If you have an indoor cat, it may not be uncommon to consider letting your cat get some fresh air and exercise outside on a leash, but do you know the dangers of this practice?
Aside from any physical or mental harm it could cause to your cat, it’s also dangerous for other people and animals in your neighborhood if you live in an area with wildlife or dogs.
It’s important to be aware of the risks before deciding whether walking your indoor cat on a leash is right for you and your pet.
1) Exercise Helps Weight Loss
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or maintain it, exercise is a crucial part of any healthy routine. Exercising with your cat can be great for both of you! Plus, walking your cat outside gives him access to natural sunlight and fresh air.
Here are five reasons why you should start walking your indoor cat on a leash.
People who walk their cats are more likely to keep them indoors: A study conducted by The American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found that over 70% of respondents walked their cats because they wanted them to remain indoors.
This number was much higher than those who walked their cats to help them lose weight, which only accounted for about 5%.
There are many health benefits associated with walking your cat: According to Dr. Ernie Ward, an expert in feline medicine and author of Cat vs. Human, Exercise helps cats shed excess body fat, lowers blood pressure, and reduces stress hormones…
Exercise also helps boost moods—which may come in handy if you have one of those grumpy kitties. It’s good for both of you: You may have noticed that your cat becomes less active as he gets older.
Just like humans, cats need regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. Regular walks will not only help your cat maintain his ideal weight but will also reduce boredom and depression.
It’s easier than you think: Just like dogs, all you need is a harness and some sort of leash. Some people even use retractable leashes so that they don’t have to worry about holding onto their pet at all times.
And remember – just like training a dog, training your cat to walk on a leash takes time and patience. But once you get used to it, it’ll become second nature.
It makes your cat happy: Cats were domesticated thousands of years ago because humans liked having them around. In fact, most experts believe that domesticating cats occurred independently in different parts of the world.
So there must be something special about living with felines!
2) The Right Equipment is Key
Making sure your cat is comfortable with walking on a leash and harness is an important first step. There are special harnesses designed specifically for cats, and they come in many different colors and styles.
A good one should be light enough that your cat doesn’t mind wearing it, but strong enough that it will provide support if needed. You’ll also need a leash designed for use with cats, which you can find at any pet store.
Don’t forget treats! They can help get your cat excited about walking outside and make training much easier. And don’t forget water—it gets hot out there!
3) Not Too Much Too Soon
It’s important to start slowly when introducing your cat to an outdoor experience. Even if they are accustomed to being indoors, they may be frightened by loud noises or unfamiliar smells that could spook them into running away.
Tread lightly and pay attention. If you notice them becoming nervous or scared, bring them back inside for some snuggles. They’ll appreciate you even more for it!
Don’t Forget Their Necessities: Cats will need to go outside frequently in order to relieve themselves, so make sure they have all of their necessary items before heading out—including food and water bowls (you can find small ones designed specifically for travel), litter boxes (some cats prefer going outdoors while others prefer using their indoor box), carriers (for transporting them in case of emergency) and toys.
Make sure these items are lightweight enough for easy carrying, as well as clean. You don’t want to put yourself at risk of injury from hauling around heavy objects.
Be Prepared for Emergencies: Before taking your cat outside, make sure you have a plan in place should something happen.
Consider having contact information written down along with any medical information about your pet just in case something happens where you cannot get home right away.
4) Safety Precautions
While walking your cat, you want to be prepared for any unforeseen situations. A retractable leash will give you an extra bit of control and make sure that your cat does not get away from you.
It is always better safe than sorry. Make sure that you are familiar with any local ordinances regarding pet owners and leashes before taking your indoor cat outside.
The last thing you want is someone calling animal control because they think it’s illegal or unsafe for your indoor cat to walk on a leash in public. If you don’t know if there are laws against cats being walked on leashes, check with your city government.
If no laws exist, go ahead and try out a few walks around your neighborhood. However, if laws do exist about cats being walked on leashes then find other ways to bond with your cat by playing games indoors such as fetch or hide-and-seek so that she gets plenty of exercise!
5) Think About What’s Best For Your Cat
Before you start talking yourself into/out of walking your cat, think about what’s best for them. Sure, they might think it’s fun, but do they need it? Will they gain any health benefits from being outside (besides what you can give them inside)?
How long will you be outside?
Are there predators that could harm your cat while out and about?
All these things must be taken into consideration before making a decision. If you decide to walk your indoor cat, just make sure they’re safe! Keep them on a leash or harness so they don’t run off and get lost.
This is especially important if there are other animals in your neighborhood. You wouldn’t want Fido taking their daily stroll with Fluffy!