If you are wondering, can I walk my cat on a leash? you should know that going outside is a therapeutic practice for some cats. However, in general, walks are not an inherent necessity in feline psychology. They have their disposal place in the sandbox and prefer to interact with those who belong to their community.
Therefore, your first option should always be to enrich its habitat so that it gets enough stimuli in it to help it stay physically and cognitively stimulated. In the following lines we will discover which cat profiles are indicated to benefit from trips abroad and what aspects you should consider to make them a success.
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Should I take my cat for a walk?
Felines, territorial animals that they are, feel safe in the places marked by them. When going outside, the lack of those reassuring odorous traces will generate concern, which will become stress if the experience lasts over time. Exposure to new stimuli can become excessive if you do not choose the place well.
Walking a kitten involves an adaptation and learning process that you should address if:
- Your pet is obese and needs to lose weight. This new way of exercising, in addition to more fun than practicing physical activity at home, is very effective to get rid of excess weight quickly.
- You notice that he takes advantage of any excuse to sneak around the balcony or hang around the terrace. Clearly your cat is interested in exploring the limits that go beyond his home, so setting aside a couple of days a week to walk outside could make him very happy and benefit his health.
- Your kitty has spent a lot of time outside in the past and is restless and nervous at home. If the vet has ruled out that he has any disorder or disease, you should consider taking him for a walk with some assiduity.
- You live with a shy cat , who has difficulties for social interaction or shows a tendency to run away. In all these cases, specialists recommend walks, provided that the appropriate measures are adopted and that they are exposed to this experience in a gradual and controlled way. We will delve into this later.
What should I do to enjoy the ride?
As we have already announced, cats value the security of their home very much. Everything and everyone they come across is familiar to them and they have identified them, so their integrity is not in danger. However, if you have decided to start taking it abroad because you think it will be useful, understand that:
- You must act calmly and patiently . Don’t force him to explore if he doesn’t feel ready or feels like it. Do not be angry or reprimand him if he sits in a corner on the first walk. You must do the same, accompanying him and speaking with affection.
- You should be ready to intervene if another cat or dog approaches . Take your kitty in your arms and distract him or put him in his backpack for cats so that he can pass the drink in the most bearable way possible and without suffering damage.
Collar versus harness
Purchasing a cat-specific harness and leash is the first step in your pre-departure preparation. You will need to measure the contour of your pet’s neck and chest to select the ideal range for him. The strap must not be retractable, but elastic and not more than 1 meter in length.
Collars are strongly discouraged because when pulling they could injure your windpipe and lead to later swallowing difficulties. The harness manages to distribute the force evenly on the shoulders, chest and abdomen of the animal. That way, you won’t feel corseted and won’t be able to slip away. You will prevent it from being run over or lost.
If you are farsighted, and although it is unlikely that you will get lost, it is advisable to place a plate with your name and address to facilitate your identification in case of loss. Microchips and GPS locators are other resources you have.
Before having any contact with insects, bacteria and viruses from outside, you must make sure that your kitten is properly dewormed and vaccinated. Likewise, do not allow him to eat anything from the ground or to eat plants or flowers. Many of them can be toxic to felines.
Training and positive reinforcement
You will have to accustom your pet to the harness. To do this, leave it among his toys so that on his own initiative he can sniff and mark it. Every time he does it, reward him for associating it with something positive. After several days you should put it on for a few minutes.
Repeat this routine for several consecutive days, with the corresponding rewards at the end, and gradually increase the time you wear the harness. After this phase, you should start with the leash by walking it inside the house . Let him go where he wants, just go with him.
When, after several days, you notice that it is already tolerated, it will be time to do the same, but on the outside. The first exits must take place in a controlled environment. For example, a private garden or a park in hours of low influx of people. It is not recommended that you take it out in a city as the noise will overwhelm it.
Finally, we want to provide you with some simple tips that will help your kitty build positive memories around her walks outside:
It is always preferable to start as a puppy . Adult cats will need more time to experience the benefits of these outings, some will not even approve of them under any circumstances.
Los primeros paseos deben ser breves, de no más de 5 minutos. Ya iréis ampliando su duración conforme vaya sintiéndose más relajado en ese nuevo entorno. Los etólogos aconsejan cogerlo en brazos en la primera salida y dejarlo en el suelo al llegar. Así, se sentirá menos violento.
Elige días secos, sin lluvia. Tu gato podrá orientarse mejor y disfrutará más y mejor de los estímulos que le regala la naturaleza.
Aborta todo intento de escalada, ya que la correa podría enrollarse y tu gato hacerse daño o llevarse un susto.
Nunca tires de la correa ni le grites si las cosas no van tan fluidas como desearías. Respeta sus elecciones.
Refuerza vuestro vínculo con esta nueva rutina
In short, we can conclude that taking a cat for a walk can be very rewarding and healthy, but not all dogs like it. With foresight, patience, affection and these guidelines you will achieve that, if your kitten is interested in this experience, everything goes great and he will soon ask you to repeat.
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