12 Best Outdoor Cat Breeds That Thrive in Nature

This article is not designed to replace professional veterinary advice and should not be relied upon as such. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own decisions after consulting with their pet’s health care provider. For more information please consult our medical disclaimer.

If you’re a cat lover, you know that cats are curious creatures who love to explore the world around them. They are independent, playful, and enjoy basking in the sun. If you have an outdoor space, you might be wondering what cat breed would be best suited for the great outdoors.

There are many cat breeds that are well-suited for outdoor living, but it’s important to choose a breed that fits your lifestyle and environment. Some breeds are more active and adventurous than others, while others are more laid-back and prefer lounging indoors. Additionally, some breeds are better adapted to certain climates and terrains.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best outdoor cat breeds and what makes them great for outdoor living.

We’ll take a look at their unique traits, temperament, and care requirements, so you can make an informed decision when choosing the perfect feline companion for your home and lifestyle.

outdoor cat sitting next to yellow flowers

Understanding Outdoor Cats

If you’re considering adopting an outdoor cat, it’s important to understand their behavioral traits and territorial needs to ensure their safety and well-being.

Behavioral Traits

Outdoor cats have a natural instinct to explore their surroundings and experience the great outdoors.

They are often more active and independent than indoor cats, and they may have a greater need for mental and physical stimulation. Outdoor cats also tend to have a more varied diet, as they have access to a wider range of prey and vegetation.

However, it’s important to note that outdoor cats are also at greater risk of injury and disease from fights with other animals, exposure to toxins, and traffic accidents.

Territorial Needs

Outdoor cats are territorial animals and need space to roam and establish their territory. They mark their territory with urine, feces, and scent glands, and they may become aggressive towards other cats that enter their territory.

It’s important to provide your outdoor cat with enough space to roam, but also to ensure that their territory does not overlap with other cats in the area.

If your cat goes outdoors, it’s important to provide them with regular veterinary care, including vaccinations, parasite control, and spaying or neutering.

You should also provide your outdoor cat with adequate shelter, food, and water, and ensure that their outdoor environment is safe and secure.

By understanding your outdoor cat’s behavioral traits and territorial needs, you can provide them with a happy and healthy life.

Top Outdoor-Friendly Cat Breeds

While many cat breeds can adapt to an outdoor lifestyle, some breeds are particularly well-suited for it due to their natural characteristics, such as independence, hunting skills, and sturdy physical build.

Keep in mind that allowing a cat outdoors comes with potential risks, including exposure to predators, traffic, and other dangers. If you decide to let your cat roam outdoors, make sure the environment is safe and do as much as you can to ensure their well-being.

Here are twelve of the best cat breeds that are known for their outdoor-friendly traits.

Norwegian Forest Cat
Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cat

This large and sturdy feline, known for its ability to survive in harsh, cold environments, is truly a king among cats. Its thick, water-resistant coat keeps it protected from the biting winds and frigid temperatures that are an everyday occurrence in its native habitat.

But this doesn’t stop this majestic beast from exploring and conquering the wild. It is a skilled hunter, with lightning-fast reflexes and razor-sharp claws that allow it to take down prey much larger than itself.

And let’s not forget its impressive climbing abilities. Norwegian Forest cats can scale trees and cliffs like they’re nothing! Truly a remarkable creature, one that commands awe and admiration from all who come across it.

Maine Coon cat
Maine Coon Cat

Maine Coon

Maine Coons are truly captivating, with their impressive size and friendly nature. They are known for their intelligence and ability to adapt well to outdoor life, making them perfect companion cats for those who love spending time in nature. With tufted ears and bushy tails, they are also equipped with some protection against the elements.

It’s hard not to be drawn to these magnificent creatures, who seem to embody both grace and strength with every step they take. Anyone lucky enough to have a Maine Coon cat as a pet knows that they are truly one-of-a-kind.

Siberian cat
Siberian Cat

Siberian Cat

Siberian cats are the feline epitome of resilience and strength. With a thick, long coat, these cats can withstand the fiercely cold climates of Siberia, their native homeland. Their thick fur not only keeps them warm and snug during the harsh winters, but also gives them a majestic look that is synonymous with the breed.

