Do You Let Your Cat Outside?

Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Jenny

Rags Outside When He Was 16 Years Old
Rags Outside When He Was 16 Years Old

When we first got Rags we were told not to let him outside and my mom didn’t.  But as I grew up (I was 10 when we got Rags and he died when I was 29), I started letting him out on the patio.  When he was 16, I took him to my house permanently and for the remainder of his life, he went outside nearly every day – WITH ME.  I never let him go outside by himself.

Charlie Outside 2-2-11
Charlie Outside 2-2-11 (it's snowing)

Charlie and Trigg have benefited from this practice.  But I have created a monster too.  Charlie LOVES being outside.  And he will beg for it all day long.  Every day I devote an hour of my time hanging outside with them and when the temperature is -4 degrees, let me tell you – it’s not FUN!  But it gives them so much joy and keeps them entertained, so I do it.

I was raised to believe that fresh air was a good thing.  My backyard is totally fenced in – so I just make sure that nothing attacks from above or that there aren’t other animals around.  I mean, the dog, next door isn’t a problem – but wandering cats are. 

So it begs the question, do you let your cat outside? Why or why not?

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24 thoughts on “Do You Let Your Cat Outside?

  1. Dementia Boy says:

    I haven’t let my cats outside since moving to northern Nevada over 25 years ago. If you’re familiar with Nevada, I first lived in Verdi, now in Tahoe.

    I think I had been in Verdi about a week when I saw an owl carry off a neighbor’s cat. I was still acclimating the cats (and dogs) to the new environment, so hadn’t let the cats out yet and walked the dogs only on a leash. The owl experience stuck with me–a good thing, since I later encountered bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, black bears, raccoons, possums, etc., up close and personal. Since they were here before I
    was, I wasn’t about to enforce property lines.

    I miss letting my cats roam about. Although they have plenty of space inside, as well as a catio–oops, I mean greenhouse, as the homeowners association doesn’t allow catios =)–it’s just not the same as running around in the fresh air and rolling in dirt. But cats disappear quickly outside. This is forest land.

    I tried putting a portable catwalk outside, but bobcats made off with it. We’re not allowed to have fences. Steel leg-hold traps are everywhere. Given all this, I knew my beasties wouldn’t have a chance against bigger critters, including humans. So, reluctantly, my inside-
    outside cats became inside only cats.

    If I were back in Marin, would I let my cats outside again? I don’t know. Except for the first week of their lives, these two have never been outside. They’re old (nearly 17 and 19). I would have to have a fence with a fence guard. I know that I would not allow them to roam the ‘hood–definitely not safe for them or fair to neighbors.

  2. Emily says:

    I have a precocious Ragdoll named Higgins, since I live in the city I take him out on a leash. He along with my Maine Coon, Magnum P.I. love going for walks around the block and everyone gets a kick over how well they behave on the leash. It’s quite humorous to see them strolling along next to my dog Ndoki. Although sometimes she would like to move at a swifter pace then the boys are willing to go. Unfortunately, we caught a little porch kitten at Thanksgiving, but I’m afraid to take him outside due to his shy, feral nature. Maybe someday he will join everyone on our walks.

  3. Wendy says:

    Since we live on the 10th floor of a high rise condo, Lucy does not go outside. She does, however, like to go out in the hall to visit with my neighbor across the hall who adores her. 🙂

  4. Lisa Barrett says:

    We have 5 cats I take out into our fenced-in backyard for supervised outside time. We had the fence built shortly after moving in, it was one of our first priorities solely so we could take the guys outside! We love being able to do that for them, it makes us all extremely happy.

    Prior to purchasing our house we lived in a second floor apartment with a deck. We’d allow them onto the deck and luckily never had an escape attempt. Overall, we think we’ve made a good compromise with confined and supervised outside time.

  5. Beth says:

    My kitties go outside but they can’t go far. A couple of years ago our town included cats in their Pet Leash ordinance. We built a six-foot high prison-type fence around our entire back yard. Thank goodness for the Economic Stimulus that year as this fence cost several hundred dollars! The fence looks dreadful but it gives our cats a certain amount of freedom, plus the safety factor. Some more than others love going outdoors.

    • admin says:

      OH!! I want to see photos! I wish I had a prison-type fence, as I wouldn’t worry as much. I do have owls that have babies every year in one of my trees, but the cats are as big as the owls and the wildlife people have assured me that Barred Owls do not attack cats because they are too big. But you can never be too certain, especially when it comes to babies, so I am out there all the time.

