My cat always seems to run outside when given the chance. She has been doing this for about a year now and hasn't been stopping. Oh yes. She is a neutered female and we are not sure of the breed. She goes out almost every time given the chance. She doesn't go out very far, but we still worry about the animals getting her. Also, I get worried about our chickens being attacked by her. We have tried putting out food for her so she comes back, or even just shaking the food bag. She likes to play games with me. She'll come to the door, the once I open it, she runs. She plays that game a LOT. Also, we live in a house with big woods. Any ideas?

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    Welcome to Pets.SE! Will you please give us some details? Where do you live (house, apartment), the cat always runs, or only sometimes, how long does she spend outside, how far she goes, what does she do...
    – virolino
    Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 5:43
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    please give a bit more information about your cat,male/female,neutered/spayed,and information about things you have tried to do to keep your cat inside. Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 5:47
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    Welcome! Please give more information, as the others asked for. If a question needs to be clearified and will not be done, then it need to be deleted. Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 12:57
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    I just added more details. Thankyou, and, sorry! Commented Dec 22, 2022 at 17:07

2 Answers 2


Cats were never fully domesticated. They just adapted to live with humans for whatever reasons.

This means that cats are still wild at heart, and they need to manifest their wild nature occasionally. And it seems that your cat is doing just that.

Additionally, she needs to beat boredom. In the same way a child goes out to play, or you go out for shopping, the cat goes out for a run, or for an occasional mouse. Hopefully, not for one of your chicken :)

I think there is not much you can do. As long as the cat knows where she lives, and she keeps coming back, you should not worry much.

My grandparents (when they were alive) had cats (they lived in a village). Even though the cats were allowed in the house, and occasionally even invited inside the house, they were expected to live outside, and do whatever cats do.

Bottom line: a cat living outside is not the end of the world. You only need to be more careful about the pests it can bring, and the dirt she could get on her fur.

How do I get my cat to stop running outside?

That might not be possible at all, unless you force the cat to live in an enclosed case / room for the rest of her life.

  • @Stephie -For the first question, my cat is indoor only. Commented Dec 26, 2022 at 2:05
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    @AnimalLover for an indoor only cat it do sound like she like to spend some time outdoors. Commented Jan 6, 2023 at 7:32

First, you have to make up your mind (and probably get all family members on board as well). The core question is:

Do you want your cat to be an indoor cat only or are you ok with her being an indoor-outdoor cat, including accepting the risks that come with that?

Depending on that answer you need to develop an action plan.

If she’s to be indoors only, you need to secure the house in a way that makes it impossible for her to escape - how exactly that may be implemented depends on the locale. Just expecting her to stay inside when facing an open door or window won’t work. Unlike well-trained(!) dogs, it’s almost impossible to train a cat so that she follows your commands (“stay” or “come”) that reliably.

If you decide on “indoors only”, note that you will likely face a phase of “I am not happy with the limitations” and her probably expressing it one way or the other. After all, she’s been an indoor-outdoor cat for quite some time. You also need to make sure that she’s sufficiently entertained / challenged, that means you have to spend enough time to play with and mentally challenge her - after all, she’s used to a way wider place to roam and all the things a cat “does” outside, from surveying her “kingdom” to hunting and she gets a lot of sensory input.

If you decide to give her access to the outdoors, then you should take a few essential precautions: Always make sure only spayed/neutered cats roam free (no issue in your case), make sure she’s up to date on her vaccinations and regularly checked/treated for parasites. Ensure she can be identified (microchipped and registered, depending on your locale perhaps also a tattoo) if she gets lost, but better avoid collar, as even the “safe” ones have a remaining tangling / strangulation risk. I would also recommend to feed her only indoors, because that’s one way to ensure “at home” is a desirable place plus you can at least partially check her diet and avoid attracting other cats or even wild animals that then start unnecessary conflicts.

We can not make that decision for you, you know your environment best and can decide on the risks.

  • Thank you, and I will put some thought on it! Commented Dec 24, 2022 at 4:02

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