Our cat is 3 years old and her previous owners had her since she was a kitten. They started bringing her outside at age 2, and she becomes aggressive when kept indoors.

How can I ensure that my cat is happy indoors? Will her aggressiveness increase the longer I keep her in?

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    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 10:02
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  • It helps me to look at cats like young children: There are dangers out there that they can’t anticipate or fully understand such as speeding cars, and dangerous animals. So even if your toddler wants to go outside and play in the street unsupervised in a large city, it is generally understood this would be a bad idea.
    – Beo
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 21:46

3 Answers 3


Keeping a cat indoors is not cruel. It actually increases the cat's life expectancy.

He [an outdoor cat] has a significantly reduced life expectancy. Cats allowed outdoors have an average life expectancy of 5 years! (Indoor cats can live for 15-20 years) This is due to the higher risk of injury, death, illness, fights, etc.

Cats have been introduced as pets all over the world. They are not always fit to fight off predators and, as with most animals, have difficulty navigating with human life for example traffic.

In many places like Australia, cats devastate the native wild life. They're actually laws in most states preventing cats from being allowed to wonder outside at night. Some people resent cats so much they will actively attempt to trap and kill them. I've had this happen to my cats when I lived in the country.

Apart from injuries from accidents, there's less parasite issues, skin cancer from being exposed to the elements and from my experience, indoor cats tend to become more part of the household.

As mentioned, they do love to jump and need to scratch, so be prepared to make sacrifices to some furniture, even if you do provide scratching posts.

Also it takes time and patience to train them not to jump on kitchen benches and it's something that is hard to entirely break them from.

From a cat's perspective, jumping onto higher surfaces is natural. We have one cat that always jumps to the highest point of every room we have. We have baskets to store things and he likes to jump into these baskets. Or as mentioned you can buy custom cat homes that will incorporate perches and carpet.

In our case we live in an apartment and they can access the outdoors via our balconies. It's preferable they can see outside and it is better for them to be able to access the outdoors in some way, for sheer variety of experience. However it's not vital to their well being.

People often view cats as independent creatures, but they're not. They're completely dependent on their owners to care for them and to protect them. An indoor life is the best life a cat can have. If they are well fed, have their litter regularly changed and are given attention.

There's plenty of cat toys and you can use a simple string to play with cats and keep them entertained. Recently one of our cats has taken to our hair bands and will play with them. He stretches them and they then fling across the room, and he chases them. It's quite entertaining to watch.

As for aggression, the cat is less likely to be aggressive if kept indoors, as there's less threats to her territory inside.

Some interesting sources.

Your Cat—Indoors or Out - Mobile SPCA

Aggression in Cats - ASPCA

  • @lizryan I don't believe it would make her more desperate to go outside or more aggressive. I think it's a good idea. Has she walked on a leash before? Perhaps try her inside first.
    – user6796
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 0:09
  • "Keeping a cat indoors is not cruel it actually increases the cat's life expectancy." You're not wrong about either, but your phrasing is comparing apples and oranges. Cruelty is based on how the cat feels about being kept inside; life expectancy focuses on how you feel about your treatment of the cat.
    – Flater
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 16:21

No, it's not cruel. It might help with the transition to bring the outside into your home for her, though. Your cat's aggressiveness should subside with the effort you make to acclimate her to her new home and conditions. Likely, your vet will also have some suggestions,

Any chance you have a screened in porch available? Maybe a perch near a window? It may or may not be helpful for her to see the outside world, but I'd imagine it would help.

Most importantly, spend quality time with your cat every day. Play with them and try and keep a regular schedule about it. Keep a variety of toys so each day there's something new! At a minimum, 15 minutes per day while you acclimate them to their new indoor lifestyle. Possibly twice a day or longer intervals for an adjustment period. In addition to play time you can also train cats - for example, to walk on a leash. That way, you can go outside together!

Also, a cat tree or some kind of perch is a great idea if you have the space. Your indoor cat will need a place that is their territory (be that under a bed, behind a couch, or whatever works, but a cat tree with a perch works really well in my experience.

Cat scratching posts are also essential to keep your cat's claws from decimating your furniture. (The spray bottle makes a great deterrent if you catch them in the act).

Consider planting cat grass.

  • 1
    Maybe you can combine training her to "stay" and training her on leash so bolting is not a problem. A year of outdoor living is gonna take time to curb. Do what you can to bring the outdoors inside for her.
    – MmmHmm
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 23:17
  • the entire house is the cat's private space. Us humans are accepted interlopers in our feline overlords' domain :) As to scratching poles, my cat scratches almost anything BUT his scratching post. Even scenting it with catnip didn't entice him to change that (and placing scratch pads on surfaces he scratches a lot just means he now completely ignores those spots and scratches elsewhere).
    – jwenting
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 11:57

It depends, some cats will have no issues or even love to stay inside, others will loathe it trying to escape just as someone approaches the door.

Like people, someone will spend all his life home, another simply can't stay inside more than sleep time. It's a matter of personality.

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