Walking a cat advice and views

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RubyTiger
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Walking a cat advice and views

Post by RubyTiger » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:52 am

Sorry if I’ve posted in the wrong place.

I have rehomed a cat who has FIV and used to be able to go outside. I don’t let him out of the flat because of this and because I live next to a busy dual carriageway and people put poison out around here. When I move to a house I will build him an outdoor enclosure but for now I’m considering walking him. I was told this was cruel as it would scare him. I thought surely that only applies to cat who have never been outside before? Or ones that don’t like to? He asks to go out a lot especially at night and I feel sorry for him. So I bought him a harness and lead with in mind if he doesn’t like wearing it I simply won’t bother but he happily let me put it on and he wore it for 10 mins without complaining. Now when I’ve posted a picture of him wearing it to my friends, one who used to have a cat has called me cruel.

Surely I should let him try so I can say I’ve gave him the option so he can decide what he wants? Even if it’s just to smell the grass and scratch some trees again. I live right next to a forest. What’s your thoughts?

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fjm
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Re: Walking a cat advice and views

Post by fjm » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:55 pm

If he enjoys it and is not scared, and you are following him rather than forcing him to follow you, I cannot see how it is cruel. My concern would be that cat harnesses are not very secure, and that even if it stays on, if the leash is long enough for him to move around freely he could get quite a way up into a tree, especially if startled by a dog! I would practice a lot in safely enclosed places before risking it in the open, and consider the dangers of attacking dogs etc very carefully.

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Ruth B
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Re: Walking a cat advice and views

Post by Ruth B » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:14 pm

If he isn't fighting the harness then I think it is an excellent idea.

Like has been mentioned you need to make sure the harness is a good fit and he can't get out of it and don't use an extendable lead in case he does run off and goes up a tree. You might also want to try and find a lightweight cat carrier you could take with you, something like one of the rucksack style ones, so if something did go wrong and he ended up scared you would have a way to get him back home safely.

If the flats have a communal garden or if there is a park nearby that might be the best place to start. Of course you also need to be very careful of anywhere people walk dogs, particularly if they are in the habit of letting them off the lead.

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Re: Walking a cat advice and views

Post by booktigger » Tue Feb 06, 2018 1:16 pm

Just make sure you practice him wearing it in the house a lot before you offer him the option of outside. There are harnesses that are coat like which are more secure than the ones that just fit around the legs. How long is it till you move?

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Re: Walking a cat advice and views

Post by Sniper1 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:19 pm

It can work but bear in mind when a cat is spooked they can become very fear aggressive and may bite and scratch anyone who tries to touch them so unless your in an area safe enough for your cat to be loose in and near enough and well known by him that he would come home on his own if he did get loose I would be very wary of doing it, wearing a harness indoors and being comfortable in it is one thing being outdoors in a strange and unpredictable environment is something else entirely

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bobbys girl
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Re: Walking a cat advice and views

Post by bobbys girl » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:25 pm

You are not cruel! I would say it all depends on the cat. Our adult cats come and go as they please but I am introducing the kittens to the great outdoors very slowly. Billy is desperate to go outside and has escaped a couple of times. I have tried both of them on a harness. Billy is happy to wear it and we go for little walks around the garden - at his pace. I tried Freddie in Bobbie's old harness (the one I got him after his Op) Fred hated it and when we got outside he panicked, spun around in circles and shot back inside.

I would agree that you need the more substantial harness. Billy's harness is the lightweight one and he has some wriggle room in it. That is OK in a safe garden but not outside.

We have friends who moved to Spain some years back. Not sure where they wanted to live, they got a ferry to the North of Spain and drove down through the centre until they hit the coast. They took their cat, Cuddles with them. In the weeks before they left they got her used to a harness and travelling in the van. She was packed, in a large carrier in her own slot by the door, with the rest of their belongings and every time they stopped she was allowed out, on her lead, for a comfort break.

She was fine with the whole thing and had a happy retirement in the Sierra Nevada's, chasing lizards and snoozing under her favourite olive tree.

I will say, well done for adopting a FIV+ cat. I hope you have years happiness in each other's company.

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Re: Walking a cat advice and views

Post by RubyChaCha » Wed Feb 21, 2018 5:30 pm

It's worth giving it a try to see how it works out. But you need to consider what you'll do when (almost inevitably) the cat is scared by something - a dog, traffic, a loud noise, another cat. The cat will want to escape and will not be able to. He will probably attempt to run off and drag you with him - possibly somewhere you can't go, like under a fence or up a tree! If you try to pick him up when he's scared you risk getting scratched to bits. We walked my young Burmese cat on a lead when he was recovering from a broken leg, and all he wanted to do was race off with us panting behind him, and get under fences and explore people's gardens. If you take him to the forest he will not be able to explore it 'as a cat', he will be limited by the lead and that could be very frustrating for him.

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Re: Walking a cat advice and views

Post by Michelle » Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:19 pm

I don't think it's cruel at all, in fact you've given me an idea on how to let my cat enjoy being outdoors more and prevent him being bullied by the neighbourhood cats.

We all know that cats are very good at making their feelings known, and if your cat didn't like it I don't think you would have managed to get that harness anywhere near him! If he is happy to wear it and seems happy to go out with it, I say do it. Other people are very quick to judge, the internet is an excellent place for people to sit in judgement behind their keyboards! You know your cat better than anyone, and obviously you care for him and wouldn't do anything that would upset him, so I reckon let your cat take the lead (no pun intended!) and as long as he is happy, go and enjoy some walks with him

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bobbys girl
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Re: Walking a cat advice and views

Post by bobbys girl » Sun Mar 04, 2018 8:46 am

When I get the harness out now, Billy runs up and waits for me to put it on him, but Fred disappears! I think you can guess which one likes walkies. :lol: :lol:

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Re: Walking a cat advice and views

Post by mr_frisky » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:56 pm

MIne walk with me up the road, without harnesses. They stick close by, exploring front gardens. I have to be on hand in case there's a car or a hostile cat. I get some strange looks sometimes.

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