Dr. Oakes’ Tips for Walking Your Cat

The information below was written by Dr. Tracy Oakes, DVM.
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Last updated March 10, 2016

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Kitty Holster cat harness

Kitty Holster cat harness

Now that warmer weather is here, take advantage of it by allowing your cat some safe outdoor time!

Being a constant flight risk, cats need to be secured when outdoors to prevent runaways.

One easy was to get kitty some fresh air is to simply move an enclosed large dog cage outside and allow kitty a few hours in it. 

Being a constant flight risk, cats need to be secured when outdoors to prevent runaways.

Always place cages OUT of direct sunlight, and drape a towel over half of it so kitty feels hidden and secure.

Placing the cage near some grass will allow kitty to nibble some fresh greens, which many cats crave.  Don’t worry if it causes her to vomit; lawn grass is not poisonous, but it has tiny sharp edges which can act as an irritant to some cats’ stomachs.

For an even more up close and personal outdoor experience, good for mental stimulation, stress relief, and to burn off some calories, get your kitty into a well fitted harness and take her outside!

A harness allows kitty the freedom to roam yet prevents escape.

A harness allows kitty the freedom to roam yet prevents escape.  I personally like the Kitty Holster Cat Harness (amazon.com) attached to a Guardian Gear 20-Feet Cotton Web Dog Training Lead, Black (amazon.com).

Before her first time ever outside in a harness, spend 2 – 3 days inside, getting kitty used to the new harness.  Trust me, do not skip this step!

Kitty Holster cat harness

Kitty Holster cat harness

I recommend waiting until meal time and then put a heap of food (or yummy treats) in front of kitty; while preoccupied eating, quickly slip on the harness.  Cats are supremely coordinated; a harness throws off her coordination, causing tilting, swaying, and falling over even.

Keep feeding the treats to distract your kitty from her unease about the harness, while her body and sense of balance acclimates to wearing it.  Leave the harness on several hours for 1-3 days; kitty will forget she has it on, and then you are ready to go outdoors!

When you take kitty out on a leash, DO NOT plan on taking her for a walk!!  She will actually walk you! 

When you take kitty out on a leash, DO NOT plan on taking her for a walk!!  She will actually walk you!

Just stand patiently, leash firmly in hand in case she startles and darts away.  You need to be ready to reel her back in and prevent her from getting the long leash tangled around the shrubs.  She will take 20 minutes to explore the first 5 feet outside of your door, but after 30 minutes or so your cat will become much more confident and start to even chase bugs!  Just allow kitty to explore at her own pace (SLOW!) and keep pace with her, enjoying her new found fun.

Lastly, a flea preventative WILL be needed if kitty is outdoors.  I personally use prescription-only Revolution brand monthly flea preventative in my own cats. (Editor’s note: If your pet is a patient at Bigger Road, you can order Revolution from our online pharmacy at a great price.)

Questions about your cats’ fitness, outdoor time, flea prevention, or anything else? Call or contact us online!