taking a cat on walks

(23 Posts)
evuscha Thu 18-Apr-13 17:52:37

Dear cat experts,

I have my first cat for a couple of weeks now, she is a home cat as I live near busy roads, but I thought I would order a harness/lead and take her out on that so that she can enjoy a bit of outside world. But it has been pointed out to me by the breeder that once she experiences the outside, she might not be so happy having to stay indoors most of the time. What do you think, does anybody have any experience? Would it be better not to expose her to it so that she doesnt get frustrated? I only want the best for her, since she is home all day while I am at work, I want her to have as much fun as possible when I am with her.

Thanks for any views and advice!

Don't even think about it. Cats really can't be taken for walks. They don't understand the concept. I'm sure she's fine as an indoor cat (as long as she's neutered of course - otherwise she'll go psycho). Perhaps she would like a friend?

evuscha Thu 18-Apr-13 19:18:45

sad I just feel guilty for her having to stay in a small place indoor all her life. (she will be neutered in a month or so) A friend would be great but again my flat is really small (plus I need to see first how I manage with just 1 cat, financially and otherwise)

deliasmithy Thu 18-Apr-13 19:50:28

Ive known a couple of people to take their cats for a walk successfully for many years.

I bought a harness. Put my then kitten in it. After several weeks of trying to get her used to it, I admitted defeat.
So I instead built an enclosure at twenty times the price.

Bilbobagginstummy Thu 18-Apr-13 19:53:16

I bought my cat a harness.

He didn't like it. I tried to put it on him: one wriggle and Iwas left with an empty harness, and a cat that instant transported itself to the furthest corner of the house.

Can you not let it out at all, even supervised?

cozietoesie Thu 18-Apr-13 20:03:36

I've never managed to get one of mine into a collar let alone a lead.

On the other hand, I was sitting on the stoop a few months ago and I saw a massive great Bengal strutting along on a lead with his owner and looking as if he owned the street. (In fact a passing dog saw him and shrank back against its owner.)

I don't know evuscha. My instinct is to keep her inside all the time if she's to be a housecat.

Do you have a garden? Can you cat-proof it? There are many types of fencing available. Otherwise I'd probably just keep her in. My eldest two are 8 and have never been out. They are about to, because we have moved somewhere safer, but until now they haven't been bothered at all. Plenty of cat toys and lots of play when you get home from work should keep her entertained.

evuscha Thu 18-Apr-13 20:19:39

I live in a flat and we have a small garden (for all of us living in the house) but from there she could escape out quite easily if she wanted and either get stolen (she is gorgeous) or run over. So my thought was to have her in there on the lead, long enough for her to walk around but still keep her secure. Also if I go to visit my parents, they have a huge garden but also live near a busy road (plus it is an unknow territory for her) so it would be also better to keep her safe. So far I had a net put inside the window so that I can keep it open for her when I´m in and she seems to like it. But perhaps it is better to keep her as a house cat only... Thank you for your thoughts everyone.

Speaking of cat toys (another cat novice question smile....I got her a laser pointing thingy today and she absolutely loved chasing it around but is now still looking for it (bless her) and feeling confused as she didnt really catch it. Does anybody have a good way how to play with it so the cats are not frustrated afterwards? Otherwise it is pretty good since it lets her run faster than I ever can (if she is meant to chase me with toys around) smile)

cozietoesie Thu 18-Apr-13 20:19:54

evuscha

I read some work by an animal psychologist many moons ago in which they said that an indoor cat can be perfectly psychologically balanced as long as they've not been outdoors. By that, I think the psychologist meant that they hadn't been a general outdoors-going cat rather than just seeing outside - but I leave the thought with you. Certainly my own indoor cars have always been happy as long as they've had plenty of companionship, room and activity.

smile

evuscha Thu 18-Apr-13 20:26:05

Thank you cozietoesie smile will think about it and just see what feels right for her.

cozietoesie Thu 18-Apr-13 20:28:49

Good idea. You should see pretty quickly if she's bored and lots of play and attention when you get home should help enormously. (Cats sleep a lot when you're not around which is quite natural for them, particularly if they're older.) Is she a young cat?

smile

evuscha Thu 18-Apr-13 20:40:39

Yes, she is 7 months, still a playful active kitten really smile Right now she seems happy enough indoors (as she never knew anything else), but I only had outdoor cats when I was younger so I knew they could keep busy outside while this one just has the 1-bed flat to explore.

evuscha Thu 18-Apr-13 20:47:03

(just uploaded a couple of her pictures)

cozietoesie Thu 18-Apr-13 20:48:28

Just a baby then. smile

I don't know evuscha. I work from home - so am around most of the day - and have an old roomy house with lots of stairs for galloping up and down. (Sadly it also has an old roomy roof with lots of leaks!) That's a different situation from you.