Siberian cats are also extremely agile and have impressive hunting skills. Watching a Siberian cat in action is a true testament to their innate abilities, as they effortlessly pounce and leap with remarkable speed and precision.

European Shorthair Cat
European Shorthair Cat

European Shorthair

European Shorthair cats are a beloved breed that is known for their adaptability. They have a friendly demeanor that makes them a cherished addition to any family. Not only are they amiable, the breed’s short, dense coat also requires minimal grooming, which means they’re well-suited for outdoor living.

If you’re looking for a feline companion who is laidback and easy to care for, a European Shorthair cat could be the perfect fit. With their friendly temperament and low-maintenance coat, they’re sure to bring joy and comfort to your life.

Manx Cat
Manx Cat


The Manx cat may be the perfect feline friend for those who enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. With their impressive hunting abilities and sturdy build, these unique cats are perfectly suited to thrive in a variety of different environments.

But perhaps what makes Manx cats truly stand out is their lack of tail or possession of a particularly short tail. Whether you live in the city or the countryside, the Manx cat is a wonderful companion that will adapt to your lifestyle with ease.

Balinese cat
Balinese Cat


If you’re looking for a cat that’s both beautiful and adventurous, the Balinese might just be a perfect fit. With their sleek semi-longhair coat, this breed is both striking and soft to the touch.

And while they’re a variant of the Siamese, Balinese cats have a unique look all their own. But it’s not just their looks that set Balinese cats apart – these felines are incredibly agile and love to explore.

So if you’ve got a big backyard or a nearby park, your Balinese cat might just be your new outdoor companion. But don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of outdoor space – this breed is just as content curling up on your lap for a movie marathon.

Bengal cat
Bengal Cat


Bengals are truly unique creatures. They are the perfect combination of wild and domesticated, with their sleek spotted coat resembling that of a majestic leopard.

With their energetic spirit and love for exploration, Bengal cats are never one to turn down an adventure. They thrive on playtime and interacting with their owners, making them the perfect pet for those seeking an active and spirited companion.

Whether it’s leaping from couch to couch or chasing after a toy, Bengals are always up for a good time. Their curious disposition and adventurous nature make them a joy to have around.

Turkish Van

Turkish Vans are not your average cats – they’re often found splashing around in the water! Known for their love of swimming, these feline water babies have earned a reputation as confident and adventurous pets.

Their semi-longhair coat is not only beautiful, but it also provides some added insulation during aquatic activities. But don’t let their love of water fool you: they’re equally at home on land, too. Their strong, muscular body makes them well-suited for outdoor adventures of all kinds.

Abyssinian cat
Abyssinian Cat


Abyssinian cats are playful and have bags of energy. They’re also very intelligent and enjoy exploring, all of which makes them well-suited to outdoor life.

The short coat of an Abyssinian is easy to care for, but their light colour does make them prone to sunburn. If you’re considering an Abyssinian as an outdoor pet you will need to provide adequate shade in order to avoid health issues.

Bobtail cat
Bobtail Cat


If you like the idea of a cat that has a few dog traits, consider an American Bobtail. These distinctive kitties have a naturally stubby tail and an athletic build, and are known for their love of playing fetch and tolerance of walking on a leash.

American Bobtails make great family pets, and are usually good with other pets too. Their intelligence and strong build makes them well-equipped for outdoor time.

Savannah cat
Savannah Cat


Savannahs are a cross between a wild cat and a domestic breed, hence their wildcat look. They’re big and athletic, with an impressive ability to jump. Add in their high energy levels, and it’s easy to see how a Savannah cat is suited to outdoor pursuits.

Having said that, you may need to restrict a Savannah cat to a secure outdoor space to comply with licensing laws and ensure your pet’s safety.

Russian Blue cat
Russian Blue Cat

Russian Blue

Striking and elegant, Russian Blues will enjoy some outdoor access. While they’re happy being part of the family, they can cope with time apart.

