Sunday, April 14
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How to Take Your Cat on a Walk

Walking your cat offers the same benefits as walking your dog; Not only can it be an effective workout for both of you, but it can help your cat release some of its energy, which can decrease destructive behavior indoors. That means no more scratching up the furniture because your cat will be physically and mentally tired from an engaging walk. In addition, taking your cat on a walk is a great way to provide them with mental stimulation to prevent them from getting bored while you’re away. Plus, it can be a fun bonding opportunity for both of you. Here’s how you can start taking your cat on a walk. 

Gather Your Supplies

Cats are typically easier to train to walk on a leash than a dog because they’re less likely to pull. However, cats might try to jump, so it’s important to use the right equipment to prevent them from trying to pull you or hurting themselves. Here’s what you need to walk your cat:

 

  • Cat harness
  • Lightweight leash

Get Your Cat Used to the Harness

Once you have a cat harness, you should let your cat wear it indoors so they can get comfortable in it. Cats typically only wear collars or nothing, so wearing a harness can make them uncomfortable. However, getting them used to their harness can make walking easier since you won’t have to chase your cat down to go on a walk. You can use rewards-based training to help your cat build positive associations with their harness. Give them a few treats when you get the harness on your cat. Treat your cat every time they put the harness on to teach them that harnesses are not harmful. 

 

Once you have your cat in a harness, let them wear it around the house for a few hours. You can let your cat run, jump, chase and play in their harness to help them understand that the harness won’t prevent them from having fun. 

Use a Leash Inside

Cats aren’t used to leashes, so your cat might not enjoy the fact they have less freedom while on a walk. You can get your cat used to a leash by using it inside and walking with them around the house. You can repeat this process to help the cat learn about how far away from you they can walk while on a leash. 

Take It Outside

Once your cat is comfortable walking on a leash inside, you can start to take them outside. Don’t try to walk your cat immediately, though. Instead, you can take them off to the side of your home or apartment and let them sniff the grass to learn about their environment. If your cat won’t go outside or seems hesitant, never force them. Instead, you can carry them outside to show them they’re safe or stop for the day and try again tomorrow. Always bring treats with you when walking your cat and praise them for good behavior. 

Stay Near Home

Cats don’t need to walk for a long time like dogs. Instead, a cat can get just as much mental and physical stimulation by staying close to your home. Staying in your yard can help your cat feel comfortable when outside. Remember, even though your cat might stare out the window all day long, they don’t know anything about the outside world, so it can be scary for them. 

Know the Wildlife in Your Area

Before you take your cat outside, you want to ensure they’re safe. If you know cats, raccoons, coyotes, or any other wildlife that roams the area, always use caution when taking your cat outside. You should also research the wildlife near your home. It’s always best not to let cats chew on anything when they’re outside just in case it could be poisonous. 

Understand Your Cat’s Body Language

Cats can get stressed just as easily as humans and dogs, so it’s important not to overstimulate them when on a walk. Instead, know your cat’s body language to determine whether they’re having fun outside or too stressed out. Signs your cat is in emotional distress and/or anxious can include stiff posture and excessive meowing. 

Don’t Expect a Long Walk

Taking a restless cat outside can help them burn off extra energy. However, they don’t need to walk for a long period. When walking a cat, remember you’re not walking them like you would a dog so leave the running shoes at home and opt for the women’s walking shoe. While dogs can go on mile-long walks or longer, cats prefer short bursts of energy rather than long walks. So while walking is good exercise for cats, you shouldn’t take your cat on an actual walk like you would a dog. Instead, they should be allowed to sniff and explore a small space outside. 

 

Remember, your cat is not a dog, so they’ll feel more comfortable close to home. You can walk them within the same space back and forth while letting them sniff the environment. 

Have ID Tags

Cats can see a bird and try to chase it, ultimately jumping out of their harnesses. While it’s rare for a cat to escape a harness, it can happen as easily as it does for dogs. If your cat breaks away from you, you’ll want them to be able to be identified. When taking your cat outside, always make sure they’re wearing their ID tags. You can also consider microchipping to help someone ID your cat if they’re found. 

Stay Up to Date on Vaccines

Your cat should be up to date on all of their vaccinations before going outside. Many common cat illnesses are spread from cat to cat, but cats can also get infections from coming into contact with contaminated objects, such as rocks or grass. So before you take your cat anywhere, talk to your vet about the different vaccinations they need to keep them safe outdoors. 

Enriching Your Cat’s Life Outdoors

Going outside is a great way to keep your cat healthy. However, going outside is not for all cats. If your cat doesn’t seem to enjoy spending time outside, consider other enriching activities you can do inside. 

 

Ashley Nielsen

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she shares knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, or financial tips. During her free time she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.