How Do You Get A Scared Cat To Go Outside?

Do you have a cat that’s afraid of the great outdoors? As a cat lover, you know how frustrating it can be to watch your furry friend miss out on all the joys of exploring nature. But fear not – coaxing your timid feline into becoming an outdoor enthusiast is possible with a little patience and some smart strategies.

Cats are naturally cautious creatures, and the thought of venturing into an unfamiliar environment can be daunting for them. That’s why we’ve put together this blog post to help you help your cat overcome its fear and learn to love the outdoors.

From creating outdoor enclosures and designated play areas to slowly introducing your cat to the outside world through a harness and leash, there are plenty of methods available to ease your furry friend’s anxiety. We’ll explore these techniques in-depth, offering practical tips and insights into why some cats are scared of the outdoors.

So if you’re ready to give your cat the confidence it needs to enjoy fresh air and sunshine, keep reading.

Step 1: Gradually Introduce Your Cat to the Outdoors

Taking your cat outside can be daunting, especially if they are scared or anxious. However, with the right approach, you can help your cat overcome their fear and enjoy the great outdoors. The first step is to gradually introduce your cat to the outdoors, starting with these important steps:

Get Your Cat Used to the Outdoors from Inside

Cats are creatures of habit and thrive on routine. So, start small by allowing your cat to watch the outside world from inside your home. Place a bird feeder or bird bath near a window where your cat can observe the birds outside. You can also provide plenty of toys and scratching posts near the window to keep your cat entertained while they watch.

Start Taking Your Cat Outside on a Leash or Harness

Once your cat has become comfortable watching the outdoors from inside, it’s time to start taking them outside. However, this should be done gradually and under close supervision. Start by taking your cat outside for short periods while keeping them on a leash or harness. This will allow them to explore their surroundings while still feeling safe and secure.

Be Patient and Encouraging

Remember that cats are naturally cautious animals, so it’s important to be patient with your cat as they explore their surroundings. Let your cat explore at their own pace and encourage them with treats and praise when they show curiosity or bravery.

Step 4: Increase the Amount of Time Your Cat Spends Outdoors

As your cat becomes more comfortable outside, you can gradually increase the amount of time they spend outdoors. Always keep a close eye on your cat and make sure they are not in any danger, such as being attacked by another animal or running into traffic.

Safety First

It’s crucial to ensure that your cat is safe while exploring the great outdoors. Make sure that your cat is always wearing a collar with identification tags and is microchipped. Additionally, keep a close eye on your cat and make sure they are not in any danger, such as being attacked by another animal or running into traffic.

Provide Stimulation

Cats are curious creatures and need plenty of stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Make sure that your cat has access to plenty of toys and scratching posts while outside. You can also provide a small enclosed area for your cat to explore independently.

Step 2: Create a Safe and Secure Outdoor Enclosure

If you’re looking to help your scared cat experience the great outdoors, creating a safe and secure outdoor enclosure is a fantastic place to start. Not only will it give your furry friend the opportunity to explore the world outside, but it can also provide them with a sense of security and comfort.

But where do you even begin with creating an outdoor enclosure for your cat? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some important sub-topics and tips to keep in mind when building your cat’s outdoor oasis:

Location, location, location: The first step is to choose the perfect spot for your cat’s enclosure. Consider factors like accessibility, safety from predators and other hazards, and the amount of space you have available. Whether it’s in your backyard or on a balcony if you live in an apartment, make sure it’s easily accessible for your cat while also being safe and secure.

Deciding on the enclosure type: There are many types of enclosures available, so choose one that works best for your cat and your space. Some popular options include wire mesh enclosures, wooden enclosures, and DIY enclosures made from PVC pipes and netting. Make sure to pick one that will keep your cat safe from any potential dangers.

Building a sturdy and secure enclosure: When constructing the enclosure, ensure that it is sturdy and secure enough to keep your cat inside while keeping any potential predators out. A door or entrance that can be easily opened and closed is also important so that you can let your cat in and out as needed. Take extra care to make sure that there are no escape routes for your feline friend.

Providing amenities for your cat: Your cat will need some amenities within the enclosure, such as a comfortable bed or blanket, food and water bowls, and toys to keep them entertained. Consider adding climbing structures or shelves for your cat to climb on as well. This will not only keep them entertained but also provide them with a sense of security.

Step 3: Use Positive Reinforcement Techniques

There’s a solution – positive reinforcement. This powerful tool can help your cat associate going outside with positive experiences and reduce their fear.

To use positive reinforcement effectively, begin by rewarding your cat for small steps towards going outside. For example, if your cat is afraid of the door leading outside, start by rewarding them for standing near the door. Gradually increase the expectation, rewarding them for taking a step closer to the door or even touching the handle. With time and patience, your cat will feel more confident and comfortable about going outside.

Another way to use positive reinforcement is by creating a safe and comfortable outdoor space for your cat. Set up a cozy spot with a soft bed, toys, and treats in an enclosed area such as a screened porch or a fenced-in yard. This will allow your cat to explore and enjoy being outside while feeling safe and secure.

It’s important to keep in mind that every cat is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Thus, you need to be patient and consistent with your positive reinforcement techniques while respecting your cat’s boundaries and comfort levels.

Tips for Helping Your Cat Overcome Their Fear

If you’re struggling to get your scared cat to venture outside, don’t give up hope. It’s common for cats to feel anxious about exploring new environments, but with a little patience and understanding, you can help them overcome their fears and enjoy the great outdoors.

