Why You Should Keep Your Cat Indoors

Many cat lovers of today believe it is safest to keep their cats indoors, while others believe that cats should have the freedom to roam in the great outdoors.

However, some of you may have no idea about what is really best for your cats’ safety and wellbeing.
You may be asking yourself the following question.

Am I being too protective by not letting my cat outside, or are there real dangers to my cats’ wellbeing if I let them roam freely?

We may need to be reminded that it is our duty to take responsibility for our cats’ health, safety and welfare as we were the ones that domesticated them. 

The healthiest and safest option for your cat is to keep them indoors.

For those of you allowing your cats to roam free around the neighbourhood, consider the following reasons as to why you should keep your cat indoors.

cat looking out window

Reasons to Keep Cats Indoors

Urinary Tract/Bowel Health

If your cat occasionally or frequently does their business outside, you are unable to monitor problems that may occur with their urinary tract or bowel.

It is important that you keep an eye on your cats toilet behaviours as problems such as urinary tract blockages, constipation, bowel blockages or mega-colon may be present.

cat playing with toilet paper


Cats that are allowed to roam free outside will always come in contact with other cats. Parasites and more serious diseases can be transmitted from any form of contact with another cat. 

Serious disease that can be transmitted include:

  • FeLV (Feline Leukemia)
  • FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis)
  • Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper)
  • FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus)
  • Zoonotic Diseases

Cats are also prone to skin cancer if they are over exposed to the sun, especially white or light-coloured cats.
Other dangerous diseases can also be transmitted from mice your cat may play with or eat.

cat lying down

Motor Vehicles

According to sources, it has been said that more cars are killed by getting hit by a car than being euthanized in U.S animal shelters annually. 

Even the most cautious and careful drivers cannot avoid hitting a cat that may run across the road. Unfortunately, you will never be able to train your cat to be road savvy and therefore cats roaming the streets are in great danger of being hit by a car.

cat and car

Wildlife Dangers

Cats can be in serious danger of wildlife predators depending on the area they are living in. Wild dogs and even domesticated large dog breeds are a huge threat to cats. Wildlife such as foxes, owls, and dingoes will also prey on cats.

Although cats have some great defensive mechanisms including their sharp claws and teeth, a dog double the size of a cat is much stronger and could easily take a cat’s life.


Neighbour Problems

Keep in mind not everyone is a cat person. Cats that are let out are most likely to roam into your neighbour’s yards and possibly even use these areas as their litter box. 

Therefore, issues can arise amongst you and your neighbours if your cat is wandering into unwanted places. In extreme cases, some neighbours may even call animal services if they think a cat is stray or the same cat continues to annoy them.

cat on fence

Cat Fights

Cats are very territorial creatures and if challenged by another cat will defend their territory until death. Generally, a cats’ territory will encompass the house they live in including the perimeter of the garden. In wild cats, it can be up to a 2-kilometre radius. 

Therefore, if another cat comes within this territorial radius of another cat, their instinct is to fight them. These territorial battles can often result in abscessed wounds, which if not treated in time can be deadly. If bitten, cats can also contract FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus).

cat fight

Human Abuse

Unfortunately, there are some not so nice people out there who do not care about animals and are not afraid to hurt them. 

There is a possibility that these types of people will come in contact with your cat if they are roaming freely which can lead to very upsetting outcomes. This person could even be one of your neighbours.

sad cat

Danger to Wildlife

Although cats are in danger of larger wildlife when they go outside, they are also predators and will in danger small wildlife such as birds, mice and lizards. 

Most of you probably do not like seeing your cat harm or kill other wildlife, therefore keeping them inside is best for you and will help protect wildlife to some degree.

cat holding mouse


Outdoor cats will often widen their outdoor territories and can be away from their home for long enough to be taken in by people who fear they are lost/stray, rescue groups or the animal control. 

According to studies, it is said that only 3% of cats turned into shelters after being lost are returned to their owners. In serious cases cats can also be stolen to be used as “bait” for people training dogs to fight.

cat in cage

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions can change in the blink of an eye and can get bad quickly. If extreme weather is approaching, you don’t want to be worrying about your cats’ whereabouts and whether or not they will come back in time. 

During the colder months, it is especially important to keep your cat indoors as if they are left out overnight or for a long period of time they could quickly die from hypothermia.

cat outside door in snow

Alternatives for Outdoor Cats

If you are now thinking about keeping your cat indoors, here are just a few things to keep in mind and try out if your cat is used to the outdoors or if you have a kitten you would like to grow up to be an indoor cat.

Exercise Indoors

Cats can get a healthy amount of exercise whether they are indoors or outdoors. However, because being indoors is a safer option there are a few things your cat can do to keep well exercised. 

Interactive toys, climbing towers and scratching posts will all help with getting your cat the exercise they need.

cat playing with toy

Cat Leash

Any cat can be trained to a harness and leash.
At first, they will probably feel a bit confined by the harness and will naturally choose to lie on their belly. 

However, with time and patience you can get your cat to eventually enjoy a small walk on a leash. Be sure to start by trying your cat on the leash indoors at first and eventually move to outside. A little bit of leash walking a day should have your cat happy walking in no time. Never use a collar as they can easily slip off and never leave your cat tied up unattended.

cat on harness and leash

Outdoor Enclosures

If you want to give your cat a little more freedom to roam, outdoor enclosures are ideal. You can create and build these from scratch or buy enclosures specifically made for cats that you have to assemble. 

A good enclosure will allow your cat to have the freedom to explore an outside area whilst being safe and protected from harm. 

cat in outdoor enclosure

If you’d like more vet approved pet health advice, sign up to our monthly newsletter here, or visit www.vetshopaustralia.com.au/Pet-Health.

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