Is Keeping House Cats Cruel?

Is keeping house cats cruel? Many believe keeping a cat indoors is cruel and damaging to a cat’s physical and mental health.

House Cat Behavior Explained: On this page we will analyze all aspects including the positives of keeping a cat indoors and give you enough information to make up your mind on whether its okay to keep your cat safe inside.

Should cats be kept indoors? 

What are the negatives of keeping a cat indoors?

Can I ensure my house cat is as healthy and happy as an outdoor cat?

Firstly lets look at the House Cat Facts:

  Positives of Keeping Cats Indoors:

  •  Research has shown that on average house cats live longer than outdoor cats. It is important to remember a large percentage of cats die on the roads each year. 
  • As a percentage indoor cats get less diseases and illnesses than outdoor cats. Indoor breeds don’t have access to other feline breeds that carry disease and don’t have the opportunity to catch rodents.
  •  Indoor breeds are less likely to get fleas and parasites.
  • House cats in general are cleaner than outdoor cats. The Persian cat will be happy taking his nap on your couch, the moggie may take his nap on the neighbours bin.
  • House cats are often closer to humans than outdoor cats. Cats are fantastic survivors but if kept indoors they are reliant on their owner to survive. This can create a great bond between human and cat.

Lets now look at the negatives and the common reasons for thinking that keeping house cats is cruel.

 Negatives of Keeping Cats Indoors:

  • Statistically as a ratio cats kept in doors are more likely to suffer with depression.
  • Research has shown that it is more likely to have a house cat that is overweight if kept indoors. A lack of exercise often makes indoor cats prone to weight gain.
  • Vets insist that house cats kept indoors are more likely to suffer from excessive hairballs. Outdoor cats eat grass that aids digestion. Cats will also loose excess hair on the grass and trees when they patrol their territory.  A symptom of anxiety in house cats is over grooming; this can also lead to excessive hairballs in house cats.

We have now seen the facts, therefore is keeping house cats cruel? In an ideal world I think we would all want to let our cats outside if we new they would come back each day clean, safe and healthy. What else do we need to factor?

How to make a decision on whether keeping house cats is cruel.

There is no correct answer on whether keeping cats indoors is cruel. This depends on a variety of factor and you will need to take these factors into account when you decide whether to keep a cat indoors or let them outside.

What’s the best breed of cat to keep indoors?

Some house cat breeds are better kept indoors than others. For example a timid Persian would do far better indoors than an adventurous Bengal cat. Good house cat breeds include:

Bad house cat breeds include:

To say the above are bad house cat breeds is perhaps not fair. Is keeping these breeds as house cats cruel? Well perhaps not, but it requires a lot more effort from the owner to keep one of these breeds happy indoors. But how do we make any house cat happy?

Do I have the time to keep a house cat?

If you don’t have the time to look after an indoor breed then keeping a house cat is cruel. You need to make sure you eliminate all the negatives of keeping a house cat as described above. What do you therefor need to do to make sure keeping cats indoors is not cruel?

  • House Cat Depression: You need to play with your cat daily to avoid feline depression. Ensure the activities of hunt; chase and catch are in your pet’s schedule. Buy a large cat tree or even think about buying a cat garden fence enclosure if finances permit, as these will help your cat’s mental health.
  • House Cat Overweight: Make sure your indoor cat breed receives enough exercise; this again is through playing with your cat. Is it possible to keep a house cat in a flat? If you want to keep a cat in an apartment you will need to spend lots of time each day ensuring you cat burns enough calories and receives enough mental stimulation. You may need to keep your house cat on a low calorie dietary food.
  •  Excessive hairballs in house cats: Indoor breeds need to be groomed more than cats let outside. Hairballs in house cats is very common but if not treated can lead to more serious medical issues. Ensure you groom your cat daily to remove excess and dead hair that can cause hairballs in house cats. Is keeping house cats cruel? Definitely yes if you do not groom them enough!


What’s your situation and personality like?

Is keeping indoor cats cruel? That may depend on your own situation, personality and circumstances….

  • Keeping cats in urban areas: If you live in a urban area or near a freeway (motorway) or rail tracks then it is more likely your cat could have a accident. If you would spend the whole day worrying then perhaps keeping a cat indoors would be better for you and your cat.
  • Keeping a house cat in a flat: Sometimes you will have no choice but to keep your cat in an apartment. If this is a case make sure you eradicate all the negatives as discussed above. If you don't, is keeping house cats cruel in an apartment? Yes! Sure right it is.


Is keeping house cats cruel? Definitely Not! But that is dependent on the work that you put in to make sure your cat receives the positives of staying indoors and the positives of going outside. If financially possible we recommend a cat garden fence enclosure, which gives you the best of both worlds. Don’t forget to check our main house cat page on our navigation menu for even more great information on house cat care.

I hope we have answered your question, Is keeping house cats cruel? Go from this page to the Home Page.