6 Winter Tips for People Who Love to Walk Their Cats
It turns out long walks on the leash aren’t just for dogs after all—some cats love it too!
Once that winter weather rolls in you might find your kitty a little less inclined to hit the sidewalk unless you take proper precautions first. Here are some tips to getting your cat out on the leash this winter season.
Make sure she’s still game.
Cats aren’t traditionally known for their love of snow (or leashes, for that matter), so follow your cat’s cue when it comes to outdoor time in the winter. If she isn’t having it, never attempt to force her out the door. Trust us, she’ll find plenty of ways to entertain herself indoors on her own.
Ditch the winter coat, she has her own.
Cats grow a thicker coat in the winter, making it unnecessary to force them into an often unwelcome sweater. In fact, doing so might cause your cat to overheat even if it is pretty nippy outside. It’s never a good idea to try and force your cat into clothing, especially if she’s not interested in wearing it. Animals were not designed to wear clothes, no matter how cute they may look in them.
Clean her paws.
Sidewalks are often covered in salts and other chemicals once the snow and ice start rolling. While helpful for humans, it’s hazardous to animals. Bring along a dry towel to wipe off his paws while out on the walk and make sure to clean them once you’re home, too, to prevent your cat from ingesting the chemicals through licks.
Avoid the booties.
Do NOT put booties on your cat. They’re a popular product for dogs, but cats use their claws as a line of defense against threats. If you cover them up, you’re leaving your pet defenseless, scared and uncomfortable. Don’t kid yourself; you’re not fast enough to stop a stray animal that might decide to attack and your cat will need those claws to keep it at bay until you can get her away.
Watch his skin.
Cold, dry air can create problems for your cat’s skin so it’s important to keep that in mind when engaging in walks during the winter. Make sure your home is humidified during the season and that you have a dry towel or bed for your cat to take refuge in once you’ve made it home. If you see any sign of problems, stop walking outdoors with your cat and consult a veterinarian ASAP.
Get a proper leash.
Cats are excellent escape artists and it’s essential to use a harness rather than your typical leash and collar when walking one. It needs to be snug enough to prevent a getaway but not so tight your cat is uncomfortable. This is especially true during the winter. Cats are domesticated animals and aren’t safe outside, and this is especially true during the winter months when the temperatures dip so low they could freeze to death.
Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible.