When people decide on having a family they usually discuss issues such as where is the best place/environment for children to grow healthily, what risks there are in different circumstances etc. It is a shame that most people don't do the same thing before getting a pet. A pet is also for life - in fact some children leave home before the pet does!
One of the most important decisions to be made before acquiring a cat or kitten is to decide whether it will be an indoor cat or an outdoor cat. It is necessary to weigh up the pros and cons of each side of the coin so to speak.
They can run and roam free, chase butterflies and climb trees, pounce on something blowing past and play with piles of leaves, find somewhere quiet of their choosing when they need to attend to nature, sleep in the sun or lie in the shade. And the list could go on.
They can also get run over by cars, get into fights with or catch infections from other cats, get chased/injured by dogs, kill native birds, insects, reptiles or even get stolen and sold for profit by the unscrupulous. Again, the list could continue.
Are safe from the above dangers, usually pampered, have a lot of toys to keep them amused, need entertaining, and can be mischievous. They need a litter box which needs emptying daily. They are totally dependent on their owner for food and shelter, are unable to exercise as much so tend to put on weight (just like humans).
Studies have shown that indoor cats live longer. We can't know if they are happier, no matter what the research says. They could perhaps be very content, as can outdoor cats.
If your cat is to be purely an indoor cat, you need to provide fresh air and entertainment, especially if you are not home much during the day. A window with a view of a street or bird bath nearby or a tree with bird food will give your cat something to watch. If a window is able to be left partially open, your cat will also be able to enjoy fresh air and enticing smells. Cat toys, a climbing frame/scratching post, fresh water and an easily accessible litter tray are also necessities. Remember, your indoor cat is dependent on you for everything!
If you want to allow your cat outdoors but want to preserve the wildlife or dangers to your cat there are a couple of alternatives available. You could build an enclosed area that your cat is able to access from the house. This area would need something for your cat to climb and jump to and from, a shady areas as well as a place in the sun, sand for digging and for calls of nature, toys, water and some lawn or something green for eating as well as a different texture to walk on. Costing of this outdoor area is essential before making this your choice. A new innovation that I have only just heard about is having a free rolling top rail on your fence to stop your cat being able to jump over it. The rolling rail won't allow the cat to land and take off again. Of course the fence needs to be high enough so the cat can't just jump it and be aware that nearby trees can be climbed so the cat can get over the fence by bypassing the rolling rail. I have no idea of the cost of this rolling rail but it sounds an exciting alternative.
Whichever you choose, indoor or outdoor, a good relationship with your cat is essential. Allow time for playing and cuddles on your lap. Just like you would do with your children.
Kathy Robinson has been writing and publishing articles for many years. She retired as editor of a country newspaper to allow her to spend more time on her growing online interests. She lives with her family in rural Western Australia. Visit http://www.CatProblemsResolved.com for more articles on cat care.