    • michelle says:

      I also have a large dog, so fortunately, I have a 6ft wooden fence around the yard. That doesn’t stop either of the cats. They just go up and over and the city is theirs. And I think the fact that Mel the dog can come and go from the house makes it worse. I swear Sampson is sitting at the door watching Mel go out and complaining bitterly that she gets to but he doesn’t.

  6. michelle says:

    I have 2 rescues, one is probably ragdoll, the other mostly siamese. Leilei, the ragdoll, likes outside, but doesn’t pester for it. Sampson, the siamese, desperately wants out. He’s howling right now. And takes revenge by peeing on anything I might immediately need. Nope, it’s not a health problem, had that checked. Vet said some cats are just like that. I live in the city right now, so it doesn’t feel really safe to let him out. And my landlady next door doesn’t want him out because it upsets her dogs. No. Really. So we tried the compromise of walks with a harness and leash, but it doesn’t seem to really make him happy. It helps if he’s the constant centre of attention, but that’s a bit hard logistically.

  7. Geo says:

    I don’t let my boys outside for safety reasons. I also promised that they’d be strictly indoor cats when I took them home from the breeder’s. I don’t want them to go out–even with supervision–because I think that will result in problems. When I did that with my last cat, all she wanted to do was go outside and either tried to dart out whenever the door was opened or she cried by the door constantly. I will open the windows for them and let them smell and watch the great outdoors which they enjoy. Sometimes I feel bad about their strictly indoor lives but overall, I feel it is the best and safest way to go- especially since I often have raccoons and other critters outside my door.

    • Melody says:

      You and I feel the same way about letting cats outside. My main reason for keeping cats indoors is because I am scared that they will dart out without me noticing and when I do notice I may not be able to catch them in time. A friend of mine lost her cat this way. If they never go outside then they usually do not have that urge to dart out whenever the door opens. When I did have a cat, my roommate would let the cats out on our balcony but that made me nervous due to them always wanting to lean way too near and far off the edge, which always made me feel like they were about to jump off. I did occasionally carry a cat outside in my arms though just to get some fresh air.

      • admin says:

        Yes, I do the in my arms thing in the front yard sometimes when I don’t have an hour to spend and when Charlie needs a break – if I need to get something from my car I take him to appease him.

  8. Barbara says:

    I have had cats for years now, and never let any of them outside. Would never even think of it if I wasn’t out there with them. Probably the main reason in Florida and now Texas is to keep them free of fleas. The other, now, is spiders and scorpions. However, I do have a kitty stroller which I found on Ebay (pet stores too expensive). It zips up completely and has a netted window where they can look out. My ragdoll LOVES it. He had the best time being wheeled all over the neighborhood at Christmas time to see all the lights and decorations, and it also gave other the opportunity to see my beautiful boy while getting some walking in myself.

  9. Brita says:

    Annabella has never been outdoors (at least since we’ve had her), and I plan to never let her out. Our previous kitty, Patches the calico, was never outdoors for all of her 17 1/2 years. I just couldn’t stand any of my babies being mauled like a neighbor’s cat was, too awful to think of!

  10. Sondi Moore says:

    I have seven cats and three of them love to be indoor/outdoor cats as often as I’ll get up to open the door or window. However, Baby, my sweet 16 Rag Doll, is more hesitant.
    She will go to the open door, step outside and run around the house to the other door ready to come back in. She’s happier inside than out and I’m happy since she is the Queen of the house.

  11. caroline says:

    In the summer I let Ted outside, but even half a blade of grass makes him ill so you have to watch him every second. He is allowed in the veg area away from the road where it is all fenced in. The jackdaws next door also object quite loudly. Its a little awkward because I really have to be within arms length of him, I would really like to build him a pen, that would probably be the best answer, he hates his lead or that would be an option too.
    Caroline & Ted. x

  12. lisa S says:

    Louie goes out on a leash or he will sneak out when one of the kids doesn’t close the door fast enough, then he runs out in the street. Plus he can’t fight his way out of a paper bag! LOL. BUT when it snows, my husband will shovel a path and we let Louie out knowing he will only stay on the path. He hates the snow and the cold, so I call him Princess sometimes. Louie will paw at the doors and windows endlessly any time of day. I would love to let him out in one of those enclosed pens but we can’t afford that right now.

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