Cats make great pets - they're cute, mysterious, and you'll have hours of fun just watching them go about their daily life. They really do have minds of their own, don't they? And one of the biggest choices that you'll have to make when getting a cat is whether to keep them as an indoor pet, or allow them to roam outdoors.

This can be a major dilemma for many cat owners, and it's not hard to see why. We have to say, we completely sympathise, and here at Tailster we're totally for both indoor and outdoor cats.

Peace of mind is a wonderful thing, and if you keep your cat indoors you know that they'll be safe at all times. However, as much as cats like to wander, they're loyal creatures who love their creature comforts, so they're highly likely to return home if they get hungry or the weather changes.

The choice is all yours, and your cat will settle into whatever you choose. If you do choose to allow your cat outside, here's our guide to keeping them safe:

Visit The Vet First

We all know how important it is to take our pets to the vet before letting them outside, and for outdoor cats this is particularly vital!

Outdoor cats are at risk of diseases such a distemper, feline leukaemia, and upper respiratory infections. They're also highly susceptible to fleas and other pests that you definitely don't want bringing into your house.

While vaccines can't guarantee your cat's overall safety, it will help prevent them getting sick, and contracting conditions that could prove fatal.

It's also a good idea to have your outdoor cat microchipped.

Assess The Situation

When making the decision as to whether to allow your cat outdoors or not, it's a good idea to consider where they could possibly end up. By this, we mean it's a good idea to know your local area.

If you live on a busy road, for example, it's probably not the best place for an outdoor cat. Similarly, if you're close to an area with lots of wildlife and predators, it's probably best not to put your cat at risk.

Make an educated judgement. That doesn't mean to say that everything is a hazard, but if you do have major doubts then it's best to hold off letting them out.

Go Out Together First

If you do decide to let your cat outside, it might be an idea to accompany them on a couple of outings. That way, you'll be able to get a feel for the area together, and show them some safe places to explore.

Why not invest in a cat harness and leash? That way, you'll be able to walk them - much like a dog - and enforce a degree of control.

Similarly, if you are wary of letting them out alone, cat harnesses allow you to walk your cat without fear of them escaping.

Collar And ID

It's vital that your outdoor cat wears a collar with an up to date ID tag. It means that, if they do get lost, they can be easily returned - need we say more?!

Enforce A Curfew

Night time can be dangerous for outdoor cats. It's when predators like owls and foxes come out, and it's easier for them to sneak up when your cat least expects it.

Therefore, it's a good idea to enforce a curfew. No, seriously!

It's likely that your cat won't roam too far from home (the scent will comfort them), and if you call their name they'll probably come running straight back. For the first few weeks, give them a few treats to tempt them back in.

Instilling this kind of routine will help ensure that your cat returns home each night, meaning they're safe indoors.

Stay Calm

If you do decide to allow your cat to go outdoors, it's important that you keep calm. It's easy to assume the worst, especially when you call them a couple of times and they don't come home.

They're probably asleep somewhere, or are busy in their own little world.

If you worry too much, you'll drive yourself crazy. So stay calm, and don't lose any sleep! Cats are loyal - they'll always come running back!

Here at Tailster we have a wide network of approved cat sitters from across the UK. If you're going to be away for a while and need someone to look after your cat, click here for all you need to know about our full service.