Why Does My Indoor Cat Suddenly Want To Go Outside?

Cat behavior can be puzzling sometimes, especially when an indoor cat that seems content suddenly starts pleading to go outside. Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Animal Behavior Clinic Director at Tufts University offers some ideas that may help.

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Something New Caught His Attention?

As Dodman points out, there may be a new aspect to outdoors that’s attracted your cat’s attention. It may be birds that have built a nest close by, squirrels racing around, a new cat in the neighborhood, or simple boredom.

indoor cat

Change Up Indoor Environment

Whatever has awakened your cat’s interest, there are some things to do to make the environment inside more appealing again.  Here are some suggestions

  • Adding another cat to the family. A lone cat gets bored more easily than two cats keeping each other company.
  • If adding another cat isn’t a possibility, add places your cat can climb, such as a cat tree or cat shelves.  Many cats like looking out the window. The window perch from K & H Manufacturing is a nice option for hours of sightseeing for your cat.
  • Accentuate his outdoor view by screening off some windows.
  • Toys, especially food/treat puzzles can work well to keep him occupied.  I have the PetSafe SlimCat Meal Dispensing Toy for Marty.  I like the fact it’s adjustable so you can limit the amount of food/treats it dispenses.
  • Interactive camera.  Many cameras, like the Petcube, provide a chance for your to see and interact with your cat during the day. Some models dispense treats and have a play option.
  • Schedule regular play times, at least 30 minutes each day.  Get some interactive toys that he can chase, fishing pole toys work great for this.  It will allow him to use his stalking talents, comparable to hunting prey outside.

Consider A Catio

If you’ve tried the suggestions above and your cat still begs to go outside, consider adding a catio.

Catios are enclosed areas that give your cat the opportunity to safely experience outdoors.  Usually, they begin as a patio, deck or sunroom that is modified with cat-safe screening and other cat-friendly options.  This way, cats can experience the scents, sights and sounds of outdoors without predators getting in, or your cat getting out.

Jackson Galaxy, star of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell, in collaboration with Kate Benjamin from hauspanther.com, wrote Catification: Designing a Happy and Stylish Home for Your Cat (and You!).  This book contains many catio projects and other ideas to make living spaces more interesting for cats.

If you’re a DIY fan, sites like catiospaces.com offer downloadable PDF instructions for building your own catio.  What’s even better, 10% of the sales go toward helping pets in need.


We all can go a bit stir crazy, I know I do when inside too long. When  cat behavior changes like this, it’s a sign your indoor cat is getting a bit stir crazy.

Doing things to make his indoor world more stimulating will go a long way to calm his urge to roam the great outdoors.










Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.

1 Responses to "Why Does My Indoor Cat Suddenly Want To Go Outside?"

  1. I have two indoor cats, one male and one female, I have made them their own planter, it contains lemon grass, catnip and lavender, ( I actually have three, which I rotate a week at a time). I have a nice size screened in porch and their planter is there along with their food, water and dirt box. They have access into the house thru an open bedroom window. They love it out there, I also have two windows in opposite sides of the house, there they have a window shelf and can view out from most places in the house. This has lasted so far for five years, so far, so good.

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