Walking an indoor cat outside might be a good idea if your cat enjoys it; however, for some pets, this may be something that causes more harm than good.
Introduction to Should I Walk My Indoor Cat Outside?
Cats make great pets thanks to their high level of independence at the same time as having a great need for affection. One of the best things about keeping a kitty is that, unlike their canine counterparts, they do not need regular walking. However, some puss parents like the idea of putting their cat on a leash and going for a walk.
But is this OK? Most cats will be allowed to explore the back garden and the local area and return home when they are ready. But in some cases, this is not possible either due to living in an inappropriate location or the owner’s discomfort at allowing their pet out alone.
Some people decide to walk their indoor cat outdoor – but will this work? In this article, we will find out.
Should I Walk My Indoor Cat Outside?
The choice to walk your indoor cat outside is a very personal one. Whether your cat enjoys the experience of being walked outside will very much depend on their personality. Some cats love the idea and will happily hop into a harness ready to explore the world on their daily walk. In contrast, others may recoil in horror at the idea and whilst you may think your cat would look terribly cute walking around the park with you, if she won’t enjoy it, it isn’t worth the stress it will cause to her.
One of the most important considerations is that to be successful, you will need to train your cat to use their harness and leash, and this can take some time. Furthermore, if your cat is resistant to the training, it can prove utterly fruitless. Again, this will large come down to their personality.
If your cat is used to being inside, taking her out could pose potential risks.
What Are The Risks Of Taking an Indoor Cat Outdoors?
There are a lot of reasons why owners of indoor cats are largely reluctant to walk their cat outdoors, and many of them are warranted. Whilst the ultimate decision of whether to walk your cat outdoors rests with you, it is important to be aware of some of the risk involved in this. This will allow you to make a more informed choice.
Many people believe that taking their indoor cat outdoors can stop them from feeling bored, and whilst this may be the case, it could do him more harm than good. Being outside is an overwhelming thing for indoor cats and isn’t always the best option. Rather, you might consider finding more things to entertain your cat inside your home. Aside from toys, you might also think about getting another cat to solve boredom issues. But this should only be done if your existing pet would take kindly to their new housemate.
If you start taking your cat out on walks and he enjoys this, you could be making a rod for your own. Some cats will find that they enjoy this so much that they want more of it. This might result in unwanted behaviours such as running out of the door before you can catch him or meowing at the door to go out. It is important to remember that if you decide to take him for a walk, you are going to need to consistent with this.
There are many potential dangers to your cat, and this applies to both indoor and outdoor cats, but cats who have spent the majority of their lives inside may be more sensitive to these. For example, there are many physical dangers such as cars, whilst you would have your pet on a leash, there is always the possibility of him getting away from you and running out into open traffic without realising the dangers.
Furthermore, there are many stress factors which could easily overwhelm an outdoor cat. The noises, sights and more importantly, smells that your cat will see for the first time are incredible. What we deem to be mundane, day to day stimuli, your cat may find too much. This could scare her and cause her to attempt to run off or may display in behaviours after the fact.
Where scent is concerned, it is common knowledge that many animals, cats included, use scent as a way to navigate the world. At home, their scent is on everything, you might not be able to notice it, but your cat sure does. Taking him outside will expose him to various new scents that could be threatening to him.
There is a very serious risk of illness and infection in cats who go outdoors, whether their owners supervise them or not. Some of these are very serious such as feline AIDS, leukaemia and respiratory infections. Others may be less severe and easily treatable, but it is important to ensure that if you are going to take your cat out for a walk that they are fully up to date on vaccinations and are having regular health checks. If you ever notice any signs of illness, this must be checked by your vet as soon as possible.
While there are several things to think about, it isn’t all doom and gloom.
How To Take An Indoor Cat Outdoors
There may be a wealth of reasons not to take your indoor cat for an outdoor walk, and a lot of experts would suggest that you walk them in your home. But, if you are happy to weight up the risks and your cat doesn’t become stressed, it is perfectly OK to walk them outside.
That being said, the exercise should be done with caution, and you should always make sure that you are using the correct equipment.
A cat should never use a simple collar and leash combination. Not only could this cause injury through choking, but it is also far easier for your cat to escape from. If an indoor cat escaped their leash whilst in a panic, the results could be catastrophic.
Most importantly, it would help if you remembered that your cat is not a dog and should not be expected to behave in the same was as one. When you first approach your cat with their new harness and leash, this may terrify them. Where you were expecting the same excitement you might get from your dog, the reaction that your pet puss gives could differ greatly.
This is why it is extremely important to build-up to the big event. Never try to force your cat into their harness; this will only serve to put them off the idea even more. If your cat happily lets you put it on on the first attempt, great, but the likelihood of this is incredibly slim.
It is widely accepted that it takes time to encourage a cat to use a harness and leash so the training should begin with a simple introduction to the equipment. Leave it around the house in a location where your cat will likely find it and allow them to interact with it in whichever way they please. They may sniff it and have a good look, or they might ignore it completely.
Once they feel a little more confident, you can start upping the ante and trying the harness on for size. Rewarding desired behaviour will help with the process, but it is crucial to keep in mind that some cats won’t ever take to the idea.
When most people think of walking their cat, they may think about going out into a public space. But as we have discussed, there are many potential risks involved with this. A good way to experiment with time outdoors for your kitty is it walk her on your private land.
Taking her out into the back yard could be more than enough for a cat whose life is predominantly spent indoors.
An indoor cat is quite common, but many owners become concerned that their precious pet will become bored or miss out on not going outdoors. While they may not want the animal to leave the house unsupervised, there is the prospect of walking them. This can be made possible, but there are several things to think about first.
There is no denying that there are several dangers involved when taking an indoor cat outside – these could be stress factors and diseases, to name a few. However, if you and your pet can comfortably overcome these, you can walk them outdoors. If you do decide to do this, you should always make sure that you follow the correct process.
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