Purrcy is an orange cat living in a rural neighborhood with an older couple and a big brown dog named Mobo, who is Purrcy's best friend. One morning Purrcy wakes up restless and bored with his same old toys, same food, and everything that's become so familiar. So he asks Mobo what the Great Outdoors is all about.
The dog replies that a little cat wouldn't be safe outdoors. Horse kicks, Bee stings, Skunk sprays something worse than poo, the list goes on and on. Last of all, he explains that Coyote would happily eat him for lunch. Purrcy is nervous but determined to learn new things, so he sneaks outside when Mobo leaves on a walk with his human.
The scents, sights and sounds excite him, and on his wanders he encounters the animals Mobo had warned him about. He learns that milk from dairy goats makes cheese. Bee explains that he only stings to protect himself. A lady in her garden informs him that he doesn't have a tail, which he'd never considered before. An old, tired Horse complains that he must walk with a piece of metal in his mouth and a saddle and human on his back. Hen wonders why her eggs constantly disappear after she lays them. Bully, an unhappy dog is afraid of his unkind master.
Night falls. Mother Rabbit protects her little ones and sends hungry Purrcy to an abandoned fox's den in the Wood. A thunderstorm--something Purrcy had never experienced before--frightens him terribly. Inside the fox's den, he invites in a shy, stinky skunk anxious to get out of the rain, and the next morning, meets two Angora cats that dislike everyone who isn't Angora.
Coyote tracks Purrcy down, intending to make a meal of him, and explains the facts of life in the wild--that food is often scarce, that animals need to provide for their families that depend on them. Purrcy escapes up a tree and informs Coyote that his family would miss him if he didn't come home. "It is the same in the wild, little cat," Coyote replies. "Just the same."
Purrcy learns that the reason he doesn't have a tail is because he's a Manx, and through his experiences he comes to realize that he's lucky to have a home where he's loved and cared for, where he has the freedom to make his own decisions. He finds his way back to his family who'd been searching for him, and shares his adventures with Mobo. The dog replies that from now on he'll try to walk in others' paws or hooves and see life from their side. Purrcy cuddles next to him and settles down for a long nap.