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How to Keep Cats From Going Outside: 8 Great Ways

A gray cat looking out a window.
A gray cat looking out a window. Photography by lkoimages/Thinkstock.
Last Updated on November 30, 2023 by Catster Editorial Team

Summer has arrived, and with it comes additional indoor-outdoor traffic, open windows and inviting scents wafting into our homes. It also means our indoor cats turn into fuzzy little escape artists and will face stressful situations if they find themselves out of their element. And we humans… well, we just about lose our heads with worry when we discover one of our precious fur-babies is missing. Thankfully, there are some simple measures you can take to reduce the chances of your hairy Houdini making a break for it. Here are eight suggestions to keep your cat from escaping.

A cat scratching at a door, trying to escape.
Photography by marieclaudelemay/Thinkstock

The Top 8 Ways to Keep Cats From Going Outside

1. Provide an enriching home environment

When cats are busy and entertained, they’re less likely to seek adventure elsewhere. Offering a variety of brain-stimulating activities and toys makes this easier. There are a host of treat puzzles and interactive toys on the market. Read reviews and take your cat’s play habits into consideration before making a purchase.

2. Teach your cat to come when called

It’s true – cats can learn tricks and commands, especially if (surprise!) treats are involved. Consistently teaching your kitty to come when you call his name – and then rewarding him with a treat – makes life a whole lot easier when you’re attempting an exit without a cat on your heels. While kitty is busy gobbling his treats, slip through the door, all sneaky-like.

3. Don’t give your cat attention at the door

If you show your cat oodles of attention as you enter and exit your home, he’ll associate your home’s entryway with attention. This association keeps kitty focusing on that location when you’re coming or going. Needless to say, the likelihood of escaping escalates when this happens. It’s best to greet your cat in an area away from the door. Cats are smart and will catch on!

4. Hello/goodbye spot away from the door

Create a space away from the doorway that becomes the special hello/goodbye location for you and your cat. Maybe it’s on a ledge of a cat tree or in another room altogether. Offer a treat when kitty meets you at the spot. Once again, make your great escape during treat-nomming.

5. Leash train your cat or create a catio

If your cat is relentless with his desire to explore the great outdoors, provide him with that opportunity – in a safe manner. Some cats respond well to harness and leash training. Use time and patience, but don’t force your feline friend to wear a harness and walk on a leash if he’s really not feeling it.

Catios are a convenient way to let your cat roam untethered but within the confines of a secure space you’ve provided. Some humans turn their outdoor patios into screened-in catios – and some of these spaces are fairly pimped out with towers, cubes and cat-friendly landscaping. If you don’t have the space for an attached catio, portable, netted ones are a great choice and easily available online. Just be sure to keep your cat’s escape-artist tendencies in mind when purchasing. 

6. Post a note by the door to warn visitors

If you’re expecting company, place a warning note so your friends and family keep potentially fleeing felines in mind when arriving or exiting through a door to the outside.

7. Close your cat in a room when company comes over

Whether you’re welcoming guests for summer entertaining or you’ve got repair or delivery professionals stopping by, “stranger danger” (plus loud noises and chaos!) freaks cats out. Nip the stressful situation in the bud and place your cat behind closed doors with food, water, a litter box and toys to keep him comfortable and entertained. As another precautionary measure, post a note on the outside of the door reminding everyone there’s a kitty in the room.

8. Make sure windows have sturdy screens

If you open your windows during warm weather, make sure the screens are tightly secured so kitty doesn’t swat at a fly and take a fall from the window.

Even after taking detailed precautions, it’s possible that kitty may still find himself outdoors. It’s not a pleasant thought, but here’s how to make sure your cat is as safe as possible should he make the great escape:

  • Make sure your cat is microchipped and wearing a collar and tag.
  • Keep your cat’s shots up-to-date.
  • Make sure your kitties are spayed or neutered.


Summer is full of fun and relaxation, which is exponentially enhanced when we know our indoor kitties are safe and sound.

How do you keep your cat from escaping? Have you ever had to deal with your cat escaping? Tell us in the comments!

Top photograph: lkoimages/Thinkstock. 

About the Author

Angie Bailey
Angie Bailey

Angie Bailey, an award-winning writer, podcaster, and humorist, is the author of Texts from Mittens and Whiskerslist: The Kitty Classifieds. She’s written cat humor for over a decade, and lives in Minneapolis with her fiancé and two cats — Phoebe, a sassy senior and Janet, a teenage kitty with tons of tortitude.

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