Should you take your cats for a walk?
Just like humans and other animals, it’s important to make sure cats take part in enjoyable and engaging activities. Cat walking could potentially be a good way for your cat to get the exercise and mental enrichment they need — as long as your pet is on board with the activity.
Yes, you've read it right. Experts recommend taking your cat for a walk, so long as your pet is okay with the activity and you can safely take them outdoors without causing stress or discomfort. You shouldn’t force your cat to do anything that makes them uncomfortable. If you try getting them to take a walk and they’re clearly expressing discomfort, don’t push them further.
If your cat seems open to the idea of walking, start with buying a leash and harness designed specifically for cats. Try different leashes and harnesses to see which one your kitty prefers, but make sure you get one that fits your pet properly.
Next, work on getting your pet to adapt to the harness for short periods in a safe indoor environment. Cats are known to be the best at escaping, so you better make sure they are safe and secure on their leash.
And when you’re outside, let your cat determine where they want to go — within reason. Avoid the sidewalks or places with potentially frightening traffic or animals. Instead, try walking in a secure enclosed outdoor area, such as a backyard.
The key to getting your cat to walk on a harness and leash is to start young, or if your cat is already grown, you may need to have a great deal of patience with them getting used to it.
We are also here to remind you that free-roaming cats live much shorter lives. That is why we don't recommend allowing cats to roam freely for various reasons — including dangers such as being hit by a car, fights with other cats, poisons, and the risks that cats can pose to wildlife.
If your cat won’t go for a walk, there are plenty of ways to keep your kitty enriched with physically engaging exercises at home. Buy them entertaining toys and have fun with them inside your house!