Cats were designed for the outdoors. They are agile, quiet, and armed with claws and fangs that are very effective at taking down prey. I truly believe that going on adventures and taking cats outdoors is one of the richest ways to enrich their lives. However, not all cats are cut for the outdoors, and forcing them outside or doing it at a pace that's not right for your cat can be detrimental to their well-being.
The first question that I need to ask you is, why do you want to walk your cat on a leash? Why do you want to take your cat on adventures?
Correct answers are:
- To enrich their lives
- Because they need to lose way
- To help them burn some energy
- So that they don't spend too much time alone at home
Incorrect answers are:
- I don't want to be alone
- Adventure cats look great in pictures
- I've seen others do it
- To save money on a cat sitter
The reason we take our cat outdoors and on adventures always has to have our cat at the center of it. Walking a cat on a leash and taking your cat on adventures will make things more difficult for you. If you are not ready to turn around and go home at any given moment, probably you are taking your cat on adventures for the wrong reasons.
What Do You Need to Go On Adventures With a Cat
Find the Best Cat Harness
To find the best harness for your cat adventure needs you need to consider a few things:
- Your cat's size and weight
- The activity level of your cat - will they be running, climbing, or just strolling?
- How safe do you need the harness to be
The best way to decide what harness you need for your cat is to understand the type of cat harnesses and what are they good for.
Get a Long Leash
To walk a cat you need a long leash. Cats get distracted easily and a long leash will give them the room they need to explore while keeping them safe.
A short leash will only frustrate them and you.
The ideal leash length to walk a cat is around 10 feet, but some cats are good with as little as 6 and some will appreciate getting as much as 14 or 16ft.
Get Your Cat Comfortable in the Car
Particularly if you live in a city, you might have to get a car. Make sure your cat is comfortable in their carrier before you set off on your adventure. If they haven't been in a while, introduce them to it gradually over a few days so they can get used to it again.
Take the carrier out and put it in different rooms of the house, letting your cat explore it and become familiar with it again. Put some treats inside so they associate the carrier with good things.
Once they are comfortable with the carrier, you need to get them used to ride by car. Start by taking them on short car rides around the block, gradually increasing the length of the trip as they get more comfortable. If your cat seems nervous or stressed, take a break and try again another day.
The great outdoors await you and your adventure cat! Just make sure to start slow, use the right gear, and be prepared for anything.
More on adventuring by car with your cat in this video below:
Can I Take My Cat on Adventures?
Most cats will love being outdoors but some will take more time than others to get used to it. Be patient and eventually, you and your cat will be able to adventure together!
What are some of the things you need to consider when taking your cat on an adventure?
Is Your Cat Curious
Cats that are very curious by nature will likely take to adventuring much quicker than a more timid cat.
You can tell if your cat is naturally curious if they like to explore their environment, follow you around or watch you from high places.
If your cat is more timid, don't worry! With a little patience and training, they can adventure with the best of them.
Is Your Cat Fascinated by the Outside
Some cats are just fascinated by the outdoors, they will stare through the window for hours mesmerized by all the sights and sounds.
Some cats will even door dash, making a break for it the second you open the door. If your cat is one of these outdoor-obsessed cats, they will likely like adventuring with you.
Is Your Cat Energetic
Some cats are extremely energetic, they will need an outlet for all that energy. If your cat is always running and climbing, asking you to play with them and they never seem to get tired, then they are probably an adventure cat in the making!
Take the Adventure Cat Personality Test
I created an adventure cat test, is your cat ready for adventures?
How to Leash Train a Cat?
Training a cat can be divided in 3 main steps: harness acclimatation, leash walking indoors and slow transition to the outdoors.
Introduce the Cat Harness
Put the harness near places where your cat hangs out. This is going to impregnate the harness with their smell giving it some familiarity.
One day your cat is active and willing to play, put the harnesson your cat while they are eating or distracted in some other way.
Let them wear it around the house for a little while so they can get used to it.
Start Leash Walking Indoors
Once the cat is used to the presence of the harness and wearing without a leash, you can consider attachin a leash.
When you first put the leash on your cat, they might just stop moving or on the other end of the expectrum, they might try to run away.
Just let them move at their pace and follow their lead. Try to use food and toys to distract them along the way. If they seem stressed or frustrated, take a break and try again another day.
Go Outdoors in Quiet Places
The great outdoors await you and your adventure cat! Just make sure to start slow, use the right gear and be prepared for anything.
It's important when you first go out that you choose a place with not too many people or animals around, as this can be overwhelming for your cat.
Once they get used to being outdoors, you can adventure anywhere!
Consider checking this video about leash training your cat for more tips and insights:
Tips to Take Cat on Adventures
Some final tips to help your cat be comfortable outdoors:
Help them Feel Safe
Help your cat feel safe by always taking into account their comfort level and never pushing them too far outside their comfort zone.
Bring along some of your cat's favorite things like toys, blankets or treats to help them feel comfortable in new environments.
For particularly scary cats, you can use a cat backpack or a carrieras a hiding spot so they can have a safe place to retreat to if they get overwhelmed.
Prioritize their Wellbeing
Remember that you are taking outdoors for their enjoyment and wellbeing. If your cat is not enjoying themselves, then it's time to go home. Understanding their body language will help you identify when your cat has had enough.
If their tail is low, their ears are down and their whiskers forward, or if they are trying to hide, then it's time to end the adventure for the day.
Start Short and Sweet
Keep your adventures short and sweet. Start with short walks and gradually increase the length of the trip as they get more comfortable. If your cat gets overwhelmed and develops a trauma then it might be difficult to get them to try again.
Stay Wild, Stay Safe, See You Outdoors!
Albert & Mia