WALKING CATS PROVIDES ENRICHMENT

Indoor cats must always stay indoors! Not true. Many pet parents have found that walking cats provides enrichment that cannot be equalled. Sure, watching birds, squirrels and lizards through the window is okay but allowing them the opportunity to breath and smell the fresh air brings far greater joy. Plus, it’s an experience that feline and human can engage in together. It strengthens their bond, an unbreakable bond.

Walking cats provides enrichment which can be done safely by using a strap harness 
Credit: Photo by K B
Walking cats provides enrichment which can be done safely by using a strap harness
Credit: Photo by K B

Some Kitties Also Hike And Swim

Although it’s not very common that you’ll actually see a cat being walked, sometimes they participate in other “unusual” activities, too. There are kitties that go hiking. Others enjoy a little swim in the pool. 

It’s all up to the creativity of the cat guardian to experiment and find ways to stimulate their pet. The relatively effortless act of walking enriches feline lives. It’s worth remembering that both physical and mental exercise prevent boredom and help keep them in good health, as well. It allows them to thrive, not just be.

As you can see, walking enriches feline lives by allowing them to experience nature up close
As you can see, walking enriches feline lives by allowing them to experience nature up close

KITTING OUT YOUR KITTY

Kitty ID

Before your cat companion ventures beyond your front door, make sure you have everything it needs to be safe and comfortable.

As you know by now, I do not take chances. So, if Fluffy tolerates wearing a collar that displays her ID, make sure she is wearing it while on her trip into the big, wide world. Please ensure it is the breakaway type so that it will unfasten if she were to ever get caught up or tangled. That way, she can free herself and avoid further injury.

Made by hand and made to measure, a harness designer can offer unique detailing
Made by hand and made to measure, a harness designer can offer unique detailing

Harness And Leash

Since cats are far more delicate than dogs, it is never advisable to try walking her with the leash attached to a collar. There are special harnesses just for cats and the leash will clip onto the ring between the shoulders or a little further down the back.

There are two basic styles of harnesses for cats. 

Firstly, we have the fabric, vest-type design, that is usually made of soft mesh. It slips over the head, passes underneath the chest, behind the front legs and two side straps snap together between the shoulders.

An example of how cats can enjoy the outdoors and bond with their guardian 
Credit: Photo by Birhanb
An example of how cats can enjoy the outdoors and bond with their guardian
Credit: Photo by Birhanb

Then there is the one that is all straps. It is actually two loops that are joined together by a strap that rests on the cat’s upper back. The straps that form the neck loop and the girth loop are positioned and then snapped in place.

Getting Accustomed

Now, if you strongly believe that walking cats provides enrichment and you want to give it a try, ideally you should start in kittenhood. To begin with, the youngster will need to learn to accept a harness, firstly indoors and then outside. Try it out for just a few minutes and then gradually build up to longer periods. 

Since cats are more delicate than dogs, a snug-fitting, fabric harness vest is ideal
Since cats are more delicate than dogs, a snug-fitting, fabric harness vest is ideal

Getting used to how the harness feels and walking at the end of a leash requires practice. This will help to minimize any possible stress and reluctance, and ensure it becomes an experience to look forward to. 

However, you need to realize that not all cats like wearing a harness. The older they are when they are first introduced to it, the greater the likelihood that your feline friend will refuse to wear one. You simply won’t know how she will react until you try.

In cooler weather, your kitty can still enjoy a walk wearing its harness over a sweater
In cooler weather, your kitty can still enjoy a walk wearing its harness over a sweater

To Sum Up

Most indoor cats never have the opportunity to go outdoors. They can only imagine what it’s like by staring at the outside through a window from the inside.

An indoor cat can benefit greatly from these walks. It is really great exercise. She will stay agile and in her optimum weight. It will stimulate her senses, serve as enrichment, and make her a very happy kitty indeed!

Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!  


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.