by Laure
(Cleveland, Ohio)


Hiccup is a 1 year old short-haired declawed and neutered cat. He is constantly pining to go outside although he gets a lot of love and attention inside. We have been feeling very guilty about this, and we finally decided to let him play in our fenced-in yard a few days ago for an hour a day, knowing that he will be safe there under supervision.

However, now he is constantly restless, meowing and banging on doors when he is inside and we haven't been able to sleep well at night because of this. What should we do? Did we make a mistake by letting him play outside? Thank you for your help!

Dear Laure,

Not everyone will agree with me, but yes I think you made a mistake. Your cat now wants to be outdoors all the time and wouldn't be acting this way if he wasn't allowed out. The outdoors, while fun for a kitty, is very dangerous. You cannot possibly watch him every minute of the day and you cannot make the outdoors totally safe for him regardless of where you live.

If you keep him in now all the time, then over time he will lose his interest in going out. The other alternative is some type of outdoor enclosure with a cat door that he can go in and out. I used to have an outdoor enclosure for my own cats and they enjoyed it a great deal, but were safe from other animals, getting hit by a car, catching diseases and parasites, and a lot of other things that can harm an outdoor cat.

Such an outdoor enclosure has to be covered on all sides, including the top because a cat will just climb over a fence regardless of the height. You can read more about my experience with outdoor cat enclosures here.

Best of luck with whatever you decide,
Dr. Neely

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