Walking My Cat In The Snow
by Finn Frode
Snow or not, I want to go for my walk
Walking on the leash is not just for dogs. Cats can learn it too and this way indoor cats can enjoy some of the sensations of the outdoors without risking the traffic.
Although my wife and I live in a quiet neighbourhood, we have decided not to allow our cats to run free. The risk of accidents, fights or catching a disease is simply too great even here. We have built a cat enclosure on the verandah, which is sufficient for Milly, who has been indoor only for all of her life. Snow White however, wants more, so earlier this year we started our daily walks - see the article 'Walking an Old Cat on the Leash'.
The leash is best trained from kittenhood, but some older cats don't mind using it. Snow White was adopted from a shelter and I suspect she must have learned it with her previous human. She walks so nicely without pulling the leash and leads us around cars, bushes and other obstacles that I won't crawl under. It is however, not quite like walking a dog, because she decides where to go and for how long. Sometimes I've had to carry her back home...
Contrary to a dog, she never goes out for a pee - she much prefers her indoor litterbox for that business. No, it's more like patrolling her territory and finding out what the other cats are up to.
Where she goes changes from day to day, almost as if she rotates her three favourite routes: Behind the house, in front of the house and on the playground. She obviously considers this as her home turf, but often she extends the three basic routes further into the neighbourhood. She knows where every dog and cat lives and at the corners, where many of them pass, she meticulously adds her own mark by scratching, rubbing her cheek or rolling on the ground.
Here in Denmark it's been the coldest and snowiest November in my memory. But snow or not, most days Snow White has insisted on the daily walk. She so much enjoys her daily round of the neighbourhood and all the "news" out there that she will remind me in case I forget. Well, it's hard walking on bare paws in snow and ice, so here in the winter she doesn't stay out the usual 40 minutes, but heads for home after 10. One especially rough day she just walked three paving stones on the garden path before deciding this was too cold. 😉
But as the pictures shows she doesn't really mind the snow, although she seems a little irritated that it has blocked some of her favourite paths. A few days ago we went to the playground and found it completely blocked by snow. She then sat down and growled. I looked around to see whether she had observed another cat, which usually causes a growl like that, but there were none. Only explanation is that she growled in disappointment that the playground was closed! She still amazes me. 😉