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Leash on hiking trail?

The Birds

Savannah Super Cat
#1
Hello!
I recently became the mom of a two year old F1 male who is very dreamy and a great guy all around.
In my quest to entertain him, I'd like to take him for walks, but there's nowhere to walk him on the street outside my house. Would it be ok to take him to a local hiking trail?
I'm still getting to know his confidence level and things that make him nervous.
He seems fine on the leash and in the car, but I don't know if he's scared of street traffic.
He met a big dog today and was very curious to play with/stalk her.
He doesn't seem like he wants to run away in general.
What are the potential risks? Is there a way to ease him into this, that I haven't thought of?
Ideally I would love to take him to people's houses, if he could be comfortable and not stressed.
Thank you!
 

WitchyWoman

Admin
Staff member
#2
If he likes to walk on a leash, try taking him for short walks in the neighborhood and lengthen the walks as he acclimates. I think it's a good idea to carry a soft cat carrier in case he gets scared and tries to run away. You can put him in the carrier and carry him home if necessary. I do this with my 22 lb F1 kitten because he's strong and when he gets scared, he's difficult to control. I bought one of these when I was leash training him http://www.pettravelcenter.com/products/detail/299/71 because there's no way I can carry a 22 lb cat in a standard carrier with a shoulder strap. Alas, he hates the walking jacket and is too afraid of traffic noise, lawn mowers, et al so we walk him in a pet stroller.

Better yet is to leash train and then use a pet stroller for walks. You can take him out of the stroller when you're in an area where he is particularly comfortable. In the stroller he's safe from any animals running loose on the street or trails and will feel safer when confronted with loud noises of any kind or people he may not like. If your boy doesn't try to drag you all over the place chasing birds, squirrels, etc., you can try a trail. We have folks here who go camping/hiking with their SVs. I personally think it's too risky but it works for some folks.
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#3
Every cat is different so you will need to judge what your boy (name?) can tolerate. I've had cats do just fine walking on my quiet street, others completely freak out as soon as a car goes by. Is he an adult or still a kitten? I think taking him on a hiking trail is fine, just make sure (as with any time you take him for a walk) that his walking jacket is on super securely so that he can't get out of it if he is suddenly startled into flight. I tend to double up on the security by putting two jackets on, one over the other, with two separate leashes.

BTW, we'd love to see some (lots of) pics of him!!
 

The Birds

Savannah Super Cat
#4
Oh no, I just found this post by Marilyn Krieger:

"I do not think it's a good idea to leash train cats, so I can't help you with this. These are the reasons I'm opposed: one can not control the environment--unexpected cars, animals, people can startle and stress cats who are walked. Many times walking cats creates door darters and howlers at the windows--the cat demanding to go outside for a walk. I have many clients who are my clients because they've taken their cats on walks and the cats became impossible indoors... always demanding to go outside.
"

I have noticed this howling behavior with my previous cat, and with this guy when I tested him out on the harness the other day. It seemed like they each got over the frustration in about a half hour? I would be worried that they would become chronically upset, I wonder what the likelihood is?
 

Patti

Admin
Staff member
#6
I know many people who walk their cats, but it is true that some become obsessed with the outdoors, incessantly demanding to be let outside. For those, building an outdoor enclosure (if possible) can really help. As for becoming door darters I always recommend carrying the cat across the threshold in a carrier then letting him down once outside. A cat should never be allowed to cross the threshold on their own volition, this will only teach them that it is okay to go through the door, leash or no leash...

I'm not quite sure what you are saying Cal was upset over? Was it having the harness on, or going outside?
 

The Birds

Savannah Super Cat
#7
He was upset because he loved being outside so much. He wasn't ready to come back in. I figured if I could spend closer to a half hour or an hour it might have been enough time? I think we were only out about 20 minutes?
 

NikkiA

Site Supporter
#8
He was upset because he loved being outside so much. He wasn't ready to come back in. I figured if I could spend closer to a half hour or an hour it might have been enough time? I think we were only out about 20 minutes?
Our F5 boy, Diablo can be outside for hours. When I am gardening, doing yard work, or even shoveling snow, he comes outside on a long lead.
The only time he does not want to go outside is when it is raining, but he seems to understand that we only yo outside during daylight, and only when I am home during the day.