Taking your cat for walks can be a fun way to provide your furry friend with the mental stimulation and physical exercise that they need. Some cats are curious to explore outdoor enrichment, and what better way to explore than leash walking? Cats that might benefit from outdoor leash walks include adventurous cats, cats showing signs of boredom, cats living in small indoor living environments, and cats transitioning from outdoor to indoor cats.
Walking your cat can be a very different process from walking your dog. Not all cats love the idea of being led around on a leash. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to give outdoor leash walking a try because many cats actually enjoy them.
Here are some tips on how to take your cat for a walk:
Leash training with a harness
Exposing your cat to leash training and walks at an early age can help to increase your cat’s willingness to make these walks part of your regular routine. Determining what type of leash/harness to use with your cat can be overwhelming because there are many options to choose from. Since cats can easily squirm out of a basic cat collar, the best option to walk your cat is an eight-figure harness. You should be able to fit two fingers comfortably under the material of the harness, but it should also be tight enough that it doesn’t shift positions when your cat moves. To put the harness on, incentivize your cat with treats. Never force the harness on your cat; if your cat becomes anxious at any point, take the harness off and try again another day.
I know we’re all very eager to start taking our cats on walks, but it’s essential that your cat becomes comfortable with their gear beforehand. Start by getting your cat used to their harness and letting them wear it around the house. While they’re wearing it, remember to provide positive reinforcement and treats to let them know they are doing a good job. Once your cat has become well adjusted to the harness, attach the leash and let your cat wander around your place while you follow behind them. This will give them a sense of what it would be like on outdoor walks.
For your cat’s first walk, it’s a great idea to pick a quiet area because they might become easily overwhelmed by all the new sounds, sights, and smells. It’s important to allow your cat to explore their surroundings on their own time without feeling rushed or pressured. Some cats can only be outdoors for a few minutes. Others can explore for hours. Depending on your cat’s personality, it may take a while to warm up to the process, but remember to be patient. Many cats start to find walks enjoyable once they have mastered a few goes.
Here is a simple guide to know how often you should bring your cat to the vet.