Walking for a domestic cat: benefit or harm?
Veterinarians still can not come to a consensus on whether domestic cats need walks on the street. Some argue that pets can do without them, while others, on the contrary, believe that animals need new experiences. How to walk a cat and whether to do it at all?
How useful is walking?
The cat walking, of course, has certain advantages. First of all, walks in the fresh air have a beneficial effect on the health of pets: they are rarely obese and in great shape - they are more hardy and physically strong animals. In addition, an appropriate lifestyle helps preserve the pet’s natural instincts.
What are the walks?
Walking cats can be of two types: free and accompanied by the owner.
- Free walk is called an independent pet walk. For example, a cat comes out in the morning and returns home in the evening. Usually this is how animals live in a village or in a summer cottage;
- Walking on a leash, accompanied by the owner. This is a safer type of walk, because the cat is always under supervision. However, the leash can cause additional stress to the pet. The fact is that cats, unlike dogs, perceive it as a limiter of freedom. At the moment of danger, a frightened animal does not have the opportunity to run away and hide, which makes him nervous.
Hazards on a walk:
When deciding whether to walk a cat or not, it is worth considering the dangers that a pet may face.
- Other animals
This category includes not only aggressive stray dogs, but also other cats. They can be carriers of genital infections. Unwanted contact will help avoid pet sterilization.
Unfortunately, a freely walking cat can easily fall under the wheels of a car even in the courtyard of the house. Therefore, special attention should be paid to choosing a place for walking a pet.
The biggest risk of walking for cats is a different kind of disease: from viruses and ectoparasites to poisoning with household chemicals and poisons. In part, walking can be made safer if timely vaccination is carried out and the pet is carefully treated for ticks and fleas. However, it is not possible to completely protect a freely walking cat, for example, from poisoning with rat poison.
Outsiders also pose a danger to pets. If the cat is thoroughbred or has a unique color, it can be stolen.
The rules for walking cats will help make the walk safer and more enjoyable for both the owner and the pet. If you follow them, you can avoid many problems:
- Install a chip. A pet with a chip is much more likely to return home if it is lost;
- Addresser on the collar. An alternative option to the chip may be an addressee with a pet nickname and your phone number;
- Choose a harness. If you plan to walk the cat on a leash, carefully study the question of choosing the right model. A simple collar will not work, because, unlike dogs, cats have weak neck muscles;
- Explore the area. Of course, the urban environment is not the best place for a free-range cat. Together with your pet you can go to the park or the countryside. The main thing is that there are no other animals nearby, for example, dogs, and cars that could scare him. An ideal platform for free walking is the fenced yard of a private house in the countryside. The cat will not feel discomfort, but it will always be safe.
- Observe quarantine. Weakened or recovering animals, as well as kittens and pregnant cats, must not be allowed to go outside. If the pet is not sterilized, experts do not recommend walking during estrus.
- Accustom yourself to the street gradually. The first walk should not be long, and it is advisable to spend it in a quiet secluded place. It is important to keep the cat in your arms. Time after time, the walking time is increased. When the pet will feel more confident, it can be lowered to the ground.
Is it possible to walk in the winter?
Some owners are interested in the question of whether it is possible to walk a cat in winter. Members of the family who have long hair and thick undercoat (for example, Siberian Longhair, Maine Coon or Norwegian Forest) can easily explore the snowy courtyard. They feel great at temperatures up to –10° С. But short-haired pets in the cold is still better not to let out.
There are a number of breeds that walks are not only not needed, but even contraindicated. This is most decorative cats: for example, sphinxes, bambino or munchkin. They are too tender for harsh environmental conditions.
Thank you for your attention!