Cats are notoriously difficult to understand. They prefer the comfort of their home and don’t typically enjoy being outside, but sometimes they can be convinced with a little coaxing. The key is understanding why your cat doesn’t want to go outside so you can find out what will convince them!
Why Does My Cat Not Want to Go Outside?
When cats are exclusively raised in an indoor environment, they are perfectly content to stay inside. Outdoor environments can be scary for cats that aren’t accustomed to them. This can be because of the noise, the weather, the smells, other animals, or any number of reasons.
A cat that is uncomfortable with being outside will likely find a place to hide immediately upon being brought outside. It may run under a nearby bush, car, or even behind a tree. This is their way of hiding from anything that makes them uncomfortable or unfamiliar with an environment.
If your cat experiences anxiety issues, they may have heightened fears when it comes to leaving the house. They may cling to their owners, meow constantly, or shake uncontrollably.
It’s not necessary to force your cat to go outside if they clearly don’t want to. Many accredited sources have suggested that cats that exclusively stay indoors are often healthier and have longer lifespans than those that go outside. So, if your cat is content to stay inside, by all means, let them!
Why Does My Cat Not Want to Go Outside Suddenly?
If your cat previously enjoyed going outside and has suddenly stopped wanting to go, there could be a number of reasons. One possibility is that they’ve been injured or sick and are now afraid to leave the house. Some examples of what could have happened include:
The cat may have been in a fight and is now afraid of other animals. A nearby animal could be causing the problem, or it might just be general unfamiliarity with going outside. The result will likely be that they’ll refuse to leave the house even if you try to coax them out.
A Dominant Predator
Another reason may be that they’ve caught sight of a predator outside or heard something frightening, like a dog barking. When cats are confronted with a dominant predator, they often become scared and unwilling to leave the house.
If your cat has had an accident outside – such as being hit by a car – they may be afraid to go outside again. This is because accidents can be traumatic for cats and cause them to associate going outside with danger. Some other types of accidents that may cause this response include falling from a high point or being poisoned by something outside.
Something in the Environment Has Changed
The environment outside may have changed recently, which has caused your cat to become scared. This could be anything from a new construction project near your house to a change in the weather. If you can’t identify what’s causing their fear, it might be best to keep them inside until things calm down.
Something Inside Has Changed
The environment inside your house may have also changed recently, which is why your cat doesn’t want to go outside. This could be anything from a new pet in the home to a recent move. If you’ve just made some big changes inside the house, it might take some time for your cat to get used to them and feel comfortable going outside again.
Your Cat Is In Heat
If your cat is in heat, they may want to leave the house to find a mate. This will be especially true if there’s an available male cat in the vicinity. If your cat is constantly trying to go outside when they’re in heat, you might want to consider getting them spayed or neutered.
How to Get My Cat to Go Outside?
There are a few things you can do to help your cat feel more comfortable when going outside:
Start by gradually introducing them to the outdoors. Begin by taking them out for a short time and increasing the amount of time they spend outside over time. Make sure to bring your cat into a space that is calm, safe, and familiar – such as your backyard or patio.
Use Toys and Treats
If your cat is hesitant to go outside, try using toys and treats to lure them out. This can be anything from a toy mouse to their favorite treat. If they associate going outside with good things, they’ll be more likely to want to do it for other reasons in the long term.
Train It On a Leash
If nothing else is working, you can try training your cat to go outside on a leash. This will take some time and patience, but it’s a great way to get them comfortable with going outside. Just make sure not to leave them unsupervised when they’re out! They won’t be able to escape if a predator comes near if they’re tied up yet exposed.
Feed Your Cat Outdoors
If your outdoor area is safe and comfortable, you may want to feed them outdoors. This will make going outside less scary for cats because they’ll associate it with pleasant things – like food! Just make sure not to leave food unattended for longer periods of time because it could attract pests or other animals.
A leash works by keeping your cat close to you and preventing them from straying. This can help calm their nerves since they won’t be able to wander off while being restrained. Over time, as your cat gets comfortable with the leash, you can add more length to it.
Try a Feline Friendly Cat Door
Another option is to get a cat door that lets them come and go as they please. These are especially useful if you want your cat to have access to both the indoors and outdoors. Make sure to get a door that is specifically designed for cats, as they come in different shapes and sizes.
There are smart cat doors that can identify your cat based on their collar and open to let them in, which helps to deter unwanted animals from entering your home.
Create a Catio Space
If you really want your cat to go outside, the best option is to create a special space for them. A catio (for ‘cat’ and ‘patio’) allows cats to enjoy an outdoor environment without being exposed. This will keep them safe from dangerous elements like predators and cars while still giving them access to fresh air, sunshine, and exercise.
A catio will also give them a place to get away from it all, which is especially important if they’re feeling stressed or overstimulated.
It can be an enclosed space or you could simply create an outdoor enclosure for your kitty by adding a fence around part of their yard. You can also extend a windowsill by adding a fenced shelf or perch for them to sit on.
The Catio is a great option for people in urban environments who are working with small spaces and want to keep their cats safe.
Be Open and Patient
One of the most important things to remember is that your cat is unique and will respond differently to different things. If one method doesn’t work, try something else until you find what works for them. With a little patience and persistence, you’ll be able to get your cat outside again in no time!
Is It Better for Cats to Stay Inside?
As with most things, it really depends on the individual cat. Some cats are perfectly happy to go outside while others prefer being inside. If your cat is a strictly indoor-only kitty, there may be some advantages and disadvantages of keeping them in compared to letting them out (like for training or education).
Oftentimes, the conversation comes down to the quality of life. Cats can be very sensitive to their surroundings and may not do well in certain conditions. If they aren’t comfortable outside, you should respect that and let them stay inside where it’s safe. However, if they feel confident and safe outside, then you may feel comfortable enough to let them explore!
There are many reasons that people believe it’s best to keep your cat inside. Some of these reasons may include:
There Are Diseases and Parasites In the Environment
Cats can get fleas, ticks, and other parasites from going outside. These pests can cause painful sores that your cat may not be able to scratch due to their sensitive paws. Ticks are especially dangerous because they transmit diseases like Lyme disease.
Three are over 60 million wild feral cats that carry and easily transmit a variety of diseases, including rabies, to domestic cats.
There Are Cars and Predators Out There
Cars are a major hazard for cats, as they can easily get hit by one. In the U.S., over two million cats are killed each year in car accidents.
Predators like coyotes, foxes, and raccoons can also pose a threat to cats who go outside.
As much as you think your cat is tough, they may not be able to fight off an attacker if it comes down to that.
They Can Be Stolen or Abused Outside
It’s hard for some people to admit but there are cruel individuals out there who treat cats in a way that can be considered abusive. It can be challenging to prevent this kind of behavior and can be nearly eliminated by keeping your cat indoors.
They Can Get Lost Easily
Cats are pretty independent creatures who often roam outside for hours at a time. However, it’s possible that your cat will get lost during one of their adventures.
Be aware of your outdoor environment if you’re considering letting your cat outside and make sure they always have some kind of identification on them just in case.