Once a Russian Blue decides they like you, they’ll spend plenty of time letting you know. This affectionate nature combined with their ability to cope outdoors makes them a good option for an indoor-outdoor cat.

Safety Considerations

When it comes to owning an outdoor cat, safety is a top concern. There are several health risks and predators that can pose a danger to your furry friend. In this section, we’ll go over some important safety considerations to keep in mind.

Health Risks

Outdoor cats are exposed to a variety of health risks that indoor cats are not. They are more likely to contract diseases from other cats, get injured in fights, and be exposed to parasites such as fleas and ticks.

To keep your cat healthy, make sure they are up to date on all their vaccinations and receive regular check-ups from a veterinarian. Additionally, it’s a good idea to use flea and tick preventatives to keep your cat protected.

Predator Awareness

Outdoor cats are also at risk of being attacked by predators and wild animals such as coyotes, foxes, and birds of prey. To protect your cat, make sure they have a safe place to retreat to if they feel threatened. This can be a designated outdoor cat enclosure or a protected area in your yard.

Additionally, consider keeping your cat indoors during times when predators are most active, such as at dawn and dusk.

Overall, owning an outdoor kitty comes with its own set of risks. However, with proper precautions and awareness, you can keep your furry friend safe and healthy while still allowing them to enjoy the great outdoors.

cat sitting in a wooden cat house

Shelter and Comfort

As a responsible cat owner, providing your outdoor cat with a safe and comfortable shelter is crucial for their well-being. In this section, we’ll explore two options for outdoor cat shelters: DIY cat houses and off-the-shelf cat shelters.

DIY Cat Houses

Building a DIY cat house can be a fun and rewarding project. It allows you to customize the design and ensure that the materials used are safe for your cat. There are many different designs available online, ranging from simple to complex.

When building a DIY cat house, make sure to use materials that are safe for your cat. Avoid using pressure-treated wood or any materials that may contain harmful chemicals.

Additionally, make sure the outdoor cat house is large enough for your cat to comfortably move around in, but not so large that it loses heat during colder months.

Purchasing Cat Shelters

If you’re not up for building your own cat house, purchasing a cat shelter is a great alternative. There are many different types of cat shelters available on the market, ranging from simple plastic igloos to more elaborate wooden houses.

When purchasing a cat shelter, make sure to consider the size of your cat and the climate in your area. A shelter that is too small will be uncomfortable for your cat, while a shelter that is too large will not retain heat effectively. Additionally, if you live in a colder climate, look for a shelter with insulation to keep your cat warm during the winter months.

Whether you choose to build your own cat house or purchase a pre-made shelter, make sure to consider your cat’s needs and the climate in your area.

grey cat eating dry cat food from a bowl

Feeding Strategies

Feeding outdoor cats is an important aspect of their care. In order to keep your outdoor cat healthy and happy, you need to provide them with proper nutrition. Here are some feeding strategies for outdoor cats.

Feeding Stations

Establishing a designated feeding station is one of the best ways to keep outdoor cats healthy and fed. This area can be outfitted with all the necessary supplies to make feeding easy and convenient. When setting up a feeding station for outdoor cats, consider the following:

  • Choose the right location: The feeding station should be in a quiet, secluded area that is away from busy roads and other hazards.
  • Use appropriate feeding dishes: Choose dishes that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily. Stainless steel or ceramic dishes are good options.
  • Keep the area clean: Clean the feeding station regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and other harmful substances.

Nutritional Requirements

Outdoor cats have different nutritional requirements than indoor cats. They need a diet that is high in protein and fat to help them maintain their energy levels. Here are some key nutritional requirements for outdoor cats:

  • Protein: Outdoor cats need a diet that is high in protein. Look for cat food that has at least 30% protein.
  • Fat: Outdoor cats may also need more fat in their diet than indoor cats.
  • Water: Make sure your outdoor cat has access to fresh water at all times. Consider using a water fountain to encourage your cat to drink more water.

By establishing a designated feeding station and providing them with proper nutrition, you can help keep your outdoor cat healthy and happy.

white cat being checked out by a vet

Health and Wellness

As a responsible pet owner, keeping your outdoor cat healthy and well is a top priority. Here are some tips to ensure your feline companion stays in tip-top shape.

Regular Check-Ups

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are crucial to maintaining your cat’s health. Cats are known for hiding signs of illness, so it’s important to catch any issues early on. During a check-up, your vet will perform a physical exam, check for parasites, and recommend any necessary tests or treatments.

It’s recommended to take your outdoor cat to the vet at least once a year, but more frequent visits may be necessary depending on your cat’s age and health status. Be sure to keep up with any recommended vaccinations and flea/tick preventatives.

Vaccination Schedule

Vaccinations are an important part of keeping your outdoor cat healthy. They protect against diseases that can be deadly or difficult to treat. Your vet will recommend a vaccination schedule based on your cat’s age, lifestyle, and health status.

Some common vaccinations for cats include:

  • Feline distemper (panleukopenia)
  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis
  • Cat flu (feline calicivirus and feline herpes virus)
  • Feline infectious enteritis
  • Feline leukemia virus
  • Rabies

Be sure to keep a record of your cat’s vaccinations and bring it with you to vet visits. This will help ensure your cat stays up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations.

Overall, regular check-ups and vaccinations are essential to keeping your outdoor cat healthy and happy. By following these tips, you can help ensure your feline companion stays in top shape for years to come.

Balinese cat sitting on a scratching post

Training and Enrichment

Outdoor cats require training and enrichment activities to keep them happy and healthy. Here are some tips to help you train your outdoor cat and provide enrichment activities:

Outdoor Training Tips

When training your outdoor cat, start by teaching them to come when called. Use a treat or toy to get their attention and reward them with praise when they come to you. Repeat this exercise several times a day until your cat responds to your call consistently.

You may also want to teach your cat to walk on a leash. Start by putting a harness on your cat and letting them get used to it. Then, attach a leash to the harness and let your cat walk around inside the house. Once your cat is comfortable with the leash, you can take them outside for short walks.

Enrichment Activities

Enrichment activities are essential for outdoor cats to prevent boredom and promote physical and mental stimulation. Here are some enrichment activities you can try with your outdoor cat:

  • Provide your cat with a scratching post or cat tree to satisfy their natural urge to scratch.
  • Hide treats around your yard or garden for your cat to find.
  • Purchase or build a catio: an enclosed, safe outdoor space for your cat to explore and relax in.
  • Provide your cat with toys such as balls, feathers, and interactive puzzle toys.

By following these training and enrichment tips, you can ensure that your outdoor cat is happy, healthy, and well-behaved.

woman looking at paperwork

Legal and Ethical Concerns

When it comes to owning an outdoor cat, there are a few legal and ethical concerns that you should be aware of. These concerns include protecting local wildlife and understanding your legal responsibilities.

Local Wildlife Protection

Outdoor cats can pose a threat to local wildlife, including birds and small mammals. According to the NFRC, free-roaming cats in the contiguous U.S. kill billions of birds and mammals annually. As a responsible pet owner, it is important to take steps to minimize your cat’s impact on local wildlife.

You can do this by keeping your cat indoors, or by providing a secure outdoor enclosure that allows your cat to enjoy the outdoors without posing a threat to wildlife.

Legal Responsibilities

As a cat owner, you have legal responsibilities that you must adhere to. For example, many cities and towns have laws that require cats to be licensed and vaccinated against rabies. Some areas also have leash laws that require cats to be kept on a leash or under control when outside.

It is important to familiarize yourself with the laws in your area and to comply with them to avoid any legal issues.

In addition to legal responsibilities, there are also ethical considerations to keep in mind when owning an outdoor cat.

Some people believe that it is not ethical to allow cats to roam freely outside, as they can pose a threat to wildlife and may also be at risk of injury or illness. Others argue that cats are natural hunters and need to be able to roam and explore their environment.

Ultimately, the decision to own an outdoor cat is a personal one that should be based on your individual circumstances and beliefs. By being aware of the legal and ethical considerations, you can make an informed decision that is right for you and your cat.

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