Walking our cat at Skihist Provincial Park
#rvlife #travel #catwalking
Cat walking seems to have taken over the internet these days - or maybe that’s just what the algorithms have decided to feed me (Mel) lately. But seriously, the novelty of seeing a cat walking on a leash never ceases to amaze and entertain people. Seeing Benny walk on his leash for a whole 30 minutes at Skihist Provincial Park this year was both incredible and hilarious for us. He absolutely loved walking the trail, stopping to roll in the dirt, and sniffing things - we think he found wildcat scat <insert grossed out horrified look here>
Is walking a cat weird?
Yes. But who cares? It can be an amazing way for cats to get much needed stimulation and exercise. We started walking Benny in our enclosed backyard when he was 6 years old. It took him a long time to get comfortable in that space - the entire summer in fact - but once he figured out that the cedar hedge was the most amazing thing to sniff it became part of his daily routine.
I know, sniffing around a backyard is hardly the same as walking down the street on a leash. Some cats might be comfortable enough to do that. Benny, however, is not. It’s taking him this summer to be comfortable being in spaces that aren’t his backyard. Currently, he’s more of a forest walker where there are tall trees and canopy sheltering him. You see, cats often feel too exposed and vulnerable in wide open spaces. For those open areas, we carry Benny in his backpack so he can feel safer.
Taking to the trails has always been on his terms, though. We bring him in the backpack and offer him to get out several times by way of putting the backpack on the ground. If he feels like walking he’ll get out and continue up the trail - how he knows to stay on the trail is beyond us, but we are thankful he does. Sometimes he gets out, and sometimes he won’t.
If he isn’t comfortable for some reason - sometimes it just takes another person in the distance - then we don’t force him because we know it would traumatize him, damage the trust he has built with us, and he will not just ‘get used to it’. Forcing him to do something he doesn’t want to would also greatly increase the chance that he would panic, potentially slip out of his harness, and take off.
We know he’s gone as far as he wants to when he stops and makes a certain face. Usually his ears will turn back and he looks like he’s unsure about moving forward and will sometimes turn back. At this point we put the backpack on the ground again and he’ll go right to it. He knows it is his safe space.
As we continue to train Benny to walk on a leash we will post more photos, videos, and blogs about his progress. For information on how to leash train a cat, we recommend visiting the adventure cats website: adventurecats.org
Until next time, keep on living the life you’ve imagined!
Mel, Jay & Benny