A white outdoor Maine Coon cat

A white outdoor Maine Coon cat (Photo by Nils Jacobi on Shutterstock)

Outdoor cats are often seen as independent and self-sufficient creatures, content to roam free and explore their surroundings. Some people enjoy watching their cats as they stalk prey, climb trees, and bask in the sun. They also appreciate the fact that outdoor cats are less likely to be as destructive or demanding as indoor cats. As a result, many people believe that the benefits of having an outdoor cat outweigh the risks. Our list of the top seven best outdoor cats includes several breeds that thrive outdoors.

For some cat parents, it’s strictly indoors to keep their pets safe. But for other pet owners, particularly in rural areas, letting the cat out is as natural as can be. Here is a list of a few reasons why some cat owners prefer an outdoor cat:

  • Instinctual Behaviors: Outdoor cats can engage in their natural instinctive behaviors, such as hunting, climbing, and exploring their surroundings. This can provide them with mental and physical stimulation, contributing to their overall well-being.
  • Pest Control: Outdoor cats can help control rodent populations, which can be a nuisance or pose health risks to humans and property. Their natural predatory instincts make them effective in keeping rodent populations at bay.
  • Reduced Indoor Destructiveness: Outdoor cats have the opportunity to release pent-up energy and curiosity outdoors, which can minimize destructive behaviors like scratching furniture or chewing on household items.
  • Stress Relief and Exercise: Outdoor environments provide cats with ample space to roam, exercise, and explore, which can help reduce stress and promote physical fitness.
  • Self-Sufficiency and Independence: Outdoor cats can develop a sense of self-reliance and independence, foraging for food and water and navigating their surroundings without constant supervision.

Some cat breeds are hale and healthy when allowed to roam outdoors. On farms, at the docks, and homesteads, the outdoor cat can play a vital working role. Even in urban areas, there are some cats that simply refuse to stay indoors. Our sources helped us gather information about the best outdoor cat breeds. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

A cat laying in the grass looking at the camera
A cat laying in the grass (Photo by Ditte Yven on Unsplash)

The List: Best Outdoor Cat Breeds, According to Experts

1. Maine Coon

The great big Maine Coon is often favorably compared to a dog because of their large size and obedient nature. This gentle cat can become a seasoned prowler when they are allowed to roam. UnderCover Pet Houses raves, “A classic American cat breed, the Maine Coon is a powerful, long-haired cat with a trademark mane. These cats grow to 30 pounds and are incredibly active, independent, intelligent, and friendly. And with their dog-like behavior as well as a thick, waterproof coat, they are ideal for the great outdoors, even in cold winters.”

Maine Coon cat
Maine Coon cat (Photo by Rodion Kutsaiev on Unsplash)

Meowa praises, “These gentle giants are known for their impressive size, luxurious fur, and natural inclination towards outdoor exploration. Maine Coons are the perfect companions for adventures in various climates, thanks to their thick, water-resistant coats that keep them warm and dry.”

Wag! exclaims, “There are few breeds as instantly recognizable as Maine Coons. These New England natives are considered gentle giants and are among the oldest breeds in the U.S. They’re also the second largest cat breed in the world, after the Savannah. Maine Coons are highly intelligent, meaning they’ll be able to solve any problems the outside world throws at them.”

2. Abyssinian

Abyssinian cats are tiny pumas that are at home on the couch and in the yard. Supervised time outdoors is best for these feisty furballs. Elite Veterinary Care says, “They seek a lot of mental stimulation that can be found just by walking around outside. Abyssinians are agile and excellent climbers, which can be good to avoid predators. Speaking of predators, these breeds are skilled hunters, so don’t be surprised if they bring back a present or two.”

Abyssinian cat
Abyssinian cat (Photo by Sergey Semin on Unsplash)

Scoop earth describes, “Abyssinians are a lively and outgoing breed that crave their owner’s company. These felines are highly intelligent and require plenty of mental stimulation. Abyssinians have a short, low-maintenance coat that comes in a range of colors.”

LetsGetPet elaborates, “The Abyssinian also has a strong need to be physically active. It must be able to go out, run, and climb very often. If the breed doesn’t have the opportunity to spend time outdoors, it could become [unhappy] or depressed. Additionally, the Abyssinian is very playful, deeply attached to its owner, and loves cuddles and affection.”

3. Norwegian Forest Cat

Norwegian Forest Cats are fluffy giants compared to their smaller cousins. As the name implies, these cats could do well living in a cabin in the woods. CatInformer comments, “Although they can adapt to the indoor lifestyle, the Norwegian Forest Cat would do well outside, engaging in hunting activities once done with climbing. Looking to keep an outdoor cat that’s fun to be with, then go all-in for the Norwegian Forest Cats.”

Norwegian Forest Cat lying in the grass
Norwegian Forest Cat lying in the grass (Photo by ataglier on Shutterstock)

Medium adds, “A close cousin to the Maine Coon, the Norwegian Forest Cat hails from the cold and rugged terrain of Northern Europe. With a dense double coat and a sturdy frame, these cats were made for outdoor escapades. Their natural agility makes them excellent climbers, so don’t be surprised if you find them perched high up in a tree.”

