Do Cats Like Being Home All The Time?

Do Cats Prefer Being Indoors or Outdoors?

Cats are natural hunters with instincts to roam and explore their territories (Source: When kept strictly indoors, some cats may feel bored or restless, staring out windows longing to go outside. However, indoor environments can be enriched to better satisfy cats’ needs.

Providing climbing trees, scratching posts, puzzle toys, and daily playtime allows indoor cats to hone their hunting skills (Source: Rotating toys keeps cats mentally stimulated. Outdoor-facing enclosures let cats experience fresh air and sounds while staying protected. With proper enrichment, indoor cats can satisfy their instincts without the risks of going outside.

Potential Dangers Outside

Outdoor environments pose many potential threats to cats that indoor cats do not face. One major risk is motor vehicle accidents. Uncontrolled outdoor access exposes cats to busy roads where they can be hit by cars. According to the American Humane, vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death for outdoor cats.

Outdoor cats also face dangers from other animals. They are at risk of getting into fights with other cats, dogs, wildlife, and even farm animals like pigs. These altercations can lead to severe injuries or even death. Parasites like fleas and ticks are much more common in outdoor environments and can cause skin irritation and disease transmission.

Infectious diseases are another major threat for outdoor cats. Diseases like feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, rabies and more can be contracted from other animals when cats are freely roaming outside. Studies show outdoor cats have significantly higher rates of disease transmission. According to research from Tan (2020), uncontrolled outdoor access is associated with increased disease risks.

There are also dangers like poisoning from things like antifreeze left in driveways. Curious cats exploring the outdoors can accidentally ingest toxic substances. Overall, the dangers posed by traffic, other animals, parasites, toxins and diseases make the outdoor environment very hazardous for cats.

Benefits of Being Indoors

There are many benefits for cats who live exclusively indoors. Staying inside protects cats from many of the dangers and risks they would encounter if allowed to roam outdoors. Some of the main dangers outdoor cats face include getting hit by vehicles, getting into fights with other animals, and exposure to diseases from other cats, wildlife, parasites like fleas and ticks, and other contaminants in the environment.

Being kept safely indoors also protects cats from cruel humans, extreme weather, getting lost or stuck, and other unforeseeable hazards that exist outside the home. The American Humane Society reports that indoor cats live over 10 years on average, while outdoor cats live only 2-5 years on average due to the many dangers they face.

While some cats may feel bored or restless if never allowed outside, responsible cat owners can provide enrichment and exercise opportunities indoors. Cat towers, perches, scratching posts, interactive toys, food puzzles, and playtime with owners all help keep cats active and stimulated. Providing a window view also allows mental stimulation. Healthy amounts of daily playtime and affection help prevent behavior problems stemming from boredom or excess energy.

With proper care and attention from owners, the vast majority of cats can live happy, enriched lives as indoor pets. The hazards of the outside world pose too many risks that can easily be avoided by keeping cats safely contained indoors.

Providing Outdoor Access

While some cats may prefer staying indoors, others have a strong desire to experience the outdoors. Providing safe outdoor access can enrich an indoor cat’s environment. Options like building a catio or leash training allow cats to get fresh air and explore new spaces under supervision.

Catio enclosures connect to a home’s window, porch or patio, creating an enclosed cat-friendly space. According to, catios come in many designs to suit different spaces and budgets. They allow cats to experience sights, sounds and smells from the outdoors while protecting them and local wildlife.

Leash training accustoms cats to wearing a harness and leash for supervised outdoor time. Starting leash training slowly and using positive reinforcement helps cats adjust. According to, some signs an indoor cat wants access to the outdoors include gazing out windows, scratching at doors, and watching outdoor birds and wildlife.

Signs a Cat Is Bored

Cats who don’t get enough mental stimulation and physical activity can start to exhibit behaviors that indicate boredom and frustration. Some common signs of a bored cat include:

  • Excessive grooming and overgrooming, leading to bald patches or sores from licking (
  • Aggressive behavior like biting or scratching people or furniture (
  • Destructive behaviors like knocking things over, shredding paper, or urinating outside the litter box
  • Increased vocalization like meowing, yowling, or crying
  • Lack of interest in toys or interactions
  • Lethargy, lack of energy, or disinterest in food
  • Pacing or restlessness

These behaviors indicate that a cat needs more enrichment and activity in their daily routine. Without sufficient outlets, a cat may act out in unhealthy ways. Providing interactive toys, changing up environments, and scheduling play time can help curb boredom. If these behaviors persist, a vet visit may be needed to rule out underlying medical issues.

