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Why Is My Cat Afraid To Go Outside? (Reversible?)

If your cat is afraid of going outside you may be wondering why this is and if there is anything you can do to change this…

Why is my cat afraid to go outside?

Cats may be afraid of going outside for several reasons. The most common issues include fear of another cat, an incident it experienced outdoors causing it anxiety, or fear of the unknown. Regarding the latter, cats that have never had much exposure to other animals may feel this way because they are unsure how they will react towards them.

So, now you know. But, are cats happier being outdoors or inside? Where do cats sleep if they go outside at night? Do cats need to go outside to be happy? Keep reading or these answers, and much more…

Are indoor cats afraid to go outside?

Why is my cat afraid to go outside?

A cat looking outside.

Indoor cats are likely to be scared of outside, at least to begin with. This is because they may have had little or no exposure to the outside world and this may concern them. Some will be fine, while others may need to be persuaded, gradually, using treats or other incentives.

These treats can be as simple as the favorite cat treats (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad), or another favorite snack of their choice. Anything that will incentivize them to try to come outside. After time you will learn what snacks your cat enjoys to make it easier to tempt them out.

How do I get my cat to go outside?

The best way to get your cat outside is to offer it an incentive and start slowly. For example, offer it a treat and locate yourself outside. But, not too far, just enough to make them feel comfortable to come out. Here are the steps:

01. Incentivize

Firstly, as discussed, you need to make sure you offer a suitable incentive to convince your cat to come out. It is unlikely to venture out unless you offer it something to tempt it.

02. Positioning

When you offer the treat you need to be positioned well. Meaning, you need to be outside, but not too far out. The idea is to start small and increase the distance in time, once it’s used to it. if you go too far it will prefer to stay safely inside and ignore the treats.

03. Start Slowly

Once your cat is willing to come outside and meet you for the treats keep it brief. Basically, just start with a few minutes then walk back in. This may sound like a waste of time, but the idea is to get it used to it first and not overwhelm it.

04. Increase the duration

Once your cat is used to a few minutes outside you will need to gradually increase the duration. And, not just this, also the distance from your home can be extended. Hopefully, in time, it will learn to come outside without being tempted or needing your assistance.

Do cats run away if they are unhappy?

Cats are unlikely to run away because they are unhappy. They do run away for several reasons. Some of the common issues are exploring outside of their comfort zone and getting lost, looking for a mate, trying to locate their old home, or health issues.

Each one of these can tempt your cat away from your home and will be classed as its “runaway”. But, if we take getting lost, for example, this is a genuine mistake that may be misinterpreted as it running away.

Do indoor cats get stressed?

When is it too late to allow an indoor cat outside?

Indoor cat looking out of the window.

Indoor cats do get stressed. But, it is unlikely to be because they long to go out. It could be other issues such as a health issue, a new family member such as a baby, or another new cat testing its territory. 

The reality is this, indoor cats can lead happy and fulfilled lives without roaming outdoors. But, they are not immune to other stresses of life, like any other cat.

Do cats need to go outside to be happy?

Cats do not need to go outside to lead a happy life. Some basic requirements need to be met, such as food, shelter, exercise, and love. And yes, outdoor exercise is beneficial, but other alternatives can be provided indoors to keep the cat happy.

For example, a simple cat tree (Click here to see the price, on Amazon #Ad), or interactive toy (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) can keep a cat active indoors.

Where do cats sleep outside at night?

Cats sleep in several different locations when they outside at night. Some common places are garden sheds, large home porches, greenhouses, or old abandoned houses. The potential is endless as long as it offers shelter from the rain, or cold, and privacy from rival animals.

Obviously, if you have a cat flap (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) your cat will let itself in as and when it needs to.

How do you cheer up a cat?

If your cat is freaked out about going outside, or just needs to cheer up in general, here are some tips to help it:

01. More quality time

Cats really do appreciate quality time. Therefore you can help them by offering more of your time. The reality is it does not need to be a lot of time, it could just be an extra 30-60 minutes per day to make it a bit happier.

02. Provide activities


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You can use simple activities such as a cat tree, or toy balls (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) to make your cat feel happier and to give it more exercise.

03. Toys & Games 

As well as quality time, and activities you can provide many different toys to keep it happy such as interactive toys (Click here to see the price, on Amazon #Ad), etc.

Are cats happier outside or inside?

If you are wondering if your indoor cat would be happier outdoors you may be happy to learn that in most cases it makes no difference. A cat can be happy indoors or out. And, some cat owners argue they are better off inside, but that is hotly debated to this day.

The reality is this, there are numerous cases of happy cats inside and out and experienced cat owners on both sides. So, it’s best to see how your cat reacts and tailor your choice based on the individual cat.

Should you force your cat to go outside?

If a cat does not want to go outside it is not advisable to force it. This can make it upset and more anxious. Some cats may have been outside before and had a bad experience and be fearful of it going forward.

As discussed earlier your cat doesn’t need to go outside to be happy so it’s best to follow the responses of your cat and keep them happy inside if that is best for them.

Lindsey Browlingdon