Why I Choose to Let My Cats Outside

If you follow us on our Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, then you know I let my cats outside.  I get a lot of questions from readers about why I do – and how, etc.  So I decided to do an impromptu video the other day about it.

Do you let your cats outside? Why or why not?

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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Hello! I have a 2-1/2 year old black Siberian named Money who I found when he was 5-1/2 weeks old. He’s been fixed and has all necessary vaccines that are up to date. I lost my best friend, Lucy, a tuxedo cat whom I adopted in 2005 at 9 months. She just passed this past September 4th at 18. Lucy never went outside until Money got older and I moved out of an apartment and into a home. Lucy was really confident and loved lying in the sunshine. Money was timid and was unsure in the beginning. But he started crying to go out more often and they both would lie together. I’d always keep an eye on them both and they were generally good at staying close. After Lucy passed, Money still wanted to go out and I let him but monitored him closely. Eventually it got to the point where every day he cried too go out abcs used his speaking buttons to tell me. I couldn’t keep my eyes on him that much so I bought a GPS pet tracking device called Tractive. Read about it for details, but I let him out everyday and he wears hide collar with the device and I can see him in real time his steps. I set up virtual fences that I don’t want him to go to for whatever reasoning and get alerts when he is there and the real time map shows me where he is. I can play a sound to help me hear him and he has an LED collar that flashes. But after a good amount of time, he enjoys hours outside around my house and the neighbor’s, he now comes inside every so often on his own free will to let me know he is okay after constantly checking on him and giving treats anytime he came back inside. We have our own thing now and it’s well tuned. He loves it and I love seeing him happy. He’s brought a few dead shrews and a dead bird, and one time brought in a live chipmunk that I found after hours and released. In my opinion, it’s healthy to let my large cat get exercise and have fun. Sometimes when he comes inside after some time, I take his collar off and he knows that outside is over and he lies with me. I love our thing we have together and it works. He is too timid of loud sounds and people and things, so he’s extra cautious with what he does and where he goes. I have woods in my backyard and he loves playing in the woods close by sometimes, too. I know there was long. Thanks for letting me share! ♥️‍⬛

      1. My last cat is indoor. And its difficult ..my back door opens outside.i have lost too many cats to raccoons coyotes and traffic. He would looove to go out!

  2. Tracy Ambrose says:

    Our 2 Ragdolls, Bobby & Coco go out daily on a lead since they were 6 months old. They are now nearly a year old and every morning after breakfast Coco sits at the back door excited waiting for me to say walkees and positions herself perfectly for me to put her harness on. It reminds me of when I had a Rottweiler, Sabre he would do the same thing. At this stage I walk them one at a time except on the weekends when they both can go out when my daughter is home. They love exploring my vege patch, sniffing and catching bugs. They aren’t impressed with windy days or when the grass is too wet, then they are content sniffing from the shelter of the alfresco area. I notice the difference in their temperament if they miss out on one of there favourite ritual.
    Love the website and videos Jenny and whilst only just joined you have assisted greatly since we brought our special babies home July last year.

    1. “walkees” made me smile big as i was reading your comment.

      “I notice the difference in their temperament if they miss out on one of there favourite ritual.” – yes, mine too.

      thank you – i am glad you enjoy our videos and the site.

  3. Gary Klinger says:

    I had to reply to this one. In the Summer my cat, & myself sit on the front porch every day (for hours some days). I have a large fence around my complete yard, & (knock on wood) she hasn’t tried to jump the fence yet, but I always have all eyes on her every second should she decide to try. If she decides to go around the house, ( I also have a swing in the back yard so I don’t have to stand around waiting for her to decide its time to go in) I get my coffee & follow her. I have some very ugly tall bushes by the front porch, I have trimmed out the dead branches, & some others which make it difficult for her to climb in, they look sort of like a giant Bonsai tree. I can sit in my porch swing, & keep an eye on her at all times. In the winter if she decides she wants to go out, naturally I get my hat, & coat, & we go out for some air. I guess she is spoiled rotten, but I don’t mind. I am fortunate in that I am retired, would never have been able to do this if I were still working, but now her wish is my command. What a life!!!

    1. thanks for sharing – and “I had to reply to this one” – i wish you would contribute more often!

  4. Patricia Bain Holland says:

    I have 4 cats, two are ragdolls two are rescue. My oldest black tuxedo begs to be taken out for long walks, My youngest is scared when shes out, My ragdolls just like to go out and lay in the grass. They all have harnesses on when there outside. one day my female ragdoll slipped out before I put her harness on and I figured with the other three there she would be ok, Well the next thing I knew is she spotted a bird in the tree just a few feet from the house and before I knew it she was up that tree. Of course I panicked and ran for my daughter. She was able to climb the tree and rescue her. Needless to say, she doesn’t go out without her harness.

  5. For the record, not that anybody cares about my interpretation, I can see both sides of the statement “I think it is cruel to keep them indoors only” as well as both sides of the thoughts of whether to do it or not. Not that anybody cares or asked me to, I’m about to insert myself in the issue so just call me Gladys Kravitz!

    You know that fortune cookie game of adding “in bed” to your fortune? I think a healthy thing to do, in terms of keeping our own sanity, is to read a comment and add “for me”. It’s exceedingly hard to write as well as read comments without the benefit of connection, facial cues and other non-verbal feedback, so regardless of intent, they can often come across as blunt instruments of “my way or the highway”.