UnderCover Pet Houses details, “Slightly similar to Maine coons, the Norwegian Forest is a big, energetic, active, and thick-furred cat breed. Although friendly and intelligent, they love to be independent and are mostly bred for the outdoors. They can adapt to freezing temperatures and love to hunt and climb.”

4. Bengal Cat

Bengal cats are big, sturdy, and inquisitive pets. Though they can be happy as indoor cats, they do seem to crave adventure. Emotional Pet Support explains, “Bengal cats are known for their agility, intelligence, endurance, and sense of exploration which makes them perfect travel companions. They love risks and crave spending their tons of energy on exploring the surrounding world. In addition, Bengal felines make awesome Instagram models thanks to their stunning marble coats!”

brown and black cat
An outdoor Bengal cat (Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash)

Missy Momo offers, “Bengals are usually very active. They have an extremely high prey drive, so they love to chase things such as feathers on a stick or small toys attached to strings. Their intelligence allows them to learn tricks often faster than other breeds of cats. Bengal cats need a lot of stimulation and attention from their owners.”

Medium states, “The Bengal cat’s wild appearance reflects its adventurous spirit. A descendant of the wild Asian leopard cat, the Bengal is active, intelligent, and curious. Its sleek and muscular body is built for hunting and exploration. Their love for water makes them one of the few cat breeds that might actually enjoy playing in a stream or pond.”

5. Siberian Cat

This long-haired Russian beauty is at home in colder outdoor climates. Running, climbing, and stalking prey are all paramount for this breed. Medium claims, “Another cold-climate cat, the Siberian, boasts a luxurious triple-layer coat that protects against harsh weather conditions. These cats have a dog-like personality, often following their owners around, and can be surprisingly playful and affectionate.”

Siberian cat
Siberian cat (Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash)

LetsGetPet relates, “They originated in Siberia decades ago and developed without any human intervention. Bred since the ’80s, these cats fascinate people because of their extremely easygoing personality. In addition, as this breed is very close to nature, they feel a deep need to spend days and nights outside… the Siberian has a long coat that keeps it warm in the winter and protects it from the strong rays of the summer sun.”

Meowa reviews, “Siberian cats are built for the outdoors with their powerful muscles and strong bodies. They’re agile and skilled in various environments… Siberian cats can be both indoor and outdoor pets, but their love for the outdoors and adaptability make them great adventure companions.”

6. Manx

These chubby lads are great hunters. Manx cats have a legacy as farmhands and dockworkers, helping to eliminate vermin. According to Wag! these cats are, “Referred to as ‘stubbin’ or ‘rumpy’ in their homeland, Manx cats were often kept on ships and at farms in the 19th and 20th centuries to help deal with rodent infestations. Manx cats make great outdoor pets, as long as you don’t mind being brought an unwanted ‘present’ from time to time!”

Manx cat in a field
Manx cat in a field (Photo by NSC Photography on Shutterstock)

CatInformer asserts, “Despite being known for their good social attitudes and tame nature, Manx cats are not only talkative but also an active cat breed.  Because they are very good hunters, the Manx cat has been deployed for working roles on ships and on the farm to help reduce rodent populations.”

Emotional Pet Support evaluates, “Originating on the Isle of Man, the Manx cat has a quiet and composed nature that can easily adapt to car trips and walks on a leash. It’s affectionate and sociable guaranteeing you good company while traveling. Moreover, Manx cats are avid explorers that love discovering new places.”

7. Savannah

Savannah cats are named for arid African grasslands, and they are at home stalking among the tall grasses. These large lovelies are often amenable to leash walks when acclimated as kittens. Missy Momo compliments, “Most Savannahs love to play fetch and enjoy walking on a leash. They are very observant and love watching people. They seem to enjoy being around people more than other cats do but don’t really like being held or cuddled.”

Savannah cat
Savannah cat (Photo by Eric Isselee on Shutterstock)

Meowa assures, “Savannah cats have a wild and exotic appearance that makes them stand out during outdoor adventures. They’re known for their exceptional jumping skills, so don’t be surprised if your Savannah buddy leaps onto a tree branch or rock during your excursions. Savannah cats can be both indoor and outdoor pets, but their boundless energy and love for exploration make them well-suited for outdoor activities.”

Wag! articulates, “As a result of crossbreeding, Savannahs can weigh as much as 20 pounds and have an incredibly strong hunting instinct. They’re impressive athletes, jumping as high as 8 feet from a standing position. Savannahs are also highly trainable and can be trained to walk on a leash.”

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About Alan Corona

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1 Comment

  1. Steve S. says:

    No cats should be outside, they are ruinous to the native population of birds. Many see them as the number on “invasive” species in the country. All irresponsible cat owners that tell me they can’t control their precious kitty are lying, keep them inside or on a leash. Simple.