glad you have joined us and congratulations on getting your own flock.
The decision to raise a flock confined or allowed to free range is a personal one, but IMO those who have larger flocks and can accept some losses have an advantage over those of us with only a small flock, lots of predators and unwillingness to lose even one of the flock.
Supervised ranging is one alternative.
Once the chickens are full grown, cats become less of a threat, but those reports are from folks with pet cats, so cannot predict a feral cat's threat.
There are so many other possible predators that we don't notice are around until we acquire a flock and then they seem to come out of nowhere.
Good luck with your new adventure.