How Do You Get A Scared Cat To Go Outside-2

Here are some ways to help your scared cat overcome their fear of going outside:

Identify the Root Cause of Their Fear

The first step in helping your scared cat is to identify the root cause of their fear. Is it due to a traumatic experience or a lack of exposure to the outdoors? Once you know what’s causing their fear, you can work on addressing it.

Start Small and Gradually Expose Your Cat to the Outdoors

It’s essential to start small and gradually expose your cat to the outside world. Open a window or door and let your cat explore around it at their pace. As they become more comfortable, increase their exposure time and distance from their safe space.

Create a Safe Space Outside

Setting up an enclosed area such as a cat run or pen can provide a safe haven for your cat outside. They will feel secure while still enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Add familiar objects like toys or blankets to make the space feel more inviting.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Offer treats and praise when your cat shows interest in going outside, and avoid punishing or forcing them to do something they’re not ready for. Cats respond well to positive reinforcement, so use it to encourage them.

Be Patient and Understanding

Every cat is unique, and some may take longer than others to adjust to going outside. Be patient and understanding throughout the process, never force them into anything they’re uncomfortable with, and celebrate even the smallest victories.

Understanding Different Approaches for Different Cats

There are various approaches you can take to help your feline companion ease into the outside world.

It’s important to bear in mind that each cat is unique and may require a specific approach depending on their personality, breed, and past experiences. Here are some general tips to consider:

  • Gradual Introduction: Start with short and supervised trips outside to help your cat become more comfortable and confident in their new surroundings. You can gradually increase the duration of these trips as your cat grows more at ease.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use treats or toys to entice your cat to venture outside. This helps them associate the outdoors with positive experiences, making them more willing to explore.
  • Harness and Leash Training: For some cats, it may be helpful to train them to wear a harness and leash before taking them outside. This can offer a sense of security and safety, making the transition easier for them.
  • Professional Help: If your cat suffers from severe anxiety or fear, consider consulting a professional animal behaviorist. They can identify the root cause of their fears and develop a personalized plan to help your cat overcome their anxieties.

It’s essential to be patient and gentle when working with a scared cat. With time and the right approach, most cats can learn to enjoy the great outdoors without fear or hesitation.

The Benefits of Letting Your Cat Explore the Outdoors

Here are some reasons why you should consider giving your cat a taste of the wild side:

Mental and Physical Stimulation

Cats are natural hunters and explorers, and being cooped up inside all day can lead to boredom and frustration. Allowing your cat to explore the outdoors gives them the opportunity to satisfy their natural instincts by stalking prey, climbing trees, and discovering new surroundings. Additionally, outdoor cats tend to be more active than indoor cats, which can help them maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity-related health issues such as diabetes and arthritis.

Improved Behavior and Socialization Skills

Cats that are kept exclusively indoors may become anxious or aggressive due to a lack of social interaction with other animals or humans. Outdoor cats have the opportunity to interact with other cats in their neighborhood, which can help them develop better social skills and reduce anxiety. Additionally, allowing your cat to explore the outdoors can provide mental stimulation that can improve their overall behavior.

Immune System Boost

Exposure to sunlight can help improve your cat’s immune system and overall wellbeing. Sunlight provides vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and teeth.

Of course, it’s important to take necessary precautions when letting your cat explore the outdoors. Ensure that they are up-to-date on vaccinations, have identification tags, and are supervised when necessary. But with a little bit of careful planning, you can give your furry friend the gift of adventure and watch them thrive in their natural habitat.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Working with a Scared Cat

Some cats are adventurous and love exploring the great outdoors, while others are more timid and prefer to stay inside. However, if you have a scared cat who is afraid of going outside, there are a few common mistakes you should avoid to ensure their safety and comfort.

Don’t force your cat outside

Forcing a scared cat to go outside can be counterproductive and make their fear and anxiety worse. Cats are independent creatures who need to feel in control of their environment. If you force your cat outside, they may become even more scared and less likely to want to go outside in the future.

Avoid using punishment or negative reinforcement

Using punishment or negative reinforcement, such as yelling at your cat or spraying them with water, will only damage the trust between you and your feline friend. Instead, try using positive reinforcement techniques such as treats or toys to coax them outside.

Provide a safe and comfortable environment

Creating a safe and comfortable environment is essential when trying to get a scared cat to go outside. This can include setting up a secure enclosure or checking the area for potential dangers such as predators or poisonous plants. By ensuring their safety, your cat will feel more confident and comfortable exploring the outdoors.

It’s important to remember that every cat is different, so what works for one may not work for another. Patience and understanding are key when working with a scared cat. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist.


In conclusion, coaxing a scared cat to venture outside can seem like an insurmountable challenge, but with patience and smart strategies, it is possible. The first step is to gradually introduce your feline companion to the great outdoors by acclimatizing them from inside before venturing out on a leash or harness. Safety should always be paramount, so ensure that your cat wears identification tags and is microchipped. You could also create an outdoor enclosure or safe space for your cat, providing them with a sense of security while they explore their new surroundings.

Positive reinforcement techniques are an effective way to help your cat overcome its fear of going outside. It’s essential to remember that every cat is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Understanding different approaches such as gradual introduction, positive reinforcement, harness and leash training or professional help can be beneficial in helping your furry friend feel more comfortable outside.

Letting your cat explore the outdoors has many benefits such as mental and physical stimulation, improved behavior and socialization skills, and an immune system boost. However, it’s important to avoid common mistakes such as forcing your cat outside or using punishment or negative reinforcement.

With patience, understanding, and careful planning tailored to suit your individual pet’s needs, you can help them enjoy fresh air and sunshine while feeling safe and secure.