A Walk On The Wild Side

The ben­e­fits of tak­ing your cat for a walk

Modern Cat - - Contents - BY MIESHELLE NAGELSCHNEIDER

Why you should take your cat for a walk and how to get started.

Walk­ing a cat on a leash? As a cat owner, you’ve prob­a­bly heard of this phe­nom­e­non by now. To some it may seem ab­surd, but to oth­ers, ex­plor­ing the great out­doors with their leashed fe­line is a nor­mal part of their daily lives. And it turns out there are some very good rea­sons to con­sider it. Cats usu­ally do quite well liv­ing in­side our homes and never set­ting a paw out­side, but if you think about it, the cat is not de­signed to be stuck in “cap­tiv­ity.” Our cats’ wild an­ces­tors lived out­doors for thou­sands of years, ex­plor­ing and hunt­ing—but there were also many dan­gers they en­coun­tered that our in­side cats will never ex­pe­ri­ence. Let­ting our do­mes­ti­cated cats run amok through­out the neigh­bour­hood un­su­per­vised can pro­vide ex­tra ex­er­cise and en­rich­ment, but be­cause of se­ri­ous out­door haz­ards, I do not rec­om­mend it. In­stead, I pro­mote keep­ing cats safely in­side to help them live health­ier and longer lives. Yet there is still an oc­ca­sional twinge of guilt that many cat own­ers feel for not let­ting their cat out­side to ex­pe­ri­ence all that na­ture has to of­fer. This is where walk­ing a cat on a leash comes in. It may not be suit­able for cer­tain cats, but for many, walk­ing out­side on a leash is a great way to pro­vide the en­rich­ment that only out­side can pro­vide, while at the same time keep­ing your cat out of harm’s way.

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