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Walking your cat

Cats love walks, almost as much as do dogs. They simply are not as demonstrative about walking. Nor can they anticipate as well as dogs. However it is extremely common for cats to follow their servants a little way from home: then the cat reaches the edge of their home territory, and stops following.

So if you want to take your cat for walks, you need to understand a little bit about them! There are two instincts in all cats which will enable you to get them to walk with you:

You can use these two behaviours to get your cat used to walking with you.

What you will need

Cars

Cats do not mind cars - with, of course, a few exceptions. But if your cat's only experience of the car is being taken to the vet - then you have been giving aversion therapy! We may take our cats in a carrier to our car, but we invariably let them out, to explore the car. Clearly, if you are on your own, you have to be careful here. But if you have a passenger, then they can restrain the cat should it look like it wants to interfere with safe driving. If your cat's experience of the car is that it goes to interesting places, then the cat will soon accept the car as part of its lair, and will enjoy car trips. There is more about this - Cats and Cars - or how to get pussy liking the car!

How to start walking your cat

So,if you can, take your cat in the car to some nice place that the cat will like. Put the harness on, with a long lead. Put the cat in the bag you have chosen, and start walking. After some time your cat will probably want to get out. Let it. Walk away from it. You need a long lead because at this stage it is a game of nerves - yours against the cat's. Who is going to get worried first - you or the cat? If the lead is long enough, your cat will eventually realise they are in a strange place and their owner is leaving them and they will start to follow.

Never try and catch your cat - they will see you are following them, so will go off and explore. You are there calling them, so they feel quite safe! This is why you need the right terrain: a grassy field with tall grass and a well defined path is ideal.

Dogs

Cats and dogs often get on very well. But to achieve this, you need to get the dog first, then the kitten. Kittens have a strong need to make friends - with you, with an older cat, with your dog. An older cat has very little use for a puppy! Yes, given time, the puppy will be tolerated, but the bond is unlikely to occur.

Different breeds of cats have different needs when it comes to such bonding. To get the best results - cats of the Siamese group are best. But of course, the results also depend on the dog! There are some stories, with photos, of such bonds - Stories and anecdotes from cat owners and walkers


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Page first published Sunday the 24th of January, 2016.
Last modified: Wed, 20 Apr 2016 14:52:02 BST
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