Should You Walk Your Cat?
As it turns out, leashes aren’t just for dogs. Your kitty might also enjoy a jaunt around the block wearing a harness and leash made just for cats. These supplies are available at just about any pet store.
Now that the cat’s out of the bag, you might be wondering: is it a good idea to take your kitty on walks? The answer depends very much on your cat’s individual personality. If he’s outgoing and curious, making walks part of his daily routine could be very beneficial. On the other hand, if your cat is timid and resists change, walks might not be for him.
Here’s the bottom line: not all cats enjoy going for walks, but every kitty should be given the chance to try it out.
Benefits of Walking Your Cat
If you’re not sure you want to try taking your cat on walks, consider the benefits:
- Bond with your kitty: Cats tend to have a looser bond with their humans than dogs do. Going for walks could be a way to strengthen your bond and give the two of you an activity to do together.
- Stimulate his mind: A lot of cats love being outdoors. They love the smell of grass and the sound of birds chirping, just like humans do. If your cat is accustomed to lying around the house, it could be good to engage his mind with new sights and sounds.
- Give him confidence: Your scaredy cat may surprise you. Once he gets comfortable in his harness and daily walks become the new norm, you may find him strutting around with newfound confidence. His demeanor may even change at home from hiding under the bed to being more engaged in your daily life.
What You Need to Know About Walking Your Cat
Not all cats will warm up to the harness and leash, and that’s okay. If your feline tells you walks are not for him, you need to respect his feelings. If your cat shows willingness to accept the harness, try these tips to make sure your pursuit is successful.
- Get the right kind of harness: Make sure you purchase one made for cats, since slinky felines can sometimes slip out of ones made for dogs.
- Practice in the house: When you bring a new harness and leash home, let your kitty sniff and explore it for a day or two before putting it on him. Then, the first few times he wears it in the house, offer plenty of treats and praise. When you feel like he’s ready, try exploring the back yard with his harness on.
- Know that walking a cat is not like walking a dog: You train a dog to go where you go and trot by your side without pulling on the leash. In most cases, walking a cat is more like accompanying him as he wanders around.
- Pick a place unlikely to have dogs: If your neighbors regularly walk their dogs, you might have to choose somewhere other than your neighborhood to take your cat on walks.
- Vaccinate your cat: Talk to your vet about feline vaccinations and other ways to protect your cat from disease if he spends time outdoors.
- If walking doesn’t work out, hold onto the harness: You can still get some use out of the cat harness, even if your kitty refuses to go on walks with you. Put him in it to prevent escape when you take him to the vet or on vacation with you.
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