New Pet Owner
Walk Your New Cat Right Into Your Life
Did you know that there are approximately 3.2 million cats in animal shelters across the U.S.?1 These cats are in need of a good home year round, but summer is considered peak "kitten season" - a time of year when there is an influx of homeless and newborn cats.2 In fact, June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month to help these cats in need find their fur-ever family.
Welcoming a new kitten or cat to your home comes with new responsibilities - feeding, keeping them up to date on their vaccinations and veterinary care, grooming and exercise. Both indoor and outdoor cats need ample exercise to stay happy and healthy, and taking your cat for a walk is a great way to get your kitten moving
Walks aren't just for dogs! In addition to adding some exercise into their routine, walking your cat around your neighborhood or yard can help them get acclimated to their new home by allowing them to explore the outdoors and learn their boundaries with the safety of having you nearby.
Try these tips to walk your cat:
- Purchase a harness specially made for cats. Be sure to size it appropriately for your cat and have them try it on at home so they get used to wearing it.
- Before you venture outdoors, make sure your cat has the protection they need. This includes being up-to-date on their vaccinations, protected by flea and tick medicines and registered with a pet recovery service.
- Start small by walking your cat around your home, backyard or small enclosed area close to your home. This will give your cat time to acclimate gradually.
- Map out your walk. Stick to low-traffic areas to avoid sudden, loud noises or new animals that may frighten your cat.
Remember, walking on a leash isn't for every cat. If your cat looks uncomfortable or refuses to walk, return home, take the leash and harness off, and consider one of these alternative exercises:
- Build extra steps into meal time. Carry your cat far away from their bowl and watch them run to their food.
- Play to their instinct to hunt, invest in a motorized mouse toy for them to chase, or join in the fun by using a feather on a string or laser pointer!
Walk or play, try one of these tips to unleash a love of exercise in your cat and spend special bonding time with your new fur baby. Not sure what's best for your new kitty? Consult your veterinarian about which activities are best for your cat.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Pet Statistics. Available at: https://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics.
- ASPCA. This "Adopt a Shelter Cat Month", You Can Make A Difference for Felines in Need. Available https://www.aspca.org/news/adopt-shelter-cat-month-you-can-make-difference-felines-need.