Why should dogs have all the fun? Walking your cat is a wonderful bonding activity for you and your feline friend, and a great way for her to safely explore the great outdoors.
Almost every cat loves an adventure, but if your cat lives solely inside, the outside world can be a big and scary. There’s plenty of dangers out there that your cat can get into, so letting her roam free isn’t a viable option. Walking your cat, however, is a great way to allow your cat to experience the great outdoors without putting her life at risk.
Believe it or not, plenty of pet parents talk their cats out for walks — and their cats actually enjoy it! While putting a leash on your cat might seem like an impossible feat, with a little patience and training, your cat just might find that she doesn’t mind it.
Actually, if you want to try walking your cat, you’re going to need more than a little patience. This isn’t a process that’s going to happen overnight. First, you’ll want to get a harness that was made specifically for cats. You’d be surprised how fast your cat will slip out of a small dog harness, and a collar alone just won’t cut it.
Tips For Walking Your Cat
Walking your cat is a fun activity that will get your cat out of the house and allow her to release some pent-up energy. If your cat is climbing the walls and constantly getting into mischief, training her to go on walks might be just what she needs to calm down. On the other hand, if you’re worried that your cat is bored and not getting enough stimulation throughout the day, a walk could be an energizing boost that perks up her mood.
In order to get started walking your cat, you’ll need to make sure your cat is absolutely familiar with her new harness. You’re going to want to tackle this process in stages, and take everything as slowly as your cat wants. Remember that whether or not this works is up to her and not you, so don’t push it too hard.
Leave the harness on the floor in a room she frequents so she can check it out and get acquainted with it. Once you’ve made it through this step, you can try putting it on her, but keep in mind that if she’s not into it, you shouldn’t force it. For this to work, your cat has to be willing, otherwise you’re going to end up dragging an angry cat down the sidewalk.
After you’re able to clip the harness on, let her walk around the house with it so she gets used to wearing it. You can do this for a few days or however long it takes until you feel like your cat is comfortable. Again, patience is the most important part about walking your cat. It’s possible that it could take weeks for your cat to get used to wearing the harness, but don’t give up. You’ll know when she’s OK with it once there’s no issue putting the harness on, and she doesn’t have a problem walking with it.
Then, and only then, you can attach the leash and let her see what it’s like walking around with it. Make sure you watch her to see if it’s better to hold it or let her drag it — some cats can be frightened by the leash behind them. Be generous with treats while you’re doing this so your cat understands this is a good thing. Play wither her or engage her any way you can to help reinforce this; it’ll make it more fun for you and easier for your cat to adjust.
Into the Great Wide Open
The next step is to take your cat outside, preferably in your own backyard, to an area that’s quiet and safe. Be sure to carry your cat outside. Don’t let her just walk out on her own. Carrying your cat outside prevents her from making a break for it and getting into harm. Any and every time you walk your cat you should carry her out. Even the best leash-trained cat could still make a mad dash if left on her own.
Keep your cat in the quiet area you’ve selected and let her walk around and experience what it’s like to explore the outdoors on a leash. If your cat doesn’t have any knowledge of what the outside world is like, make sure you give her time to relax because she’ll be on high alert. Let her be curious, but keep her away from potential dangers (like dogs).
Continue to take it slowly from here, but after this point you should be able to start walking your cat. Pay attention to how your cat reacts to being on the leash; every cat is going to act differently. Your cat might be open to going on a walk around the block, but she also might prefer to just wander around your yard and not want to go any further. Enjoy the moment either way, you’ve made it this far and it wasn’t easy.
Essentially, your cat’s personality will determine how she’s going to react to this situation. You already probably know how she feels about going outdoors, and if she’s a bit jumpy this might not work out. Ultimately, you have to try before you know, but if you can tell your cat is uncomfortable or unhappy, you should stop. If you still want to adventure with your cat outdoors, there are other options. A cat stroller is an easy way to go on walks safely with your cat, and you won’t have to go through a lengthy training process.
When you are walking your cat, safety should always be at the top of your mind. Never leave your cat alone outside, and try to keep her away from dogs whether they’re also out for a walk or just hanging out in their own yards. It’s also good practice to keep from putting the harness on your cat if she starts whining for it. While it’s great that she likes it, you don’t want to reward negative behavior.
Walking your cat can be a fun experience for both of you if you keep your patience and take note of your cat’s behavior. Always do what’s most comfortable for her and you’ll be on the right track.