Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats – Which Should You Choose?

If you see a cat in your future, there are many decisions to make. What breed? What colour? Long hair or short hair? To let it outside or to not let it outside? (that is the question)

Most of those questions are purely subjective and down to your personal taste, but the decision about whether to let your cat roam outside is not. That’s something we can help with.

Here are the pros and cons of keeping a cat indoors vs letting your cat roam free.

By the end, you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision.

We hope it helps!

Benefits of keeping your cats indoors

There are distinct benefits to keeping your cat indoors.

Lower chance of getting into a fight

Cats are territorial animals and will compete for that territory. The vast majority of the time it will be no more than hissing and posturing. Very occasionally however, it will come to blows.

Male cats are more likely to fight, but female cats will too if pushed.

Injuries are often light, with a scratch here or a bitten ear there, and will heal without having to visit the vet.

Not always though.

The last thing you want is for your furry companion to be injured in a fight, which is why keeping them indoors is such a benefit!

Lower chance of catching anything

We all want our feline friends to remain healthy and happy throughout their lives. Keeping them indoors can help with that.

Cats that roam have a higher chance of catching diseases as well as fleas, ticks and worms. This is all part of having feline friends  and not something to stress over. It is something to consider though.

There are a range of illnesses and diseases our pets can get from the outside world that they won’t get indoors, which is a good reason to keep them inside.

Most are easily treatable, either at home or at the vet, while some will need a visit to the vet. 

Even though most things are treatable, we definitely don’t want to expose our pets to them if we can help it!

Less chance of accidents

Anyone who has ever lost a pet to traffic or hit a cat while driving will know it’s one of the worst sounds and experiences you’ll ever have. Nobody wants to go through that, on either side of the situation.

Keeping your cat indoors drastically reduces the chance of accidents through traffic as well as misadventure.

Cats are amazing company and a friend for life, so anything we can do to keep them safe has to be worth considering.

Less chance of the other type of accident

There’s definitely something in the air when female cats enter their season. Your garden and your female cat are suddenly the most interesting thing in your street and it’s not a comfortable situation for you or your pet.

Of course, you can protect your cat from this by having them neutered, but if you want to breed from them, it’s something to bear in mind.

A cat that is allowed to roam for most of the year will find it incredibly difficult to stay safely indoors during her season, which could result in a number of little furry accidents you didn’t plan for!

Benefits of allowing your cat outdoors

There is also a strong case for allowing your cat outdoors.

Cats are hunters

Cats are predators. While they may not look it when they are curled up into a furry ball on your lap, take one look at their teeth and claws to see the truth.

Indoor cats need a lot of interaction and toys to help them manage this instinct. Let them outside and they can do it themselves.

They can chase birds, chase mice and rats and generally exercise that hunter instinct.

It may mean having to deal with ‘presents’ occasionally, but that’s your pet helping to pay their way.

Lower chance of behavioural issues

Cats were wild animals and much of that instinct is still there. Allowing your cat to exercise that part of their being helps them remain balanced and more content.

While all cats are different, there are behavioural issues that can arise if you keep your cat indoors. They can become lazy, have an increased risk of becoming overweight , get frustrated and can even misbehave.

This can manifest in aggression, toileting where they shouldn’t, acting up and even ignoring you as their owner.

Manage their own toilet

Nobody likes litter trays. While they are a great solution to an age-old problem, they aren’t pleasant.

Allowing your cat outdoors and providing a garden or space for them to toilet means no more using litter trays. That’s good for you because it’s one less thing to worry about and good for your pet because it’s closer to nature.

Just make sure they have somewhere to do it other than your vegetable patch!


Despite being content when curled up on your lap, cats are social animals.

Just as us humans are happy living and working alone, while others need social contact.Cats are the same.

While there is risk in letting cats socialize, they all seem to need it. If they can make friends with their neighbours, they become very well adjusted and seemingly content with their lot.

Indoor vs outdoor cats

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both keeping your cat indoors and letting it outside.

There are definite upsides to keeping your pet indoors and safe from outside risks, but there are also downsides.

There are upsides to letting your cat be a cat and roam free, but there are significant risks to that too.

Much will depend on where you live, how much space your cat will have to roam and the personality of your cat.

Your cat may prefer to stay indoors and soak up the sun on a windowsill, or they may not. Finding out is all part of the fun!