Some people allow their cats to go outside. This might not be a good idea in certain ways because cats are considered to be an invasive species.
If you’re going to have a pet cat, then it’s likely best to keep it indoors. Your cat could still get out sometimes, though.
When your cat starts acting weird after being outside, you might be concerned that something happened. Is there anything wrong with your cat?
There are quite a few things that could change your cat’s behavior outdoors. Read on to consider some of the things that could have potentially happened to change your cat’s behavior.
1 – Your Cat Got in a Fight
One of the most common things to consider involves your cat getting into a fight. It’s pretty common for cats to fight other cats outdoors.
Cats can sometimes be territorial, and your cat could have stumbled into another cat’s yard. It’s possible that your cat could have run into a stray cat that was particularly aggressive, too.
If your cat seems a bit skittish, then it could be a little traumatized from having been in a fight. There’s a chance that your cat lost the fight and had to run away.
Cats can get into fights with more than just other cats outside. Your cat could have gotten into an altercation with another animal, and this could certainly change the way that it acts for a little while.
Predator attacks are particularly traumatic for cats. Your cat could have been in a situation where it could have been killed, and this might make it act very differently for a period of time.
For instance, your cat could have fought with a coyote or a snake of some sort. It’s not unusual for cats to get attacked by raccoons or dogs when they spend a lot of time outdoors.
Do your best to check your cat to see if it is injured in any way. If your cat has been bitten, scratched, or otherwise hurt, then it might be best to take it to see the veterinarian.
2 – Serious Injuries
Now that you’ve thought about the potential that your cat got into a fight, it’s important to recognize the potential that your cat could have been injured. Fights can certainly leave your cat in an injured state.
A cat that was attacked by a predator outside could have been left with broken bones or deep cuts. You should do your best to assess whether your cat is injured to see what’s going on.
If your cat doesn’t want to be touched, then that might be a sign that it is injured. You might need to take it to see the veterinarian so that you can get it checked out.
The risk of injury is another good reason to keep your cats indoors. There are so many factors that could lead to your cat getting badly hurt or killed, and you can’t truly protect your cat when you let it roam outside.
3 – The Cat Could Have Caught an Illness
The cat could have been exposed to some type of illness while it was outdoors. Cats will have many opportunities to interact with other cats when outdoors.
This means that the cat could have interacted with a sick cat and been infected. It could just be a normal cold, but it could also be something worse.
You should observe your cat to see how it’s acting after going outside. Is your cat vomiting or drooling?
If the cat seems to be lethargic and doesn’t have much of an appetite, then that could be a sign that it’s ill. You should take the cat to see a veterinarian whenever you suspect that something is amiss.
It should also be noted that cats can be exposed to various pests and parasites outdoors. Cats might become infested with fleas, ticks, lice, or mites when they spend time outdoors.
Cats will behave very strangely when dealing with problems such as this. They might scratch their heads excessively and sometimes they even make terrible sounds at night.
This is another situation where you should contact the veterinarian. It’s also something that should remind you that letting your cat roam outside isn’t safe.
4 – A Cat Could Be Exposed to Poison Outside
Have you thought about whether your cat was exposed to poison of some sort? There are many toxic things outdoors that cats can encounter.
Some of the most common situations involve cats eating things that they shouldn’t. There are various plants that can cause cats to become ill when consumed.
In some cases, a cat will die if it consumes a poisonous plant. You might not even have time to get your cat help.
Eating foods that are meant for human consumption can also poison cats. For example, your cat could have gotten into the neighbor’s garbage and eaten leftover chocolate or something else that it shouldn’t have been consuming.
If your cat is frothing at the mouth, then you need to call the veterinarian right away. Cats that have pale gums and appear to be drooling more than normal should also be checked out because they could very well be suffering from some type of poison exposure.
5 – Pregnancy
Female cats could very well get pregnant when they’re allowed to roam outside. Assuming that your female cat has not been fixed, it’s a possibility that you need to consider.
There are so many stray cats just about everywhere in North America. A female cat is almost surely going to encounter a male cat at some point in time if it’s allowed to go outside often.
Pregnant cats will start to act differently. You might notice that your cat is experiencing morning sickness.
You’ll also see signs such as a swollen belly, darkened nipples, and nesting behavior. A veterinarian will be able to easily confirm that your cat is pregnant if that is indeed the case.
6 – Human Abuse
Sadly, there are other humans out there who are not nice to cats. There have been situations where kids, teenagers, and even deranged adults have done mean things to outdoor cats.
Some people hurt outdoor cats or try to mess with them and scare them. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that your cat could have encountered an abusive human.
If your cat seems skittish and doesn’t want to be touched, then that’s something that could have happened. You’re not really going to be able to know for sure, but you should understand that cats are in danger when they’re outside and unsupervised.
Those who are worried about exposing their cats to danger will likely feel better by keeping their cats indoors. You’ll be able to look after your cat if it stays in your house, and you won’t have nearly as many problems.
7 – General Trauma
General trauma can occur when a cat goes outside for the first time. There are many things outdoors that your cat has never been exposed to.
A cat might be excited about the experience in some ways, but it’s also possible that it could get scared. Think about the many scary things that cats can encounter in your neighborhood.
You’ve already considered the possibility that your cat could be exposed to predators. Your cat could also encounter scary things such as moving cars and honking horns.
There’s no shortage of stimuli outdoors that could scare a cat. If your cat comes back home and seems a bit scared or traumatized, then it might need to come down from the experience of exploring outdoors.
Should You Allow Your Cat to Go Outside?
Generally, it’s not recommended to let your cat go outside. It’s simply not safe, and it can have a negative impact on the local ecosystem.
Cats are predator animals that aren’t meant to be in the area. They’re going to go around doing things that can cause harm to local animals.
For example, cats could potentially kill birds, rabbits, frogs, and various other animals. They’re going to make it so that local predators have to compete with them, and this isn’t a good thing.
It’s also simply not a good idea to expose your cat to danger for no reason. Your cat is never going to be truly safe outside because there are predators to worry about.
A cat could also get run over by a car outdoors, and this is something that happens to family pets all too often. If you love your cat, then it’d be far wiser to keep it indoors and avoid exposing it to unnecessary dangers.
If you think that training your cat to use a litter box is tough, then you should know that it isn’t that difficult overall. It’s especially easy if you train a cat to use a litter box from a young age.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what to do. You know about many things that can cause your cat to act weird after it has been outside, but you’ll have to figure out if you want to take action to protect your cat.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard. I also like photographing wild birds, especially birds of prey.