I've seen so many threads recently of cats getting into bad trouble outside that I would be conflicted about the whole thing though if I thought about letting a cat go out.

I can't advise, I'm afraid.

marzipanned Thu 18-Apr-13 21:41:05

I think for the time being keep her inside, and see if she seems upset or distressed by it. Does she have a tower or similar to play with? Even if the flat isn't very big, are there lots of different levels within rooms (dressers, tables, etc) that she can climb up on and explore? My friends' cat had this sort of fabric tunnel that couldn't have cost much that their cat seemed to spend hours on end running back and forth through.

As for the laser pointy thing - I don't have one of those but simple cat is forever chasing beams of light and getting terribly confused when they evade his paws. But, being simple cat, he quickly forgets all about it. If you think it's upsetting her, maybe introduce a piece of string that she can physically catch and attack?

(By the way I can't see her pictures!)

evuscha Thu 18-Apr-13 22:24:03

She has loads of cat toys, I think I may be spoiling her a bit with these and then she ends up playing with cartoon boxes and other simple stuff anyway :D She has a big (all the way to the ceiling) cat tree/tower, a tunnel, bunch of fluffy mice, the ball in a tunnel (not impressed by that so far) and the laser pointer...and the cat-proofed window that I open for her when I´m home. I also play with her with a toy on a string which she likes but as the laser thingy is much faster, it looks like she gets much better run and chase with it than when she chases me. But then she is all confused by it. Then again I suppose cats chase flies etc. and also cannot catch them so it´s similar....
Strange that you cannot see the pics as I see them in my profile and I set it on public...is there anything else I have to do to publish it? (first time posting something on MN for me!)

cozietoesie Thu 18-Apr-13 22:32:15

Sometimes it takes a short while for the site to catch up with changes.

Why are you going to wait a month or so before neutering her? She should have been done at 5 months really. She will be coming into season now and then will be absolutely desperate to get out. I would get it done as soon a you possibly can.

sashh Fri 19-Apr-13 05:40:08

With kittens you have a window of a few weeks in which they will accept pretty much anything. After that they will only accept things that they experienced as kittens.

When I was fostering we were asked to do things like put a collar on, used various different litter in the tray, expose the kitten to adults, children, people of different races etc etc.

So if your kitty has a had a harness on before, then go for it.

If it will be a new experience please please fillm it for us.

marzipanned Fri 19-Apr-13 07:50:12

Ah well with all those toys I am sure she is having a lovely time inside. I think I'd be tempted to go with the breeder's advice on this one.

Bonbonchance Sun 21-Apr-13 17:48:05

My cat has always been indoor, vet reassured me that many cats are quite happy indoors and don't want the freedom to come & go outside. Cat has loads of toys, scratch post, window ledges to climb on, various hidey holes she's discovered.

I'm in a flat too, I've tried taking her outside (to brush her when it's sunny!) she generally stays beside me, sniffs about for a bit, eats some grass & runs back up the stairs. I tried one day taking her out in her cat box and seeing what she did, I knew her well enough by then that she wouldn't run away. She's generally very nervous outside though. Quite often she scratches at the front door and goes for a few minutes sniff around the stairs, (again I can trust her now not to climb anywhere or anything). She's just not really interested in outside!

VenusRising Tue 23-Apr-13 09:48:33

My indoor cat gets to go outside on a harness. She's surprisingly timid when she's outside, and I carry her a lot!
I got a collar for her when she was fifteen weeks, and she likes it.

She also likes baths, and running water.

I'd second that advice to get her neutered pronto. Don't wait for six months, just book her in early next week, before she goes into her first heat.

She'll be crazed to get out and find a mate if you leave her any longer.

You sound like a very good cat 'owner', and I'd just keep playing with her with the laser thingy. We have a few fishing rod feathers toys and our girl loves chasing up and down, and jumping to catch these: might be more satisfying for yours too, as they catch them and have a crunchy chew.

akaWisey Fri 26-Apr-13 16:58:46

my two were indoors cats for their first 2 or so years.

When I moved last year to a smaller house with a secure back garden I left the back door open and they ventured out. Nowadays they look outside the back door, sniff the air, might go out to watch the birds for a few minutes then they come back in of their own accord. I never go out and leave them outside. They don't seem bothered by being indoors at all and they seem able to take or leave going outside.

They LOVE being with me though grin

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