It’s one of the great frustrations in life. Your cat can not talk to you and tell you what it’s thinking. Well ok, maybe it’s not one of the great frustrations in life, I can think of many which are more important. But still, to us cat lovers it’s a frustration.
We, as owners, have a duty to translate the things that our cats do into a language that we can interpret. Some of these things are easy – for instance when they jump onto our bellies at 0300 on a Tuesday morning, they want us to get up and give them something to eat. Or, when they are on our lap digging their dagger-like claws into our legs they are simply saying how much they love us.
So, what does it actually mean when cats sit on the window ledge, gazing outside? Is it because they are sad inside and need to escape or is it just because they want to look outside like we do sometimes? Let’s find out…
Why does my cat look out the window? Your cat looks out the window as there’s a lot of things going on out there that aren’t going on inside. They will enjoy watching other animals (especially birds) but also will enjoy the heat from the window.
Is the cat unhappy inside?
Well, it’s possible but then if you’re reading this (which you obviously are) then I think it’s pretty safe to say that you love cats. Therefore, if you love cats then it would be very hard for you to make their life unhappy as their requirements are quite simple.
However, it’s easy to see why people think this when a cat is just sitting there. They look out the window as if they are dreaming of one day escaping this cruel world you’ve provided for them. You go outside and they stare at you in such a sad way that it makes you feel depressed until you get back home. I actually think they might be doing this deliberately 🙂
If you love your cat then they won’t be unhappy inside. They are sitting there gazing at the outside world for a reason but it’s most likely not because they are unhappy.
Remember (although you don’t need reminding) cats are extremely inquisitive. They want to know what’s going on with everything, all the time and they don’t want to be left out. If they hear a strange noise they must investigate. Whether that’s you whilst you’re in the bathroom (don’t even think about shutting the door on them – they will meow until you open it) or some strange bird-like noise from outside, they must find out the root cause.
So, just because they are looking outside does not mean they are unhappy!
The outside world is exciting
There are many reasons why a cat enjoys looking outside, let me give you some examples.
- Birds – we all know that cats love birds, as long as they aren’t too big! They love the squeaky sounds that they make and their somewhat random movements would make them an ideal challenge to try and get! If only those pesky birds would venture inside, just for a second…
- Other cats – we also know that cats like to protect their boundaries and we don’t decide what those boundaries are, they do. With an indoor cat, they can’t mark their territory outside so the best they can do is watch. You may hear them make a strange meowy-growly sound – a sure sign they’ve spotted another cat approaching (or in) their presumed territory.
- Other animals – Basically, anything that moves is of interest to your cat. If it’s a dog then you may see the worry in their eyes and they may even jump down from the window ledge, even though they are quite safe. Or, they may just be intrigued by the strange ugly animal.
Of course, there are many other things they may be looking at. For instance, they may be looking for us! If one of us is having to go out every day then they could eventually become familiar with what time they are due to return. They will watch you come home and then deliberately ignore you when you come into your house as a punishment for going out in the first place.
It’s just a nice spot to sit
There are other reasons why your cat may want to sit there looking out the window. Maybe because it’s just a nice play to sit! Window-ledges are usually nice and warm as they are often above radiators or the sunlight heats it up and if there’s one thing a cat loves, it’s warmth. It is entirely possible that the main reason a cat is looking out the window isn’t because of the view but because of the temperature!
Another reason is that windows are generally higher than a table or couch and another thing a cat loves is to have the higher ground. From here they instinctively feel safer than on the ground.
You may notice this behavior more often if you have more than one pet in the house. Particularly if you have a dog as it’s unlikely that they will be able to jump up to the window-ledge as they will be too big to fit on it! This place is ideal for your cat and they can sit there in the nice warmth knowing that your other pet can’t annoy them.
Do you have an indoor-only cat?
There can be other reasons though and it may be that you acquired a cat that used to be allowed outside and now, for whatever reason, they are an indoor-only cat.
Perhaps you acquired them when they are older and when they were younger they were allowed to free-roam. Being stuck inside is a little unusual for them and they look outside in the hope that they can somehow get out there. Many cats have great lives inside these days and there are many reasons to do this.
For instance, if you live in a densely populated area then it may not be safe for your cat to go outside. Equally so if you live near a busy road. You have to always put their interests first, even if it really looks like they want to be out there.
The answer to this is to give them the best life inside and you can do this by interacting with them as much as possible and also making the indoor space as fun as possible. If you have a cat, especially an indoor cat, it should be mandatory to have a cat tree! If you’re not sure what one is (although I bet you do) or if you’d like to look at the one I have you can check out the only cat tree I recommend on Amazon here. Don’t just take my word for it, look at those reviews!
Can you build them an outside area?
This is something we are working on right now – so no doubt we’ll do a YouTube video or at the very least an article as to how we did it.
If you have an outside area but you don’t want your cat to free-roam then you may want to consider building them an enclosure outside which ideally links to your inside space. This means your cats can get some fresh air outside without coming into any harm.
It’s not the easiest thing in the world to build one of these enclosures and they can be quite expensive (as we are finding out). You also have to consider the restrictions it will then put on you, for instance, it will most likely make your outside space look a lot less attractive. Then, there are the practical problems – if the fencing goes across your lawn, it’s going to make it harder to cut it!
However, if you know you’re going to be living in your home for a few years and want your cat to have the best of both worlds (outside time plus safety) – this solution is becoming more popular every year. In fact, many breeders are stating in their contracts that the cat you buy from them must be an indoor cat – anyway, it’s definitely something worth considering!
Do you leave them by themselves often?
This one isn’t so likely but if you leave them at home by themselves for long periods it doesn’t take long for separation anxiety to build up. This can actually lead to some pretty serious health problems if left.
No cat should be left at home all day – if you’ve got a job to do which means you’ll be out of your house all day and your cat is at home, it’s not fair on your cat. You could potentially buy another cat to keep each other company but this may not work unless they have been introduced to each other at a young age.
Cat’s lives revolve around you (despite the impression they may give sometimes). You are everything to them and they suffer without your company. It is not uncommon for a cat to look out the window in the hope that they will see their owner return. Don’t give them a reason to do this.
Conclusion – why does my cat look out the window?
Hopefully, that’s given you a few ideas as to why your cat may be looking out the window. Most of the time it’s nothing to be worried about – they just want to look outside as there are lots of interesting things to see.
If you think they are bored or lonely, just buy more toys for them 🙂
Is your cat crying? Check out the article to find out why they do this!