    On the other hand, and the following is not at all directed at Elizabeth Zanetti but something I believe we all could benefit from, when writing comments if our intention is to not cast aspersions on those that disagree with us, then it’s our duty to add that “for me” or other similar but obvious statement. If we do make a mistake however, then, for me, I believe in owning up to it squarely – no roundabout “I’m sorry if you were offended” types of remarks but “I’m sorry. I should have said that for me, I think xyz because in my experience abc and I have the ability to 123”.

    Also, I truly believe language matters. So it’s imperative that we choose our words carefully. Maybe something is “cruel”, “wrong”, “pigheaded”, “stupid” FOR US but not for others. I think it would be cruel to keep my cat Prossimo strictly indoors because he lived outside 24/7 before he came to me (let’s be honest, before I stole him!), and he loves certain aspects of being outside. I think it would be cruel to even let my previous foster kitten Celeste outside because she was absolutely terrified of it when she accidentally walked out on my balcony and then was forever suspicious of the french doors that led to that awful place!

    I had never heard of The Four Agreements before Jenny referred to it and so I looked it up and it’s brilliant so thank you for that insight, Jenny!

    We grew up with a daily reminder from my Dad to “be like a duck, let the water roll right off your back”, which I think is a less eloquent but a very effective and quick touchstone of the same sentiment!

  6. If I move to a house with no secure fencing, I will make a run for her that goes with my outdoor aviary for my parrots.

  7. I don’t take my cats out because we have hawks and a nesting pair of bald eagles in our area. We also have owls, but I only see/hear them at night. I will admit that if you see a stray cat, you don’t see if for long. We live on a hill and the hawks sit in one of our trees or on the peak of our roof (I have pictures)! A friend of mine had her small dog in her yard and a hawk can down and tried to pick it up. She ran out and scooped up the dog. She told me that they will try and break the neck of their prey if they can’t pick it up and eat it right there. I don’t know if that’s true, but why chance it. My cats will only sneak out the door a few feet – they run out between the dogs legs – before I catch them and bring them back in.

  8. Wonderful post and topic, Jenny! As always, LURVE the video! It’s always so much fun to watch Chiggy The Explorer with his outdoor adventures surveying and patrolling his “jungle.” Such a character. It’s also absolutely fascinating that Chiggy will pee outside but Charlie will not. So quirky! 🙂 <3

    I totally understand your rationale for why letting your boys outside in your backyard works for you and for them. 🙂

    Since we apartment dwell, Miss PSB is strictly an indoor kitty. No outside adventures. But she does have a huge living room window to watch the comings and goings of birds, butterflies, people and people with doggies in the courtyard below (we live on the 2nd floor).

    Big hugs & lots of love!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

  9. Elizabeth Zanetti says:

    I always let my Floppycat L’Argent outside. I think it is cruel to keep them indoors only. I am fortunate enough to have a fenced yard. The issue was keeping other cats out not keeping her in. When we moved in lots of cats kept appearing. She always hissed at them to let them know they were not welcome and chased all them away. She beat up a tom cat that would not leave her alone; the tom cat has not been back since. She is small for a Ragdoll and is the sweetest loving cat I have ever known, so I was surprised when she went for the tomcat.

    She loves running around the yard and loves our company when we are out there enjoying the garden or doing chores. She loves sleeping on her caboose on the covered patio when the temperature and breeze are nice in Autumn and Spring (she has a curfew 🙂 ), otherwise she spends most of her time indoors.


    1. How offensive to people that choose not to let their precious ragdolls outside because of a variety of reasons. Not all people have a suitable space or yard. Your words are offensive. I open the door my ragdoll doesn’t want to go out. Is that cruel??

      1. I don’t think any offense was meant – and as I have learned the hard way – it’s only offensive if you take it personally…if you read The 4 Agreements – one agreement is not to take things personally. It’s a hard thing not to do – but really, I didn’t find her tone to be trying to insult others.

      2. Elizabeth Zanetti says:

        Hi, I certainly didn’t mean to offend anybody. It is only my opinion and my experience. I also did say that “I am fortunate enough to have a fenced space”, I haven’t always had that. I also read lots about Floppycats to learn more and comment about my experiences when a question is asked. Thanks.

      3. “I think it’s cruel to keep them indoors only” – perhaps a comment like this , basically saying if people keep their beloved ragdolls inside only it’s cruel, it could cause some to feel bad. Its not rocket science.

        1. yes, that’s going back to taking it personally – if you don’t think it’s cruel to keep them indoors, then no offense is taken =). if someone told me it was cruel to put them outside – i would honor that as their opinion, but not take offense to it because my thinking is different. by taking offense to it, you become the victim. seriously – check out the four agreements book – it’ll change your life!

      4. Hi, Elizabeth: I enjoyed your comment very much and did not find it offensive in any way at all! 🙂 <3

  10. I let Prossimo out on my 2nd story balconies. One of them he can walk, lay, sleep & meow at the world from a ledge. He LOVES being outside. I’m contemplating moving where I will have an actual yard and with a dog who will have free access to the yard, I know that by default Prossimo will too but I am nervous about how to do it to train him not to leave the yard!

    1. “meow at the world from a ledge” – LOL! Sounds like someone I know! Yes, with Prossimo’s history before he came to you – I am guessing he will be ready to explore more than just the yard.

  11. I let Diva out in a secure back yard, or at least I thought it was. She showed me the 3 ways she could get out and I fixed those.
    She loves to catch bugs and chase squirrels.
    And, if I tell her to stay on the deck, she does.

    1. So great – love that she gets some outdoor time.

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