Celebrate National Walk Your Pet Month--With Your Cat!
January 8, 2013
Celebrate National Walk Your Pet Month—with your cat!
When it comes to pets, going for walks tends to be reserved for dogs, but this January cat experts are encouraging people to try taking their feline friends out with them during National Walk Your Pet Month.
However, prior to taking any outdoor adventure, owners should visit their veterinarian to discuss taking their cats outdoors and ensure their cats are healthy, up to date on immunizations, and on proper preventives to ward off fleas, ticks, and heartworm. Once the veterinarian gives the go-ahead, there are plenty of fun things owners and their cats can do outdoors.
The CATalyst Council, a national initiative comprised of animal health and welfare organizations working on behalf of cats, offers the following list outlining a few of the many options cat owners have for safely taking their cats outside:
· Go for a walk. While many people may think that dogs are the only domesticated animals that enjoy a tethered stroll outdoors with their owners, many cats also appreciate taking a walk. Getting the proper equipment is necessary prior to your first excursion, however. A good harness and leash are mandatory. While most cats already have a collar and ID tag, frequently cat collars are designed with a break-away feature that releases the clasp of the collar. You’ll need a secure harness that ensures your cat doesn’t run away if it gets spooked on its great adventure.
· Take a stroll. Another option is a pet stroller, which is an enclosed carrier on wheels that is pushed much like a baby stroller. Either way, the fresh air is beneficial for both you and your cat. And even if you don't foray into the great outdoors, in addition to a collar and ID tag, ALL cats should have permanent identification with a microchip. So don’t be afraid to try – just be prepared.
· Enjoy the outdoors from indoors. Many cat owners have found that their cats love their screened-in porches and will sit and watch the birds for hours while lounging on the most comfortable perches. Some shelters have even added “cat runs” to their cat adoption areas where cats can access safe outdoor areas. At home, an owner might want to think about enclosing a deck or outdoor patio to allow cats to experience the natural world. This will provide hours of enjoyment without the worry that the cats will get out or that other animals will get in. Some owners have created a landing ledge for their cats where a shelf provides a perfect lounging area to enjoy an open window.
Cat owners can be very creative and often come up with their own unique ways to get outside with their cats. However, it is important that they first check with their veterinarian to be sure their outdoor idea is safe for both them and their cats, that their cats are protected against parasites like ticks and fleas and that, if the outdoor adventure entails driving, their cats are properly secured in a carrier so that the owners and cats arrive at their destination safely. Also, be aware that extreme temperatures affect cats just as they do other pets and people, so keep that in mind while spending time outdoors.
Many cats love the occasional trip outside. If your cats seem curious about the world outside their windows and you have the ability to supervise them and ensure their safety while outdoors, give it a shot! You and your cats will benefit.