2001-Wed Jan 16 19:46:38 EST 2019
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Once your cat has been taught these cues, practice walking her around the house on leash. Make sure your cat listens and can perform her cues before you take her out. If you have a deck, patio or yard, take her out there first for short walks of a few minutes at a time to get her used to the sights and sounds of being outside. For some cats, this relatively safe haven may be adventure enough!
For more intrepid felines, when you are ready to go outside, take short walks around the neighborhood first. This assumes, of course, that your neighborhood is not excessively noisy, stressful or populated by other animals that might stress your cat. Take treats along to reward her for paying attention to you. No matter what your neighborhood is like, avoid encountering other animals unless your cat is used to this. Keep in mind that most dogs will get really excited at the sight of a cat and may behave in an excited or aggressive manner. This is why we teach the “up” cue — so that we can immediately pick the cat up and remove her from any dangerous situations. Some people use a pet sling for this reason so that they may scoop up their cat and place her in it and out of sight at the first sign of trouble. Other cat owners may take along a cat stroller so that they can place their cats in an enclosed carrier.
For many people, the local park is the only option for getting outside. If you take your cat to the park, be aware that other people often take their dogs to the park as well. Therefore, choose your park strategically. I would select a small park where you can see all the dogs that enter or a quiet park where there is not a lot of foot traffic. Definitely avoid large parks or trails where there are going to be a lot of people, bicycles, dogs and other distractions and/or potentially frightening activities. Before taking your cat for a walk, visit the park first yourself and get a feel for how busy and “scary” it is before bringing your cat there. If your local park or neighborhood is not suitable for walking your feline friend and you are committed to this activity, then consider driving to a more cat-friendly location in order to have your time out of doors. And finally, before taking your cat outside for walks, remember to review her vaccination status and parasite prevention needs with your veterinarian to make sure she is up to date on all and remains healthy as well as happy during her adventures!
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