Although your cat will live a longer, healthier life indoors, he can still experience the great outdoors safely when you walk him on a leash. Getting your cat moving will help him stay fit while simultaneously providing him with some fresh air and fun time exploring the outdoors. However, the experience isn't quite like walking a dog and you may have to entice your kitty to warm up to his outdoor jaunts. Fortunately, with a little positive reinforcement and some safety precautions, your feline friend will discover a whole new world outside. Read on to discover why walking your cat is a good idea.
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It Helps Him Tap into His Explorer Instincts
Cats are curious by nature and love exploring new things in their environment. Overall, an outdoor environment will engage your cat mentally by allowing him to observe the local birds and animals. There are also lots of other interesting sights, sounds and smells outside, which your cat can take in when you walk him – helping stave off boredom.
When you walk your cat outdoors on a harness and leash, allow him to explore at his own pace rather than pulling him along on your walk as you would with a dog. This is because you want to make the experience enjoyable for him, not scary or overwhelming. You can even put down some treats in front of him as you walk together, to encourage him to explore this strange new world outside. Try Purina Pro Plan Shredded Blend – with its mix of crunchy kibble and shredded meaty pieces, your cat is sure to follow as you encourage him to explore outside.
A Happy Cat is a Well Behaved Cat
Keeping your cat cooped up indoors can sometimes lead to unwanted behaviors, including destructive scratching. A little exploring outdoors will let your kitty get some much-needed exercise and let him scratch on a more suitable surface. The time he spends walking around outdoors will also help your cat burn off excess energy so he'll be less likely to misbehave at home. Most importantly, the time you spend with your cat outdoors will also give you some one-on-one time to bond with him, strengthening your relationship.
It Helps Increase Your Kitty's Real Estate
Cats are territorial creatures who need to have a good amount of space to call their own, a situation which can sometimes be difficult if you live in a smaller space. By taking your cat out for small walks in your yard or neighborhood, you greatly expand his territory. Even if you just walk around your yard, that extra real estate will please your feline companion, making him feel more confident and well adjusted.
It Helps Keep Your Kitty in Shape
When your cat moves around, he burns off any excess calories, preventing him from become a cat couch potato. Obesity is a major problem for cats and one that can cause health issues down the road. A nice walk with you every day can help prevent your cat from loafing around and packing on the pounds.
When walking your cat, be sure to do so using a feline-specific harness that is fastened securely around your cat's tummy and chest. Get him used to the idea of the harness and leash over time using some kibble as a reward for wearing it indoors. While out walking, bring along a thick towel or carrier to quickly scoop up your cat with if he becomes frightened by another animal or person during your outing. And don't forget to keep your indoor kitty's vaccinations and flea control up to date so he's protected from disease while outside with you.
- Purdue University: Walking Your Cat on a…Leash!?
- VetStreet: How to Train a Cat to Walk on a Leash
- Pam Johnson-Bennett: Should You Walk Your Cat Outdoors on a Leash?
- Best Friends Animal Society: Walking a Cat
- petMD: How to Walk Your Cat (and Live to Tell About It)
- petMD: Top Ten Health Benefits Walking Provides Your Pet
- The Humane Society: Fettered Felines: Take Your Cat for a Walk Outside