Why Is My Cat Scared to Go Outside?

Their ancestors are powerful, instinctual, outdoor hunters. So why do some cats seem afraid of the outside world?

Experience as well as Internal/External factors should be considered. Changes to the surroundings or new loud noises in the area could be creating anxiety. Other animals could also be a root cause or they may be anxious as a reaction to a traumatic event.

Why Is My Cat Scared to Go Outside?

Cats have always been regarded as very independent creatures. In fact around the world, there are entire villages – nay, islands! – whose primary population is feline in nature. So if cats are naturally capable of looking after themselves in the wild, why do some cats seem terrified to be outside of four walls?

The answer to that is very much dependent on each individual case. Much like no two people can live life going through the exact same experiences, neither can our furry friends. So finding out why your Terrified Tabby no longer wants to go outdoors may not be as simple as any one reason, but with a little bit of investigation work, you should be able to uncover just what is making your cat scared to go outside.

Age and Experience.

Is this your cat’s first introduction to the outside? Although by human standards, with their shorter lifespans, it’s easy to forget with how quickly they grow that they are still very young to the world around them. The world they knew before inside your home was much smaller and they had spent time carefully placing their scent.

Now, with this fresh new canvass, it can be a little overwhelming for any young cat. It would be somewhat akin to you traveling to another country on your own – with everything so strange and unfamiliar to what you’ve come to know. However, if your cat is known to be of the very fussy and clingy variety, perhaps the issue is simply a little bit of separation anxiety. In which case, maybe just having yourself with them as they breach those outdoor boundaries may suffice.

External Factors.

There are many sounds that we as humans take for granted. For instance, we know what the loud sound of a car engine backfiring sounds like. But to your furry companion – whose hearing is much more sensitive, too – that sound is unknown and very scary.

The same could be said if perhaps some building works have recently started in your area. These are all foreign noises to your poor cat, who instead of understanding the reason behind the noise like we do, only understands that there are loud scary noises and strange smells. 

Not to mention the threat of other, bigger predators. Our lovable pets are also more sensitive to any weather changes, so be wary of any storms that may be forecast as some cats can become very stressed in adverse weather.

Internal Factors.

You must also take into consideration any past trauma or experience our cat may have had prior to not wanting to go outside. This could be as simple as a run-in with a neighboring cat that didn’t end well for your fearful feline. Or as life-altering as an accident on the road. Far too many cats are injured in unfortunate accidents near a roadside and for those that survive, the memories of that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.

It may also be that your cat simply is not an outdoor cat. With such a varied array of personalities, it is no surprise to learn that some of these curious cats simply prefer to be inside and pampered rather than having to do all of the work for themselves… And really, can we blame them?

Final Thoughts.

We always want what is best for our cats and sometimes that comes with preconceived notions that they should be spending time outside. The debate between keeping an indoor versus outdoor cat is long and both with equally valid points.

So when it comes to our furry friends’ opinions on the matter, for them the outdoors is so much bigger and wider than they can understand and can make some anxious. Others simply prefer home comforts. But rest assured, indoors or outdoors, they still love to be with you.