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Can You [Safely] Take Your Cat on Walks? – 6 Steps to Teaching Your Cat to Walk

Can You [safely] Take Your Cat On Walks? – 6 Steps To Teaching Your Cat To Walk

Have you ever been out on an errand and seen someone walking their cat? Seeing their little paws prance down the sidewalk like a downright dog is enough to stop you in your tracks. If you have a cat, you probably instantly thought, “Hey, why doesn’t MY cat do that?”

So, is it safe to walk a cat? If so, how can you get started?

Is it Safe to Bring Your Cat on a Walk?

Here’s the good news: Plenty of cat owners have successfully trained their cats to walk. Yay! Still, before you embark on this endeavor, here are a few important safety reminders.

Dangers of walking your cat may include:

  • Meeting aggressive dogs or other potential predators
  • Risking them squirming off the leash and running away
  • Exposing them to diseases and parasites
  • Being unable to wrangle them if they get agitated

“A cat coming upon another cat’s scent may become nervous, fearful, or agitated. These emotions can very easily escalate into aggression, particularly if you try to pick them up,” advises Preventative Vet

These and other safety concerns are important to be aware of. Still, it is possible to leash a cat and go for a walk! It just takes some patience and follow-through. Let’s see how.

7-Step Guide to Training a Cat to Go on Walks

Here’s how to train a cat to go on casual neighborhood walks:

1. Start Early

It is easier for cats to face new environments and try new things when they are young. You can start training a kitten to walk by attaching a harness and letting them get used to walking around the house with it. Or you can take them to a safe area, like a fenced backyard, to get used to being outside. 

Still, even if your kitty is all grown up, you can follow these next steps and see if they are into it or not. At the end of the day, though, ‘cats are gonna cat’! So don’t be too discouraged if it doesn’t work out!

2. Use a Harness

Since cats are so good at fitting through small spaces, they can easily slip out of a traditional collar and leash combo. It’s best to opt for a harness. Make sure it fits well – not too tight or too loose.

3. Socialize Cats with Other Types of Animals

Again, from a young age, try to safely expose your cat to other critters, if possible. That way, when you take them for a walk, they won’t be frozen with fear when they see their first fellow feline or curious canine.

4. Establish a Reward System

“Starting from the time you first place the harness on your pet, you should reward them with a treat. Even when letting them feel the harness out, every few minutes that they keep the harness on without trying to squirm out should be rewarded!” advises Texas Humane Heroes.

5. Start Slow, Don’t Push It

Give your cat time to get used to the harness and surroundings – first around your house, then the backyard, then the front, then around the block. Let them take you on an adventure! Go with what they’re comfortable with. Pay attention to their cues. If they seem comfortable, go for it. If they’re acting like it’s the worst time of their life, maybe go inside and try again another day.

6. Safety First!

Make sure they’re microchipped, vaccinated, and using flea, tick, and worm medicine or prevention. That way, they’ll be protected from disease and parasites, and you’ll be reuinited if they happen to get lost!

How to Get Your Cats Socializing & Exercising Without Going Outside

If you don’t feel up to training your cat for walks, are too nervous about safety concerns, or simply don’t have time, no worries. Pet Ponderosa has a carpet-lined cat palace for your cat to enjoy while you’re at work, away on vacation, or just whenever. They can play, lounge, and socialize to their heart’s content while you’re away. 

Get in touch to book your kitty’s cat-cation!

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