Cat leash walking is a recent trend that is going to the felines. Gone are the days of cats laying around the house. It seems some cats want to be active with their families. For example, cat hiking has become wildly popular and this new trend allows for kitties to be out in nature adventuring with their families. Certainly, free-roaming cats and the idea of cat leash walking are two very distinct concepts. We sat down with our pet program professionals to get a handle on cat leash walking and understand if it is possible to successfully walk a cat.
Cat leash walking: how to successfully walk a cat
If you are going to commit to the task of cat leash walking, it is incredibly important to consider your cat’s age. “The younger you start cat leash walking, the easier it will be to train the cat,” states Trupanion pet program manager J. Marmol. Also, the younger the cat, the easier it is to establish a routine and create a pack mentality. Definitely walking a kitten is a different experience than walking an older cat.
Harness vs. collar
Cat leash walking is more likely to be successful if you are able to use a harness. “A harness is a safe and secure option for walking your cat. Also, there is no way for a cat to slide out of a harness, unlike just using a collar,” points out Marmol. Certainly, the use of a leash, harness, and identification collar adds an extra measure of safety in case your kitty gets lose.
Walking with a cat leash can be a different experience, then using a dog leash, due to the different styles. Essentially, a cat leash is typically looser than a dog’s providing opportunity for your cat to explore their space. In addition, with the leash being looser, it can be less control for the walker. It definitely gives you the chance to keep tabs on that kitty, especially if they want to prowl on their own.
Walking a cat: depends on the personality
The right feline friend for cat leash walking can be a rare breed. Certainly, personality definitely plays a part in the equation, for success, as does breed, age, and gender. If your pet doesn’t take to cat leash walking “it could just be that your cat does not want to walk on a leash, and that is completely fine,” cites Marmol. Instead of forcing outings upon your furry friend, give them the option to roam or explore their space, take it day by day and see where that leads to.
If cat leash walking is incorporated into your pet’s daily routine, at a younger age, you might see a life-long habit form. Certainly, your best mate will become accustomed to the routine of the family activity and it will become familiar to them.
There is a level of trust that comes with walking pets. For example, when you walk your dog they eventually learn to stay next to you and what your walking expectations are. In contrast, cats are naturally more skittish, and the act of walking on a leash might be a scary experience for them, at the start. In addition, cats are also independent and headstrong. For example, they might not trust the person they are walking with, there should be a level of trust in order for this to cat leash walking to be successful. It’s a good idea to build trust over time with familiar places and short outings, and let your cat lead the way.
Cat leash walking requires an incredible amount of patience for the cat walker. Whether you are walking pets professionally or are a loving cat owner, certainly taking the time and being patient is a step in the right direction. Just remember this is a new experience for your furry friend and yourself.
Three necessities for the cat-walker
Here are three necessities to always have when practicing cat leash walking:
1. Cat treats
Just as their furry counter-parts enjoy a good treat, certainly cats are no exception. Definitely bring a bag of treats to help encourage some walking and tail wags.
2. No fear
The cat owner or cat walker should be equipped with no fear of a potential altercation with a feisty kitty. “Cats definitely have a mind of their own, and aren’t afraid to use claws or teeth if they are unhappy,” chuckles Marmol. Moreover, consider that the likely hood that the situation might come up, and prepare for helping the furry friend through the experience.
3. Additional leash options
It might be beneficial to bring a versatile selection of leashes with you while walking the cat. Some cats might prefer the option to walk on a dog leash, which would provide a more rigid walking experience. Naturally, the dog leash does not provide the flexibility to explore but might provide the safety and security the cat needs, as well as the owner.
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