Should I Walk My Indoor Cat Outside? Pros & Cons

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  • Post last modified:August 8, 2022
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In the past, you would have never seen a cat being walked on a leash. It was strange and unheard of. But now, more and more people are doing it.

Even so, should you walk your indoor cat outside, and if so, why?

Yes, you should walk your indoor cat outside. It is a great way for your cat to explore and exercise. It improves both mental and physical health. 

You’d be surprised at how much your cat may enjoy it. But there are many things to consider when you want to walk your indoor cat outside. 

You must take the necessary precautions and understand that there are still some risk factors when participating in this activity.


Why I should walk my indoor cat outside (5 pros)

There are many benefits to your indoor cat walking outside. Your cat may love it, and you may enjoy it just as much as him. Here are some of the benefits if you choose to walk your cat:

  • Allows for exploration.
  • Great exercise.
  • Improves your cat’s mental health.
  • Provides a bonding experience.
  • Can reduce bad behavior.

Pro #1: Allows for exploration

Cats are naturally curious animals. They love finding new places and sniffing out new things or creatures. 

When you bring a new item home, they are usually the first to sniff it out to get familiar with it. Your cat will love the new places and seeing everything they have to offer.

If your cat is one to sit at the window and stare out at the environment, they will surely enjoy a stroll through your neighborhood.

Pro #2: Great exercise

As much as cats can experience exercise at home, sometimes it is nice to participate in a new activity. 

Walking your cat can give them the exercise they need, and your cat can experience new things!

When you walk your cat, the exercise will wear them down. This is great to deter any boredom they may have at home. 

You may even see less of them attacking your feet in the middle of the night.

Pro #3: Improves your cat’s mental health

Walking and exercise can improve your cat’s mental health. Your cat will release any stress and anxiety, allowing it to calm down. 

Walking gets your cat’s circulation, increasing oxygen to the rest of its body. 

If you have a shy cat, this could help your pet become more outgoing and better at acclimating to new environments.

Pro #4: Provides a bonding experience

Walking with your cat provides a great bonding experience between the two of you. 

One benefit is that your cat will grow to trust you even more as you show that you will protect it outside the home.

The other benefit is that you can begin to trust your cat more and more as well. 

Your relationship will grow stronger, and you will be able to experience more activities together as that trust and relationship build up.

Pro #5: Can reduce bad behavior

Bad behavior in any type of pet often stems from boredom. Dogs dig in the hard because they have extra energy. 

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Cats may chew up and destroy things within your home because they are bored. 

By walking them, you expend more energy so they don’t destroy things within the home. They will be too tired, and they’ll spend the time at home relaxing instead.


Why I should not walk my indoor cat outside (4 cons)

Although there are many benefits to walking your cat outside, there can be some downfalls. 

It can be a little risky depending on where you walk; you need to be aware of this. Here are some reasons why you shouldn’t walk your indoor cat outside:

  • It can expose your cat to outside dangers.
  • It could make your cat anxious.
  • Your cat may not enjoy it.
  • It could be a health risk.

Con #1: It can expose your cat to outside dangers

When you go for a walk, your cat could be exposed to things that it normally isn’t when staying inside. These things include the following:

  • Ticks and parasites.
  • Worm infections.
  • Viruses, contagious diseases.
  • Other cats.
  • Predators like large birds.
  • Dogs that are being walked at the same time.
  • Unleashed pets or strays.

Be aware of these possibilities before going on a walk. 

If you know of neighbors that may not restrain their dogs, either walk your cat when the dogs are put up or try to stay away from that area.

Con #2: It could make your cat anxious

Any new environment can cause your cat to be more anxious than calm. Your cat may freak out or not take its first walk well. 

You can always carry it in a carrier to start so your cat can slowly get acclimated, but be aware that some cats become very afraid during their walks.

Con #3: Your cat may not enjoy it

Some cats just don’t enjoy it. You may have taken your cat out a few times or did all the steps to get it used to walks, but they just don’t seem into it.

If this is the case, just don’t take your cat for a walk or stick with a carrier.

Con #4: Could be a health risk

Walking can help improve your cat’s health in many ways, but it can also be a health risk. 

This all depends on your location and what your cat may get in contact with. If there are a lot of stray cats, this increases your cat’s risk of catching something.

Ticks and other parasites can cause a risk to your cat. Be careful what your cats get into, whether it is trash or another animal’s feces. 

Any of these can expose it to these types of parasites.


What to do when walking your cat

If you decide to try walking your indoor cat outside, you want to take all the necessary precautions so that the experience is pleasant and not a train wreck.

You don’t just want to go outside and start walking your cat. This could cause your cat to panic. Here is what you need to do:

  • Use a leash.
  • Bring treats.
  • Let your cat lead.
  • Be patient with your cat.
  • Allow exploration.

Use a leash 

Always use a leash when you take your cat for a walk. Things may frighten your cat, and you want to protect it. You won’t be able to do this if your cat takes off. 

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Your cat could get lost, which is always a terrible experience when you don’t know where your pet is.

Bring treats

Bringing treats with you on your walk will help your cat associate walking with a good experience: eating yummy treats. 

This is the perfect way to help train your cat and reward it for doing the right things.

Let your cat lead

Let your cat lead during the walk. This will help calm your pet because it will have some sense of control while walking. 

Unlike dogs, where you have to show them you are the master, cats are more like partners.

Be patient with your cat

Patience is the best tool you have when taking your cat out.

This is all new to them, and you don’t want to rush them into it. Be mentally prepared that you and your cat may not have a successful trip the first few times. 

Let your cat get used to everything like the leash, collar, the routine, being outside, all of it.

Allow exploration

Your cat is naturally curious. Let them fulfill their curiosity by allowing them to explore the terrain. 

Yes, they shouldn’t go places, but let them sniff around and check things out. This may mean a slow walk initially, but they’re just getting used to their new environment.


What to avoid when walking your cat

When you decide to take your cat for a walk, there are many things you want to avoid. Avoiding these things can prevent your cat from getting injured or adding to their anxiety.

These are what you should avoid:

  • Don’t leave your cat unattended.
  • Don’t take your cat until you have trained him.
  • Avoid routes with dogs or other pets.

Don’t leave your cat unattended

Any time you leave your cat unattended, you increase the risk of other animals attacking your pet. 

This can be dangerous, and you don’t want your cat to become severely injured. You should stay with your cat at all times.

Don’t take your cat until you have trained him

Ensure that you train your cat first before you go for a walk through the neighborhood. They need to be trained on a collar and a leash. 

If you have a backyard, practice walking your cat there first. If not, you can practice walking them in your home or apartment.

Training them at home can reduce the risk of your cat panicking to the new environment and routine. It can also make it easier for you to avoid dragging your cat around by its leash.

Avoid routes with dogs and other pets

When you first go on walks, avoid areas with other pets, especially dogs. You don’t want your cat to get scared, and you want to avoid other owners walking their pets. 

Plan a safe route with little interaction with other animals for the best results.


Conclusion

It is always good to try this at least once or twice to see if your cat will enjoy walking outside. 

You never know, your cat may love seeing all the sights, or it could just want to stay home and relax. You won’t know until you try!