Many cat owners would like to let their pet outside, but are worried about them becoming lost or injured. To give them a taste of the great outdoors without jeopardising their safety, some owners select or customise their fencing in order to make it impossible for their cat to escape the garden.
Here's a quick rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular methods.
Metal fencing works—that's the central advantage. Unless your kitty happens to have coated its claws in adamantium then it's going to find it impossible to dig them into the metal. This doesn't just mean that they won't be able to climb out of your garden, it also means they'll quickly lose interest in doing so since they'll never even come close to accomplishing their goal.
However, there are a number of disadvantages which are worth bearing in mind. For starters, you'll need to remove all potential launching-points—such as sheds—that a cat could use to launch itself over the fence in question, especially since they won't be able to get inside the perimeter once they leave. Also, metal fencing is far more expensive, making this a tough option for larger garden.
Fence spikes are easy to install, extremely effective, and relatively cheap. Creating three rows of plastic spikes which run along the tops of your fencing, these look like they might be quite painful, but they've actually been designed to cause discomfort instead of actual harm. Spikes make a handy deterrent, and tend to be preferred to other methods since they are barely even noticeable.
The main problem with fence spikes is similar to the difficult you might encounter with a metal fence: they make it impossible for a cat to get back if it does manage to escape your garden. Additionally, some owners find them cruel, despite their pain-free effect, so kitty-loving neighbours may be unimpressed if you installed them along a shared fence.
Some owners will go so far as to customise a fence themselves in order to keep their cat safe. This usually entails installing wire or mesh which projects at a 45 degree angle from the fence itself, meaning that cats are unable to slip around it. While this effectively stops cats from leaving the garden, it still allows them to get back in if they find another means of escape.
Overhangs are probably the most effective escape deterrent. However, the time and effort needed for installation can be considerable, especially when compared with spikes. Also, this system means that other cats can get into your garden, but won't be able to leave either. This can cause fighting, and might not endear your towards your neighbours.
Use resources like http://www.amazingfencing.com.au to find a solution that will work best for you and your cat. They can talk fencing, installation and pricing options to further help you make a confident decision.