Pros and Cons: Indoor Cats vs Outdoor Cats

Adopting a new cat or kitten can sometimes be an impulsive decision, but when deciding to take on the responsibility of a new furry friend, one must first determine whether they are prepared to provide their cat with everything they will need.  This includes not only the cat’s toys, food, and healthcare, but also their environment. Your first decision should include whether to adopt indoor cats or outdoor cats.

Indoor Cats vs Outdoor Cats

Most shelters and kennels ask adoptive owners to agree to keep their cats indoors, and many veterinarians support indoor lifestyles due to health and safety concerns, but one must also consider the possible benefits of allowing their cat to explore the outdoors at least part-time and under close supervision.  Following are the major pros and cons for providing a cat with either an indoor or outdoor environment:

Indoor Cats


An indoor cat’s safety is better protected.  They are less likely to get into fights with other animals, encounter environmental dangers, or be exposed to illnesses like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus or Feline Leukemia Virus.  In other words, you are less likely to worry about whether kitty may come home ill or injured.


The cat is less able to occupy and entertain himself in owner-approved ways.  One of the reasons many individuals enjoy cats is because of their independent natures.  However, indoor cats will actually begin to demand that their owners stimulate them.  This means that they may act out due to stress or anxiety when the owner is not around and “cling” to their owner when they are around.  Even if given access to proper toys and scratching posts, indoor cats may still choose to destroy furniture.  Indoor cats are also often more prone to weight problems and will require daily litter box care.

Outdoor Cats


Cats receive appropriate stimulation and exercise in an outdoor environment.  Outdoor environments provide the natural mental and sensory stimulation that helps to keep them healthy and happy.  They can use trees to clean and sharpen their claws and dirt to dig through for bathroom breaks.


The cat is exposed to outdoor situations that can potentially lead to illness or injury.  An outdoor cat will need to be protected against fleas and vaccinated against other common illnesses, and should not be released in areas with busy traffic.  Declawed cats that cannot defend themselves should only be allowed outdoors when they are able to be supervised, and all outdoor cats should wear identification collars to further guard their safety.


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