Okaw Veterinary Clinic

140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953

(217)253-3221

okawvetclinic.com

Yes! You can Walk your Cat

 

Dogs get to go on walks, but what about cats? Can they go outside, while being safe? They can! Take your kitty on a walk or purchase a cat enclosure so your cat can enjoy the great outdoors too.

You can take your cat outside on a special harness designed for cats. Petsafe and Lupine are two companies that make these kitty harnesses, which can be purchased at pet stores. Show you cat that the harness is something good. When you get the harness, put it next to your cat's food dish for a few days so your cat associates the harness with food.

Put the harness on your cat and give him or her treats, then take the harness off. Do this for a few days. Then put the harness on your cat and give your cat treats, and leave it on for a few minutes, then take the harness off. Do this for a few days. If your cat doesn't like the harness, please give us a call or email us for help. We can give you some more tips on helping your cat get used to the harness.

Now that your cat happily wears a harness, you can take your cat for a walk. How do you do that? Unlike dogs, most cats don't come when they are called or want to follow you. So you need to teach your cat to walk with you. Start by letting your cat wear a leash in the house. Your cat wears the leash for a few minutes and gets treats and affection. Slowly have your cat wear the leash for longer amounts of time. Now its time for a walk... around the house. At meal time, instead of feeding your cat from his or her dish, your cat is going to earn their food. Hold your cat's food dish in one hand and hold the leash in the other. Walk around the room with the cat. If he or she walks with you give pieces of food and praise your cat. If your cat is resisting the leash, stop walking and let your cat calm down, then try again. If the cat resists again, drop the leash and put the food where you normally feed your cat. Let your cat drag the leash around the house more before trying to leash walk.

Once you have walking in the house down, you can go outside. Make sure your cat has ID tags. Bring some treats or food to reward your cat. Let your cat explore the yard. Periodically give some treats. You can also throw treats to encourage the cat to walk. Start out with short walks and gradually go for longer walks.

Your cat can also get some fresh air in a cat enclosure. Cat enclosures allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors, but from the safety of a large "kitty paradise." Cat enclosures are constructed of a fence that may or may not have a top. A variety of enclosures are available for purchase. Some allow your cat to walk out to the enclosure whenever he or she wants. Other types of enclosures are separate from the house, so you take your cat out to them. You can search for enclosures on the internet. Purr...fect Fence sells a fence that can be customized for your backyard. If you are handy, you can build an enclosure of your own. Instructions can be found online. For the first several times your cat goes outside, keep an eye on him or her to see if your cat can find an escape. Put a bowl of water outside so your cat can get a drink if he or she gets too hot. Periodically check on your cat to make sure he or she is okay.