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Should you take your cat on a walk? 4 things to consider before making your decision

Photo by Nil Ozkan for The Circular

We all know that dogs need to be taken on walks regularly. But what about cats? Our naturally curious friends spend hours staring out of the window, their eyes filled with wonder at the world beyond. I’ve always believed that our indoor cats deserve a taste of the outdoors too.

There are some conflicting opinions about taking indoor cats on a walk. Some advise against it while others think it’s great. Both sides have good points but overall, it depends on the cat and the owner. That’s why it’s important to do your own research and decide what’s best for you and your cat.

So here are 4 things you should consider before deciding if you should take your cat on a walk.

1- It’s not for every cat

Photo by Nil Ozkan for The Circular

The first thing you should consider is your cat’s personality. All cats are different so while some may love walking around nature with a leash on, for some it’s their worst nightmare.

Being in a completely new environment while also being on a leash can make some cats feel highly unsafe and stressed. You should first think about your cat’s personality to understand if they would be into it or not.

Your cat’s well-being and happiness should always come first. It would be animal cruelty to walk your cat if they are showing signs of distress. So it’s very important that you don’t push your cat if they don’t like it. Remember: cats don’t need to be walked, so if your cat doesn’t want it, just let it go. Causing your cat stress is the last thing you want.

2- Proper preparation is essential 

You need to be well prepared for your walks to go smoothly. It’s important to invest in good gear and leash train your cat before ever introducing them to the outdoors. This process might take a while but it’s crucial for helping your cat adjust to walking on a leash. Fortunately, you can find many helpful videos about leash training on YouTube. You can also look into clicker training.

Choosing the right location for your walks is equally important. Look for safe environments that your cat would enjoy exploring. You must also prepare a bag for your walks with essentials such as cat food, treats, toys, a carrier box, and a spare leash.

Walking your cat is not something you can go into blindly. You need to take the time to do thorough research and prepare as much as possible.

Photo by Nil Ozkan for The Circular

3- You need to be patient… like really patient

Cats are unpredictable creatures. You need to constantly supervise them during your walks. Seriously, you cannot take your eyes off of them, they’re worse than a toddler.

One moment they’re innocently sitting next to you, and the next, they’re attempting to climb a rock or chase after a dog. You need to be patient with them and go with the flow.

You may encounter some dangers during your walks such as aggressive dogs, sharp objects, or food your cat shouldn’t eat. Your indoor cat might not be experienced with outdoors enough to recognize these dangers. So, you should always be on the lookout.

It’s also important to note that when you’re walking a cat, you’re not really walking them, they’re walking you. So you should follow their lead and occasionally guide them in the right direction.

This can require a lot of patience as cats are very curious. They may constantly stop to sniff things, change their direction, or attempt to start fights. If this sounds like a fun time to you, then perfect! If you think this would drive you mad then it’s probably best to reconsider.

4- It’s addictive

They say that once you start walking your cat, you cannot stop and I can confirm that! It’s quite addictive, not only for you but also for your cat.

For most indoor cats, once they get a taste of the outdoors, they will insist on exploring it every chance they get.

So, your cat might look out of the window and yell for hours if you dare not take them on a walk one day. This can get annoying as cats are quite persistent when they have their minds set on something.

Your cat might also feel stressed if they want to go on a walk and you’re not taking them. So, if you’re not prepared to walk your cat regularly, it’s best not to start at all. 

Photo by Nil Ozkan for The Circular

If you’re still up for the challenge after reading all this, it’s time to do more research, make thorough preparations, and consult your vet. Always follow your vet’s recommendations and avoid taking any actions against their advice. Make sure all of your cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date before taking them outside.

I also highly suggest watching this video by Jackson Galaxy before making your decision:

Overall, the choice is up to you and your cat (mostly your cat.) Think about your cat’s personality, wants, and needs. Then ask yourself if you’re willing to invest the time and effort required.

Although it might sound a little bit scary at first, walking your cat can be an extremely rewarding experience. It’s a great way to bond with your cat while exploring new places together. So if you’ve decided that this is right for you and your cat, enjoy yourselves and remember to stay safe!

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