Cat lovers: do you think we should let our feline companions roam, or should they be kept inside for their own safety? We've taken a look at both sides of the debate - but what do you think?
Keeping cats indoors: the argument
Health factors: An indoor cat will be safe from predators, careless drivers and accident- and fight-induced infection and disease. Yet real scientific evidence that keeping a cat inside prolongs its life is decidedly thin on the ground.
Hunting instincts: For those horrified by the idea of keeping a cat away from prey, think about the other ways in which our bond with cats has altered their behaviour, such as how they happily eat food from tins and packets. You could say this is just another part of the domestication process.
What will make them happy: Not all cats are the same: some will always try to make a break for freedom, but others will be perfectly happy inside. 'There's an argument that cats that have never been outside can be content as they don't know what they are missing, and there are some very good indoor 'activity centres' that help,' says behaviourist Debbie Ottway.
Letting cats roam: the case for freedom
Health factors: Letting your feline friend outdoors on a regular basis helps counter obesity and allows them to exercise. Plus there are the health benefits of access to fresh air and fibre-rich grass.
Hunting instincts: Although most cats love to hunt and kill birds, the RSPB says there is no evidence that domestic cats are having any impact on the UK bird population. According to the charity, millions of birds die naturally each year, and cats tend to take sickly birds that would have died anyway.
What will make them happy: 'Cats may be adaptable, but they still have animal instincts. Keeping them confined can lead to depression, listlessness and lethargy. In multi-cat households, there might be insufficient space for cats to have their own territories, which can lead to stress and aggression,' says behaviourist Jane Williams.
What do you think? Let us know by commenting below: