13 Of The Best Outdoor Cat Breeds You Should Know About

Are you looking for a cat that will love the great outdoors? Some cat breeds prefer to laze around at home, while others thrive with daily walks around the neighborhood or surrounding environment.

Continue reading to explore the cat breeds that make the best outdoor pets and the benefits and drawbacks of allowing your feline to roam outside.

Which Breeds Make The Best Outdoor Cats?

Some cat breeds do better than others when it comes to exploring nature. The best outdoor cats possess confidence, intelligence, agility, high energy, and adaptability.


The Abyssinian is one of the oldest cat breeds in existence – similar cats are buried in Ancient Egyptian tombs. They are an intelligent and outgoing breed who love to fool around and play outdoors; you will often find them relaxing up a tree.

This breed is a lithe cat possessing slender legs and a long tail, giving it a regal appearance. While they are sociable, the Abyssinian can be wary of strangers, which is a good quality for an outdoor cat.

American Bobtail

The American Bobtail shares some qualities with its British counterpart, the Manx. Aptly named the Bobtail, this species does possess a tail, but it is only ½ to ⅓ the size of an average cat.

Bobtails make such great outdoor pets because of their high intelligence and adaptability. In addition, they travel well and maintain a calm demeanor and level personality.


The genealogy of the Bengal makes it particularly well adapted to outdoor life. During the 1900s, breeders crossed domestic cats with the Asian Leopard cat, a small wildcat from Southeast Asia.

Thanks to its genes, the Bengal resembles a mini leopard and shares several of the characteristics of its larger cousin. With slender, athletic bodies, these cats make the ideal outdoor adventurers. In addition, they love to climb and swim.

European Shorthair

The European Shorthair is one of the most popular cat breeds thanks to its excellent hunting skills that help to keep houses and gardens pest-free.

Among its greatest skills is a high level of adaptability that allows it to overcome an array of challenges and thrive in different environments. In addition, the European Shorthair is fearful of strangers, which is a good quality for an outdoor cat – but this does mean that they need their own private space to retreat when you have guests.

Japanese Bobtail

The Japanese Bobtail is a light and agile breed with a playful nature and keen attention to detail. They make excellent hunters, particularly suited to farm environments where they take care of mice, moles, and other pests.

This breed has a fun-loving personality and will happily get along with its family and other pets. They are highly communicative and love to interact.


korat cat

The Korat descends from Thailand and has an appearance similar to that of the Russian Blue cat. This breed makes an excellent outdoor cat thanks to a combination of intelligence and a memory that allows them to find their way home even when exposed to a place they’ve never visited before.

Thanks to their low body fat percentage, Korats are unusually heavy for their size; they possess a compact but muscular body and weigh between six and ten pounds. Of course, their curiosity could get them into trouble, but they are relatively alert around strangers.

Maine Coon

The Maine Coon is one of the most easily recognizable cats globally, with a grand stature that resembles a mini wild cat. In addition, this breed has a high level of intelligence, making them excellent problem solvers with any challenges they may face.

People sometimes refer to these majestic felines as the “dog of the cat world,” and these dog-like qualities – their playfulness and love of water – make them especially suitable for outdoor living.


Thanks to its shortened or removed tail, the Manx is an instantly recognizable breed. These cats are often referred to as “rumpy” or “stubbin” in the Isle of Man communities from which they descend. 

In the 19th century, sailors and farmers used the Manx cat to keep rat infestations at bay; and they are one of the best hunting felines in existence today. So if you have an outdoor Manx cat, prepare yourself for regular “treats” to be delivered to your door.

Norwegian Forest

Norwegian Forest Cat

The Norwegian Forest cat originates from the North of Europe, making them expert outdoor explorers. Their climbing skills are among the best of any cat breed, and they will happily descend a tree headfirst.

They are among the strongest cat breeds with thick fur that prevents their body temperature from falling too low when exposed to cold temperatures.

Pixie Bobs

Though they resemble the bobcat, the Pixie Bob is not related to this wildcat. Pixies do share qualities with their wild counterparts, though; they have excellent hunting abilities and can blend in well with their outdoor backgrounds.

Russian Blue

Russian Blue cats make the perfect pet thanks to their combination of friendly sociability and comfortable independence. In addition, they have a great skill set for exploring outside, with specialized hunting skills to catch numerous small prey from birds to mice and rabbits. 


The Savannah is the largest domestic cat breed, originating from a domestic cat that breeders crossed with the Serval, an African wildcat with long limbs and a spotty coat.

Thanks to its genes, the Savannah cat has a strong hunting instinct and makes an impressive athlete. They can jump vertical heights of up to eight feet and grow as big as 20 pounds in weight.


Siamese cat

Siamese cats are among the oldest and most recognizable cat breeds and are notoriously confident and vocal. They are independent and love to hunt, possessing the alertness and agility to thrive outside.

This affectionate and intelligent breed loves to socialize with other cats and people. Their behavior is sometimes described as more dog than cat-like, and they will thrive with some time spent outdoors.

What Are The Benefits Of Keeping An Outdoor Cat?

An outdoor environment is natural for felines and provides stimulation and enrichment. And these playful sessions make it easier for your cat to maintain a steady weight and optimum fitness level.

Your cat will likely learn to do its business in nature by going outside, meaning no more smelly litter trays for you to cleanout. And, if the cat is used to being outdoors, it can be distressing for them to be confined to an indoor space suddenly.  

What Are The Drawbacks Of Keeping An Outdoor Cat?

While an outdoor environment can provide excellent stimulation for many breeds of cats, it does come with a range of hazards that can significantly reduce the life of your feline. For example, the average indoor cat lives for 10 – 15 years, whereas the life of an outdoor cat is reduced to between 2 and 5 years.

When your cat roams outside, it comes into contact with an array of flora and fauna, which can pass on diseases, fleas, and worms. In addition, when your cat comes into contact with other cats, they are at risk of FIV.

FIV, or feline immunodeficiency virus is the cat equivalent of AIDS; it is untreatable and can be fatal for your feline. Outside, their life is also at risk from vehicles and attacks from larger predators.

Final Thoughts

Every cat has a unique personality and sometimes makes its own indoor or outdoor choice. While many breeds can thrive indoors or outdoors, some breeds are more suited to outdoor life.

In particular, exotic cats (such as the Bengal and Savannah) require outdoor time to satisfy their natural hunting instincts and wild nature. If you’re unsure which environment best suits your cat, give them the option of both and see which they choose. 

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