How To Walk Your Cat

Hear me out: it is actually possible to go on a walk with your cat. Now, I can’t promise that every feline friend will be agreeable to this arrangement, but there are a few things you can try to at least give it a shot. Because let’s face it, wouldn’t you love to spend some quality time with your kitty in the great outdoors?

To make sure your cat would even consider the idea of a walk, you should note a few things. First, how old is your furry friend? Your cat needs to be old enough to be fully vaccinated, but not so old that he/she has mobility problems. Younger cats seem to be more agreeable to new experiences and would probably tolerate walking more than an older cat. You should also take your cat’s personality into account. If your cat regularly comes when called, you’re off to a good start. Otherwise, it may be very difficult to get them to enjoy a nice walk.

The next step is to make sure you have the right accessories. A simple collar may not be enough to keep your kitty secure. It’s best to get a harness that loops under their front legs, like this one. This ensures that the leash doesn’t pull at their neck and they can’t easily slip out.

Credit: Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times

Once you have a harness, you need to slowly introduce it to your cat. Start by associating the harness with something positive, like food or treats. Let them sniff and maybe even play with it, then give them a treat. After a few days, try placing it gently on them as you continue to give treats. Once your cat seems up to it, fully secure the harness and continue the positive reinforcement. It might take a while for your cat to feel comfortable, so don’t rush into it. Make sure the harness isn’t too tight.

If you master the challenge of getting the harness on, you’re halfway there. Slowly introduce the leash just like you did with the harness. Get your cat used to being walked around the house before moving outdoors. If your cat is still tolerating everything up until this point, then you’re ready to head outside.

For your first walk outdoors, you might want to ensure you have a back-up plan if your cat gets freaked out. Guide them gently as you walk down the street, but never pull them along. Bring treats to reward them when they walk alongside you. For even more tips on how to walk with your cat, check out this video:

If your feline absolutely will not agree to any of this, don’t worry. Some cats just aren’t cut out for it. It’s important to spend time with your cat in a way that you both enjoy.

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Sarah Cookson

Writer/Dog Enthusiast living in New York City. Only goes to parties in hopes there will be a dog there to hang out with. Her resolutions for 2017 were to eat healthier and pet more pups. Bet you can guess which one she stuck with.

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