My name is Rebekah Thomas. I live in Queensland, Australia.
I'm writing to tell you that your information on taking cats for walks
isn't completely accurate.
When I got my cat Girflax at 2months old from a pet store, who was about
to have him and his sisters put down because nobody wanted them.
After giving him a month to get used to the new surroundings and
new people, I started thinking about how he could spend time out doors
without getting hurt or injuring wildlife or mating or lost.
Finally I decided, cats can learn, and he's pretty young I might be able
to teach him how to walk on a lead. So I grabbed a small bit of thin rope
and tied it around his body like a harness and let him walk around the
house with it on and without me holding onto it to get used to it being
there. I also gave him a bit of tuna or ham to reward him for staying
still while I tied the make shift harness. I did this for about a week
while my parents and brothers weren't home in the evenings.
After that week I put his food away so he would be more inclined to come
towards people and look around at things. I tied another piece of rope
onto my makeshift harness and sat in the middle of the lounge room and put
food all around the lounge room, sometimes hiding a tit-bit behind a leg
of a table or chair or up on top of couches or coffee tables.
Then holding on the a piece of rope almost the length of the lounge room I
let him wander around. When he first pulled on the rope and struggled a
little bit with the annoyance of it holding him, he laid down and
submitted to the force holding him, since I would not like him to lay down
and a speeding car might fly around a corner and he wouldn't be quick
enough to move or too scared to move, I let the rope out a bit and made
him stand up. He quickly learned that laying down isn't what I wanted him
to do and he rarely sits or lays down unless I'm not moving or if he spots
another cat or dog. I did this for about 3-4 weeks. I also said commands
when I wanted him to do things, like walk with me or stop or up onto a
chair or table. (come-on!, stop!, up!)
After getting used to the rope I took him out in the back yard in my arms
at first to get him used to being outside and put him down with the rope
attached to his collar. At first he tried to run around the yard, so I
held onto his collar or onto him to get him to slow down.
Once he was calmed down enough I slowly took him around the yard as he
sniffed things and checked out things. Lots of times he would rush about
so I made sure to use a long rope until I got a sturdy yet adjustable lead
and small dog harness.
He soon became used to the outside and walked every day with me. Then I
took him out the front of the house which was basically the same deal as
out the back it just wasn't a contained area. We walked up and down the
street until he got used to it.
I have moved 3 times since then and he still loves it and is quite calm if
I take him outside.
The only annoying thing is he wants to be outside all the time and sits at
doors meowing or scratching at them, thankfully we clip his claws so he
doesn't mark the doors or windows.
We have also got a run for him out the back yard so we don't have to watch
him all the time.
We only let him out there if someone is either out side with him to make
sure he doesn't do anything silly or a neighbouring cat doesn't attack
him, and he can't fight back well enough with clipped claws. If the run is
near the window and we have a clear view of him we let him out there
I just wanted to tell people that you CAN teach a cat many things.
If I say 'up', 'come here', or 'come on', 'dinner', 'get it'. He will try
and do as I ask. Not all cats will do this but a lot of cats I have met
are capable of doing it.
Cats are smart.
I often get weird looks while walking my cat.
Oh and it's best to walk them during the day at first then alternate
between evening and day so no matter when you want to take them for walks
they will be eager.