HomeHuman to cat relationshipThe RSPCA say that cats on leads are a bad idea

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The RSPCA say that cats on leads are a bad idea — 6 Comments

  1. My dumped declawed cat likes going out on a lead, and stroller too! Can you imagine what would happen to her if I let her out on her own, without claws?

  2. Here’s the Bugster at the local outdoor mall, early morning when nothing is open and few folks are out walking….they all love to see him! When we started this journey, it was maybe 3 or 4 blocks in the vehicle…adding distance slowly…when I added a walk to the ride he began settling right away in the vehicle. The leash never seemed to bother him. He was a year old when we got him, previous human partner had died…so perhaps he’d been on leash before.

    • He looks superb. Handsome and relaxed. The photo is worth a thousand words of counter-argument to the RSPCA’s statement. Thanks Heather.

  3. As usual, blanket statements are seldom true. Each of us has different circumstances and very different cats.

    I introduced my semi feral cat to a halter and leash when I first adopted her 8 years ago. She cried to go out, and it was a way to allow her “safe freedom”. Luckily, she took to it right away after some practice in the house. I’d never done this with any previous cats who’d been indoor/outdoor, on 5 acres in Hawaii. But now I was in California suburb.

    Intuitively, I knew that a regular dog halter would be easy for her to slip out of, and maybe even uncomfortable. So, I bought a cotton blend, reversible halter with Velcro snaps, on EBay. I also decided to get a solid color, so I could write my ID information on it with indelible black ink. I also got a RED leash, in case she got away from me, it would be easy to spot, since she blends in with nature.

    At first, we went out on the front porch and sidewalk to see how she did. Then, out in the fenced back yard. I began to drop the leash, so she could wander around the yard. She enjoyed her freedom, under my watchful eye.

    We’ve moved several times since then, each situation being different. The last place was a mobile home park, with open green belts. I allowed her off leash, and she stayed pretty close. When she started traveling farther, I would join her, sometimes taking hold of the leash.

    One time she chased a cat, and her halter came off. I was fearful that she might get hit by a car or hurt in the cat fight. After a few minutes of not seeing her, I returned to the chair where I used to sit. She was waiting for me!

    Now, we live in a house with a fenced back yard, and we have the same routine. Sometimes I walk her in the front, but keep hold of the leash. She mostly walks along beside me, like a dog. If she needs re-direction, I say “this way”, with a slight tug, and she responds.

    Sometimes she just sits next to me on the front porch, watching kids go by on bikes or dogs being walked. This is her first exposure to kids, and she’s adjusting pretty well.

    She has jumped the fence twice, and was gone for over an hour. Once I located her in the neighbor’s yard, and once she returned on her own, waiting for me, under my chair.

    She always wants out, but my limit is twice a day, so after some meowing, she gives up. If I had my own house, I’d modify the fence so she couldn’t get out.

    I’d never take her to a busy place or even the peaceful countryside where people hike and walk their dogs. It’s too risky, and I won’t take the chance of losing her.

    In our case, the halter and leash allows her “safe freedom”, but I realize that isn’t a guarantee of safety. But confining a cat who really wants to go out, can present other issues caused by stress. We know that stress can trigger serious health issues over time, so walking a cat on a leash may prevent this.

  4. I’ve can get cats to walk on a leash, but they don’t like it. I did have one cat become crazy when restricted at all, and when I leashed him (especially when he was healing from something) he was either so averse to it that he’d just fall over and lose interest in living, or he’d try to explore as if he wasn’t wearing a harness. If he wanted he could always get out of it anyway. Instead I develop an especially close relationship with mine whereby they do what I tell them with no leash. I know the leash bothers them. I do walk two of mine off leash down the street to a park, we play or just lay together on the grass then walk home. It’s not ideal for their safety in case something weird happens (which a leash wouldn’t help anyway), and they wouldn’t enjoy it any other way. If a dog chases them they’re better off being able to run and hide, too.

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