In the past few weeks, my cat Foxy has developed an early morning habit of sitting patiently by the front door, waiting for my boyfriend or me to leave for work, so she can explore the hallway of our apartment building. Obviously, since she’s my BFF and I want to take her everywhere, this behavior got me thinking: Should I take my cat on walks? Would she even like walking around outside? And—most importantly—how cool would we look strutting down the street together?
I reached out to Dr. David Dilmore, DVM at Banfield Pet Hospital, for his expertise on the subject, and thank Bastet (an Egyptian lioness warrior goddess) I did, because otherwise I probably would’ve rushed the process. Here’s everything I learned about walking your cat.
A curious cat doesn’t make your Lewis and Clark: Dr. Dilmore informed me that begging to be let out into the hallway doesn’t necessarily mean Foxy is gunning for a walk in the urban wilderness. Cats that try escaping out the door or lounging by windows may very well be intrigued by the outdoors, but you won’t really know how they’ll fare until you harness train.
Harness training 101: First thing to know about harness training: It. Is. A. Process. In part because collars aren’t really an option. “Given cats can be incredibly flexible and agile, a collar may increase the likelihood of an escape,” warns Dr. Dilmore.