A lot of cat guardians who keep their cats indoors worry that they are denying their cat access to the natural world and that this may make the cat unhappy or depressed.
This reduced access maybe because they live in environments that are not very safe for cats, they live in areas where domestic cats are not allowed to be outdoors or they have an older cat that has never experienced the outdoors so may be at risk if put out having not learned anything about the environment at a formative age.
For these cat guardians, the idea of taking their indoor cat for a walk can be an appealing way of satisfying that urge to give their cat some natural experience. So should you take an indoor cat for a walk?
We think a walk can be a very beneficial experience for an indoor cat that wants to go outside. The main benefits are that your cat will get some mental stimulation that they cannot get in the home and will therefore alleviate any potential for boredom and that they will get some exercise over and above what might be available in your home.
Can You Teach A Cat To Go For Walks?
You can teach an indoor cat or any cat to go for walks if the conditions are right. You need a cat who is curious about the outdoors. You need to train the cat to use the cat harness and leash so they are completely comfortable and at ease with the harness and then you have to train yourself to take a cat for a walk!
Taking a cat for a walk is not like taking a dog for a walk. A dog will, with some training, follow your lead and move at your pace generally in the direction you desire.
A cat is more likely to take you for a walk. They are going to pick and choose the direction of travel, the speed of travel, and the distance.
You are merely going to accompany your cat on an outdoor visit. It is highly unlikely your cat will let you dictate the walk.
Is Walking A Cat On A Leash Cruel?
If your cat has been trained to wear a harness and then trained to accept a leash, then walking a cat on a leash is not cruel.
You can teach a cat to wear a harness and accept a leash here. The method involves a slow, step by step process that does not inflict stress or discomfort on your cat.
If you force your cat to wear a harness and then try to drag it out for a walk, this is patently cruel because you are putting the cat under stress unnecessarily. The cat is likely to show signs of agitation from the start – struggling against the harness and then refusing to be led by the leash.
Likewise, if your indoor cat shows no real interest in going outside, dragging them out against their will is cruel. A cat that is interested in going outside will demonstrate a willingness by looking to visit the outdoors whenever you open a door. They are door dashers or at least curious when that fresh air comes through an open door!
Your indoor cat that shows no real interest in absconding outdoors probably should find their exercise indoors!
Is It Weird To Walk Your Cat?
If no one else is taking their cat for a walk near you then it is going to strike onlookers as unusual!
Everyone has seen dog walkers. They are a common everyday sight and because of this, it is not viewed as anything out of the ordinary or weird.
But a cat walker? Not so common. Something you might even take a second look at if you saw it in the street. From this point of view, taking a cat for a walk might be viewed as weird.
What Cat Breeds Like To Go For Walks?
All cats, given the right conditions, can be trained to go for walks. But some cat breeds seem to take to walks better than others!
The cat breeds in question, tend to be those that are well known to be easy to train. They are believed to be easy to train because they have a strong natural curiosity and are thought to be more intelligent than other cats.
The breeds that are believed to take to leash walking better than others include Siamese, Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Bengal, and Savannah cats.
How Long Should I Walk My Cat?
The easy answer to this question is that you should walk your cat for as long as they want to walk! Once they appear to get flighty, nervous or want to escape the general environment it is probably time to call the walk quits.
Whilst the cat is curious and leading you on its own adventure just follow along and see how things go. Over time your cat will probably get more used to the environments and go for longer walks – particularly if you always follow the same route