen
If your cat is desperate to go outside you may want to consider getting them a catio. This is a safe enclosed area where they can experience the outdoors without the risk.
A catio or cat window screen is a great way of allowing your cat to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the outdoors without the risk of them getting out or being exposed to hazards.
You can also put some items from outside into the catio to give them more to explore, for example placing cat grass, scratching pads, toys shaped as birds or mice can help keep them entertained for longer.
5. Find Other Ways To Keep Them Stimulated
If your cat is bored and is not being mentally stimulated at home they will be more likely to try to go outside. Make sure your cat has a variety of toys to keep them entertained, access to scratching posts, and cat trees or high shelves to perch on.
Help keep them stimulated by increasing the amount of time you spend playing with your cat each day and keep things interesting by switching their toys or giving them new items such as boxes to explore and play with every so often too.