Am I abusing my kitty?

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

♛ Arwen- ♛

Purred: Thu May 8, '14 8:59am PST 
Ever since I got Arwen a few months ago, I had this idea in my head that I would teach her to walk on a leash and I would take her outside on walks with me. I live in a VERY tiny apartment (calling it a 3 room is being generous) and she's young and full of energy. I thought this would be a nice outlet for her. She's a WILD ball of energy and spends most of the day ripping around the apartment and diving off furniture. Anyways, since the first day I brought her home I put her in a harness and I fed her in it and played with her while she wore it. Then I attached the leash and let her drag it around. Then I used her wet food on a spoon to teach her to follow me. After she was good inside I started just sitting with her on the front porch and so on... Now she is 9 months old and LOVES her walkies. When I pull out her harness she comes running over to me and sticks her own head into it. I walk her over to a small nature reserve we have and let her pounce on bugs, dig in dirt, climb logs and rocks and chirp at birds and squirrels. I live in a really busy city, and even this nature area has a ton of people, even on a quiet day so I get a lot of comments and questions when we're out walking and the most resent one was from a lady who insisted that I was being cruel for walking Arwen. She said cats don't like being outside and she would prefer it if I left her at home...What? I'll admit sometimes near the end of our walk, she gets tired and starts sitting down a lot. But...Arwen is spoiled so I carry her. She likes sitting on my shoulder and observing things from up there. I never pull on her leash hard, if alything I give her a small little tug to get her to follow along (and she does, I taught her that way) she responds to her name and comes when I ask, I don't EVER let her eat anything off the ground or chew on plants, she's up to date on all her shots and vaccinations, she's on a heartworm preventative and flea and tick stuff, and I check her over after every walk. When we get home I check her feet and wipe them off. I even add some coconut oil to her pads to keep them nice and soft. I don't feel like taking her on walks is hurting her in anyway. We both love the walks and look forward to them and I feel closer to her when we spend all this time together, but this lady made me paranoid. I don't want to do anything to hurt her. I'm careful with her and I don't take her out in bad weather (anything under 55 degrees, it hasn't gotten hot yet though)if it's raining and wet we wait for it to dry up and stuff...idk, is this an okay thing to be doing with her?


Stella- Felinis--Queen- of All Kitties!
Purred: Thu May 8, '14 11:30am PST 
It's Stella. Although all cats have their own personalities, there is a secret to cat training. You can pretty much train a cat to do ANYTHING in the first 6-9 mos of their lives. You trained your kitty to do something that cats generally don't like, and she enjoys it enough to encourage you to take her out. You seem to be taking a very generous amount of care with her, and you are aware of the dangers to her. Tell that lady to go sit on it and twirl, as they used to say! shock

The only problem that I can see is that Arwen is not spayed yet? That might attract male cats and start fights. [Are you the same Arwen who is getting fixed soon?] Once she has had her surgery and recovered, she should be fine. Generally, you don't even have to worry too much about heat or cold, except possibly frostbite on paws. Cleaning her paws after each trip is a good idea.

It all sounds wonderful. Our person wanted to train us to walk on leashes, but she could not get a leash that her crippled hands could open and close easily and we got freaked out by it. So now we are 8 & 7 and untrained. So giant purrs to you! wave


Knead softly &- carry a big purr
Purred: Thu May 8, '14 11:53am PST 
Ignore that person. Looks to me like you are doing everything possible to ensure Arwen's safety & happiness. If she was unhappy, you would know it! I have 4 cats, Tigger loves to walkie. Maizy freaks out to be outside, so she stays inside & enjoys the window. You know if the cat is not a happy kitty. I would make sure that she is microchipped, and that when you do go out that she also has a collar with ID tags for added safety. I know she is spayed, because I saw you post about that in another area. What kitty wouldn't love to be able to do those things outside, with the added safety of you being there to carry her back. I am not an advocate of letting cats loose outside, (I TNR also, so I have seen so many kitties needing a home) but I think a well trained kitty can enjoy that time with her human! Tigger walks on his leash in our fenced back yard, because our neighbor just opens the front door & lets her dog out loose, so I fear for Tigger's safety if I walked him in front. So next time if this lady says anything, just say "ok thank you" and continue your time with Arwen. She is a lucky girl!


♛ Arwen- ♛

Purred: Thu May 8, '14 5:08pm PST 
Thank you guys! She is not yet spayed, but I am very careful not to let her out when she's showing signs of being in heat. I don't think we're going to run into any male cats on our walks...At least I hope not! She is scheduled to be spayed May 26th and she will be micro chipped at that time, so it's not much of a wait anymore. She also does wear a collar with tags on them. I was just worried that maybe I was somehow hurting her by taking her out or something, but she seems happy on her walks! She walks up to people for pets, she's fine with all the dogs on the trail, though I'm extra vigilant and scoop her up and out of harms way before they can get close. A lot of time I say "Careful, I have a cat" to the owner before they get to us, so they know to be on guard.

Maybe I shouldn't let her out until she is spayed...I don't want any tom cats around...but I never see any on the crowded nature trails.

Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Fri May 9, '14 9:00am PST 
When you get Arwen microchipped, be sure to register the chip with your contact information! Many people mistakenly believe that simply putting a microchip into a pet is all that's needed and somehow the microchip is associated with the contact info. Until you register the microchip with your contact information, the microchip is useless shrug

Depending on the microchip company, registering may be a separate one time fee. There may be yearly subscription fees for added services but the basic service is almost always free but check with the company to be sure.

Ignore that other lady. Some cats enjoy going on walks. It is not cruel to a cat to take it out for walks. It may be unusual in your area but no reason to be told that what you are doing is abuse.

A pet stroller is another option to take your cat outside.

Arthur (Miss- You!- '93-'09)

Bucket of Fuzz

Purred: Fri May 9, '14 2:00pm PST 
The person who said it's cruel to take your kitty for walks is crazy. Of course, she'd be right if Arwen were terrified and you were dragging her around by a leash against her will, but since she's enjoying them there's absolutely nothing wrong with taking her out.

Arthur loved going for walks, too. Near the end of his life when his health was declining, our walks became especially important because they seemed to stimulate his appetite and keep him mobile in ways that nothing else could. It also made for special quality time that we were able to spend together before he was gone.

It sounds like you're taking all necessary steps to make sure that Arwen stays safe. I say, as long as you're both enjoying your walks, keep it up! way to go

♛ Arwen- ♛

Purred: Thu May 29, '14 8:33am PST 
Thank you guys!

Arwen was spayed two days ago! She is doing very well, healing up, eating, drinking, and using her litter box! She has not been out in close to two months due to bad weather (rain) and now her spay. As soon as she's all healed up we will be back to going for walks! I can't wait, I even got her a new, more comfortable leash and harness set. happy dance


World's Best- Kitten- Socializer
Purred: Thu May 29, '14 11:28am PST 
Here's the deal. No one knows your cat better than you do. If you and Arwen are content with your arrangement, then it's no one else's business. I have a harness and leash and my mom takes me on walks around the neighborhood, on campus, and sometimes to PetCo to let me watch the birds. She's very good at reading my body language and she knows when I'm done. Just because it looks funny to some people doesn't mean it's bad and it certainly doesn't make it abuse.