The decision whether or not to let your cat out into your garden – and possibly beyond – is one only you can make, based on where you live, access and so on. Certainly, keeping cats indoors is becoming more common throughout Europe, and cats adapt very well to this type of life. The most important thing to remember is that whether your cat is an ‘indoor’ cat or an ‘outdoor’ one will affect how you look after it, and how you feed it.
Cats who stay indoors need plenty of stimulation to keep them active – lots of toys, rotated from time to time to keep them interested, things to climb and hide in, and regular playtimes with the family every day – and because they groom more and tend to be more sedentary they need a diet which can help with hairballs and reflects their lower activity levels. You should also make a point of brushing indoor cats regularly, because the constant temperatures indoors mean moulting is a year-round event.
Cats with access to the outdoors
If your cat is going outside a lot, its natural defences will need supporting (because it is exposed to weather extremes, and more potential for diseases and traumas such as fighting) and it will need a higher energy diet to help it cope with the changing temperatures and increased amount of energy it expends. Before you let it out for the first time, keep your cat in the house for at least three weeks (and until it’s had all its vaccinations) and be prepared to supervise its first outings, so it knows how to get back in the house when it wants to (or when you want it to!) and doesn’t get frightened or lost.