Maybe you have noticed that more people seem to be taking their cats for walks these days. With companies such as selling walk kits for cats or special cat harnesses, it is now easier than ever to take your feline friend out for a walk, ensuring that they stay with you at all times.
If you are considering walking your cat, there are a few things to be aware of though. For example, did you know that cats in general do not like to be attached to a leash. This is because it removes their sense of control over any particular situation.
While you can train a cat to walk on a leash, and some definitely do seem to enjoy it, there are risks that you need to be aware of when out and about with your cat.
Knowing the Risks of Cat Walking
It is important that you are aware of the dangers facing your cat and that you know how to react should you encounter them. The first thing you need to know before heading out with your cat is that it is never okay to walk your cat with a leash attached to its collar. Cats’ throats are much softer than dogs’, and if they were to pull while a leash was attached to their collar, it could cause damage.
Remember, cats are predatory animals and so they have an instinctive need to hunt. Should they spot a bird or mouse during your walk, they are likely to run after it at speed. In addition to being hunters, cats are also commonly hunted (chased) by other animals. They are likely to be startled if they come across another cat or a dog while out walking. In normal circumstances, a cat faced with what it perceives as a predator or competitor will go into fight or flight mode. Fear in a cat can lead to aggression. Should you try to pick your pet up in such situations, it might direct its aggression towards you.
How to Walk Your Cat Safely
There are things that you can do to make sure your cat is safe during your walks. For starters, stay close to your home initially. This is an area that your cat is familiar with, and should anything happen, such as your cat gets free from the leash, he should be able to find his way back home.
If you don’t usually allow your cat outside by itself, make sure you don’t get into the habit of allowing him to walk out of the front door on the leash. This is because the more he gets used to going out for walks, the more likely he is to dash outside the minute the door is open. Remember, cats are very quick, and you might not be able to stop him running outside. It is better to carry your cat from the house to the outside before putting him down for the walk.
Make sure you are paying attention to your cat during the walk as you will notice if he gets spooked. Cats have better senses than we do, and he will likely hear or smell danger long before you do. If your cat stops walking and tries to hide, it is likely that something has caused this. It might be that he has sensed another animal nearby. It might just be a person heading in his direction, but it is best that you are aware of what is going on.
To ensure you are prepared for any emergency, it is recommended that you carry a cat first aid kit with you.