my family has 2 cats, and ive been thinking about taking one of them on walks. the problem is, i dont know if the other one will take to it. are there any problems with having one cat go outdoors and one stay always indoors? im primarily worried about diseases, if theyres ones outdoors that theyre not prepared for because theyve always been indoors. thank you, and i love your blog!!
It’s completely fine if only one cat is able to go outside on walks! You want to make sure the cat can safely walk with you on a harness, or sit comfortably in a carrier or even stroller, before taking them outside, and if one cat can and the other can’t? That’s fine! Luckily cats don’t get jealous, so there won’t be any hard feelings. If you DO get both of them outside, I still recommend only walking one at a time. Cats don’t do that group walk thing that dogs can do. You’ll need your attention on one cat at a time.
Also I’ll be using the term “outside cat” from here on. I don’t want people to misunderstand my meaning. I mean a cat that is allowed outside UNDER supervision. If a cat is allowed outside without supervision, my advice is pretty null and void. I’m talking about being outside in a catio, or on a leash, or other similar situations.
As for diseases, you’ll need to talk to your vet first about what they think will work best for your cats by means of parasite protection. Flea and tick prevention are the biggest ones. These are mandatory for cats that go outside! If the pests can find a way, they will. And if you have one cat that goes inside and outside, you’ll need to treat all cats. Just because a tick or flea isn’t biting the cat on a walk doesn’t mean they’ll jump right off. They can cling to the cat until they get home and then set up shop on any un-treated animals. And absolutely make sure that your cat is up to date on ALL vaccines. You can follow any and all of the next few recommendations, but if your cat hasn’t had their panleuk vaccine and comes across the disease outside (which is incredibly common), it’s quite possibly a death sentence. Vaccinated cats are safe, but make sure ALL cats in the household, regardless of if they go outside or not, are vaccinated.
As for communicable diseases, your biggest issues will be other cats. Typically not a huge issue, but obviously a concern. If you see any signs of a cat living in that area, try to avoid it. You will always definitely want to avoid any and all feces or urine that you come across. Don’t let the cat near it, let alone linger to sniff it or check it out. But you also just don’t want your cat interacting with other cats outside.
Also don’t let the cat drink from any standing water, or eat anything really. Sniffing grass and trees is pretty much their modus operandi when they get outside, but you need to be careful about what they’re allowed to sniff. Try to keep them away from grass that’s been treated with pesticides, or sprayed with generally anything really. It may seem like I’m saying “DON’T LET THEM STIFF GRASS” and that’s not the case at all. At least in the US, where I live, grass that has been treated has to have a little flag indicating treatment, (if you live outside the states, or in a state where this doesn’t happen, please feel free to comment so I can pass the info along).
Keep in mind that cat walks are wildly different from dog walks. Dogs need to work off extra energy and use the bathroom. Cats work off that extra energy and enjoy just taking in more stimuli around their general territory. Very rarely will cats travel outside their space, so honestly just letting them out and around the front of the house/apartment/what have you usually will suffice. Cats with higher amounts of energy to burn can definitely benefit from a longer walk, but it usually won’t mean distance-wise. So don’t be discouraged if you get your cat outside and they don’t want to take a jog around the block, instead just sniffing the potted plant outside for fifteen minutes before making the about-face back inside. It may not SEEM like much, but trust me, the bit of stimulus they get will be huge.
Hope this helps, and happy walking!