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Taking Your Cat For A Walk

January 15 2024

It’s Walk Your Dog Month! What about walking your cat? While some of our feline friends want nothing to do with being walked on a leash, some cats actually quite like it. In this article, a local Mt. Airy, MD vet discusses some of the pros and cons of walking Fluffy.

Is Walking Your Cat A Good Idea?

Taking Fluffy for a walk has some benefits, believe it or not. For one thing, your feline pal will get a good workout. That’s great for cats of all ages! Kittens can burn off some of those zoomies, adults can exercise, and seniors can keep in shape. 

Mental stimulation is another plus. Cats need entertainment to stay happy and purring! Fluffy both enjoys and benefits from the mental stimulation she receives from sniffing things and watching birds and squirrels. Many kitties can get quite bored just staring at the same four walls all day. 

Of course, some of our feline pals just enjoy going for strolls. Cats who were once strays, those who were previously let out, and those who are just bold and adventurous may like it the most.

Walking Fluffy on a leash is also much safer than letting her out on the loose. While our feline pals may be quite adventurous, they are also quite small and fragile. As soon as your cat goes outside, she faces a wide range of threats, including the weather, wild animals, cars, the weather, parasites, and even other cats.

Fluffy isn’t the only one that is safer this way. It’s also safer for local wildlife! These charming little balls of fur kill billions of small animals every year.

Are There Any Downsides To Walking Your Cat?

There are a few negatives and possible negatives to consider. 

  • Your kitty will also be at risk for parasites and diseases, so keep Fluffy’s vaccinations and parasite control up-to-date.
  • Some cats don’t like being walked, and may be scared to go out.
  • You could end up spoiling your pet. Fluffy might demand daily walks! Your cute pet may give you an earful if you don’t indulge her.
  • If Fluffy likes walks too much, she could try to escape!
  • Lastly, your pet is at some risk of getting hurt or slipping away. Mishaps can happen at any time. A dog could be loose, or you could accidentally lose control of your leash. We’re not by any means suggesting these things will happen, just listing them here as they are possible. 

How Far Should I Take My Cat On Walks?

Err on the side of caution here, and don’t go too far. Even if you’re walking at a slow pace, Fluffy may have to run to keep up with you on those little legs, and she may tire out quickly. She may also decide to flop down halfway through her walk.

If your feline buddy starts lagging, or tries to sit or lay down, it’s probably time to call it a day.

Note: panting is a big red flag in cats. Kitties don’t normally pant, so if you do see Fluffy panting, it’s a sign that she’s overexerted. We recommend offering her water and taking her home. Ask your Mt. Airy, MD vet for more information.

What Do I Need For Gear To Walk My Cat?

You don’t need to go too crazy here: a good, comfortable harness and leash will do the trick. Don’t try to attach a leash to a regular collar. This could be quite dangerous if your kitty got stuck!

How Can I  Teach My Cat To Walk On A Leash?

The first thing you should do is let Fluffy wear her harness indoors while you keep an eye on her. Your furry buddy may need time to adjust to her gear, but that’s completely normal. Attach a leash to the harness and let your feline friend drag it around.

 always keep a close eye on your cat when she is wearing her harness, and never leave her unattended. Our feline pals can be very playful. you definitely don’t want your pet getting tangled up in her leash.

Once Fluffy seems comfortable wearing her gear, you can take her for a test run. (Note: before you do this, make sure that your kitty is microchipped, wearing ID tags, and is up to date on her vaccines and parasite control products. Ask your Mt. Airy, MD vet for more information)

What Should I Do to Start Walking My Cat?

Once Fluffy is used to her leash, start by just taking her outside. However, this somewhat depends on where you live. If there are loose dogs or other hazards in the area, be careful.

When you get outside, just see how Fluffy reacts. If she seems scared or nervous, don’t force her to stay outside: just bring her back in. If she seems confused but interested, give her a few minutes.

Keep your first walk short and sweet. You shouldn’t go very far at first. 

What Is The Best Place To Walk My Cat?

Safety is the biggest concern. Choosing the right spot may be half the battle here.

Keep your feline pal away from areas with potential dangers, such as busy roads, loose dogs, rivers, and cliffs.

You may also want to avoid trees. Our feline pals will climb trees when they are afraid. Fluffy also climbs trees for fun. Even if your pet has always lived indoors, she may find going up instinctive and easy. Cat claws are also curved in a way that makes it easy to do so. Going down, however, is completely another story: cats have to learn that one.

What Can I Do To Keep My Cat Safe On Walks?

First and foremost, don’t let Fluffy go for walks unless she is current on her vaccinations and parasite control. Your kitty should also be microchipped and wearing ID tags. GPS collars are also a good idea. Ask your vet for more information. 

Make sure your pet’s harness is comfortable and secure, and always hold the leash securely. Choose a safe area, one without potential hazards such as dogs or traffic.

You’ll also need to take care not to let your kitty eat plants or grass that may contain toxins, or walk through areas that may have been treated with toxic chemicals.

What Kind Of Kitties Enjoy Going For Walks?

Our feline pals are all different, so it really comes down to the individual kitty. That said, certain cats, such as Siamese cats, Bengal cats, Abyssinian cats, Manx cats, and Persian cats, seem to enjoy being walked more than others.

In conclusion: Walking isn’t necessarily the best option for all cats, but some kitties enjoy it. This can be a fun activity for frisky and athletic cats, as well as for cats that formerly lived or were allowed outside. If your cat is weak, frail, extremely shy, or has always been kept indoors It might be best to just leave things as they are.

Do you have questions about caring for your kitty? Is your cat overdue for an appointment? Please feel free to contact us, your Mt. Airy, MD pet hospital, today if you have questions about your cat’s health or care.