Enrichment Activities

There are many ways to enrich the environment of an indoor cat to prevent boredom and provide mental stimulation. Playtime is essential for exercise and bonding. Use interactive toys like feather wands, laser pointers, balls, and treat-dispensing puzzle toys to engage your cat’s natural hunting instincts (The Drake Center). Hiding toys around the home and rotating them keeps cats interested when playing alone. Establish consistent daily play routines for maximal enrichment.

Foraging enrichment taps into a cat’s scavenging nature. Hide portions of their meals around the home so they have to hunt for their food. Use food puzzle toys that make cats work for treats. Plant cat grass or catnip for them to nibble on. Set up multiple feeding stations instead of one bowl.

Providing perches and high vantage points allows cats to observe their territory from above, which they enjoy. Install shelving, cat trees, and window perches for them. Make sure perches are stable and offer easy access (Best Friends Animal Society).

Another Cat for Company?

Some cat owners consider getting a second cat as a companion for their existing cat. There are pros and cons to weigh when deciding if a second cat is right for your home. Some key considerations include:

On the pro side, another cat can provide companionship and social interaction for a solo cat. Cats are social creatures and two cats may play together, groom each other, and sleep curled up side-by-side. The presence of another cat can provide comfort and reduce stress for a cat accustomed to having feline company (VCAA). Additionally, two cats can keep each other busy while their human companions are away.

However, there are also potential downsides. Not all cats get along well, and introducing a new cat requires slow and careful acclimation. Some cats prefer being the only pet. Existing cats may feel stressed or territorial when a new cat is brought home. Having multiple cats also means increased responsibility and costs for the owner to care for their needs. As well, problems like fighting or eliminating outside the litterbox may arise (Purina).

Overall, take time to evaluate your current cat’s needs and personality before deciding to adopt another cat. Proceed gradually with introductions. Be prepared to keep the cats separated if they don’t get along. With patience and care, another cat may become a wonderful companion – but the decision requires research and commitment.

Meeting a Cat’s Instincts

Cats have strong natural instincts to hunt, patrol territory, climb, scratch, and play. When kept exclusively indoors, these instincts can go unfulfilled, leading to boredom, frustration, and problem behaviors like excessive meowing or destructive scratching. However, there are ways to meet a cat’s instincts while keeping them safe inside.

Dedicated playtime is essential for an indoor cat. Interactive toys like wands, balls, and puzzle feeders allow them to simulate hunting. Rotate toys to keep things interesting. Outdoor enclosures like catteries can provide environmental enrichment. Place platforms and scratching posts around the home for climbing and scratching instincts. Cats also enjoy routine outings on a leash or in a carrier to explore new spaces and smells while supervised. Providing activities, toys, and experiences tailored to a cat’s natural behaviors is key to their enrichment and contentment indoors [1].

Signs a Cat Wants Outdoors

There are several behaviors that indicate a cat wants to go outside. The most common sign is persistent window watching. An indoor cat will sit at windows for long periods of time watching the outdoors. This is a sign they want to explore the sights and sounds they see outside.

Another behavior is darting out open doors. When given the chance, some cats will quickly run out an open door to get outside. This demonstrates their strong desire to be outdoors.

Excessive meowing or crying can also signify an indoor cat’s wish to go outside, especially if it happens near doors or windows. The meows express the cat’s frustration at being cooped up indoors.

Other signs include trying to sneak out doors when people go in and out of the house. The cat may also try clawing at screens on windows or doors. All of these behaviors are a cat’s way of communicating their wish to go explore the outdoors.

Cats naturally have an instinct to patrol their territory and hunt prey. Being confined indoors prevents them from expressing these innate behaviors. Indoor cats wanting outside is their way of seeking mental and physical stimulation.

Making the Best Choice

When deciding whether your cat should be indoors or outdoors, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each for your individual pet. Every cat has different needs and preferences. According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the average lifespan for an indoor cat is 10-15 years, while outdoor cats live just 2-5 years on average

The main advantages of keeping cats indoors are: increased safety from accidents, fights with other animals, and exposure to diseases; less risk of getting lost; and reduced impact on wildlife populations. Indoors, cats are also easier to monitor for illness and can get more focused attention and care from their owners.

However, some downsides exist too. Indoor cats may become bored more easily without the mental stimulation of the outdoors. They tend to get less exercise inside and have a higher risk of obesity. Indoor cats are also more prone to inappropriate scratching and spraying if their instincts aren’t met through enrichment. Some cats strongly desire to be outside and can try desperately to escape.

If your cat is intent on going outdoors, you can allow supervised access to harnessed walks, enclosed patios or “catios”, or outdoor enclosures, to get the best of both worlds. Compromise solutions can balance your cat’s needs for safety and mental/physical activity.

Observe your pet’s unique personality and what circumstances make them happiest. An older or timid cat may do fine entirely indoors, while a restless young explorer may need some outdoor time under supervision. Do what’s best for each individual cat while prioritizing their health and safety.

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