If I take my cat for a walk on a lead or cat stroller, am I damaging the relationship between us? Do they feel humiliated or disrespected by this?

There is absolutely no way that the relationship between a domestic cat and their human caretaker can be damaged if a cat is on a lead or in a cat stroller provided the owner acts responsibly at all times.

Stroller

Cat stroller

Cat Stroller. Photo by Michael

I have done both. I’ve taken my cat out on a lead and I quite often take him out in a cat stroller. I can’t honestly say that my cat is overjoyed in being put in a cat stroller or on a lead but he warms to it. The cat stroller is very effective in getting him outside seeing new things. This stimulates the brain. When he comes home he settles right back into his normal lifestyle. There are no signs whatsoever of the relationship being damaged. If anything it enhances the relationship because I am with him more.

In fact, I don’t see how it could damage the relationship unless of course the cat is very fearful of being put into a cat stroller and finds the whole experience terrifying. If this happens and if the owner forces her cat into the stroller then that may be an experience for the cat which weakens the relationship. However, I have never heard of this happening and I don’t think it would happen. Some cats actually like being pushed around in a cat stroller.

The worst case situation would be if a cat dislikes the experience to a certain extent. Also, it’s important that the owner does not take the stroller into areas which are likely to frighten the cat but that’s common sense.

Lead

Simon refuses to act like a dog

Simon refuses to act like a dog

As for taking your cat out on a lead, this too can be problematic for a cat because cats are not dogs and they do not follow their owner like a dog. If you put a cat in a harness they sometimes reacts with the ‘kitten response’ which means they become floppy and silly and rollover. However, cats can be trained to walk on a lead or with a harness. In my view, it can never be that successful but, in answer to the question in the title, it does not harm the relationship.

There is one caveat and that is if a cat on a lead is walked on a journey which is terrifying for him or her and/or he becomes injured for whatever reason and the owner insists on it happening again thereafter. This may weaken the relationship between human and cat. This scenario is highly unlikely.

Humiliated

Cats and emotions

What UK owners think their cats can feel emotionally

As for a cat feeling disrespected or humiliated under these circumstances; cats don’t, in my opinion, feel these emotions. They don’t have the emotional ability to be disrespected or humiliated and therefore the answer to that question is a firm no in my view.

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Comments

If I take my cat for a walk on a lead or cat stroller, am I damaging the relationship between us? Do they feel humiliated or disrespected by this? — 2 Comments

  1. I’m still grieving the recent loss of my 9yr. old cat, Mitzy. She became hyper thyroid in the last 6 months, and although this can be treated with the medication, Methimazole, she wasn’t a good candidate for this. Her reaction was to become hyper, running around my room, and jumping on things she never had before. There were other circumstances that I won’t go into, but I made the difficult decision to euthanize her.

    She was a feral, born to a stray mom who’d been left behind by her guardians. I fed both of them in the garage. I was renting a room from a person who had two territorial cats, so I couldn’t bring them in.

    Before I moved, I surrendered the mom cat to the shelter, and she was adopted in 2 weeks. After awhile, I was able to capture her kitten, and take her to the shelter where I worked. She was very fearful of everyone but me, and after a month in the holding cage, they decided that she was “unadoptable” and would be euthanized. I couldn’t allow this to happen, so I begged my new landlady to let me rescue her and keep her in my room.

    But, she wanted to be outside, as she was used to. So, I decided to try a halter and leash, though I had no experience with this. I bought a custom fitted cloth halter with Velcro closures at the neck and chest, along with a RED leash. I thought if she got away from me that the leash would be helpful in spotting her behind a bush.

    I wrote my phone number and street name, along with the word “chipped” on the halter. I was thinking ahead to the possibility that she might get loose. I was trying to be prepared.

    She accepted the halter, and I think part of the reason was that it was soft. I practiced with her a few times inside, before taking her out in the yard. She seemed to realize that the halter meant “outside” time.

    Over the next years, I moved many times, and she outgrew the first halter. I allowed her to free roam with the halter and leash on, while I supervised. She happily wandered around the yard, chasing birds and playing with a toy bird I hung from the tree. At times we did walk in the neighborhood, but I mostly allowed her to walk without me holding the leash.

    She understood commands like “no” “stop” “this way” “let’s go” and usually responded. A few times she started to cross the street, and I followed her to grab the leash.

    I’m so glad that I was able to give her some freedom, in a safe way. I cared for her as I would have a child, and gave her many choices of places to rest in my room. Actually my room was set up more for her than for me.

    I miss her so much. My life isn’t the same without her. I’m just thankful that she didn’t get lost, or hit by a car. I was able to give her a loving end to her journey.

    It was because of her that I became a Cat Advocate, and have been able to help other cat guardians. I’ll continue to do that through my Facebook page, and by answering questions that people have.

  2. I personally take my cats for a walk but without a lead or stroller. We walk as equal pedestrians, they know where we’re going (to the park at the end of the block) and it’s an enriching experience. If anything it strengthens and deepens our bond and affection for each other. They are visibly uplifted, energized, awakened, intellectually and emotionally. It’s kind of like how we feel when we have a good day at school or on a fun outing (like a trip somewhere outside our normal daily routine). They really appreciate it, even though not much happened to our eyes. Anything pleasantly new to them will do this. Michaels right though, if there’s anything fear inducing or just too stimulating, it can reflect badly on your relationship if they associate you with it. Chances are they would too. If they credit you with bringing joy and security to their lives, they can blame you for the bad stuff too.

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