Letting your cat enjoy the great outdoors gives them exercise, mental stimulation, and enjoyment. So why not just let your cat outside and they can come back when they are done? The biggest reason – they are not as safe when they are unsupervised outside.
Having your cat on leash gives them the exercise and mental stimulation of the outdoors, but with the added safety of owner supervision and protection. This helps protect them from some dangers listed below. It also helps take away your worry if they are coming back home to you. Training your cat to be an adventure cat gives them the wonderful opportunity to explore and is a great way to keep your cat safe outside.
Strengthens Your Bond
Taking your cat outside for walks with you helps improve your bond. It can establish a level of trust between you and your cat, with your cat knowing they can count on you to protect them.
Prevents Spread Of Disease
There are many diseases cats can get from encounters with stray cats, such as FIV, FELV, and others. There are also other diseases your cat can get from eating roadkill or wildlife, eating other animals feces, drinking from contaminated waters, and more. Having your cat on leash is such an easy way to prevent them from contracting these diseases.
Prevents Them From Getting Hit By Cars
Having your cat on a leash and not roaming free outside helps keep them out of the road. It is always sad to see a cat on the side of the road and wonder if there is someone sitting at home waiting for that kitty to come back.
Prevents Cat Fights
Cats can get into fights with other outdoor or stray cats over mates, territory, dominance, or other reasons. These fights can lead to deep bite wounds, which can become infected and need treatment. Leashing your cat prevents them from engaging with other cats you do not know and keeps them safe from fights.
Limits Wildlife Encounters
Cats are hunters by nature. But they can disrupt the ecosystem of the native wildlife species. When on leash, you can prevent your cat from hunting any wildlife, keeping not only wildlife safe, but your cat as well.
There are also wild animals that are predators to your cat. Hawks, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and more depending on your area can be a threat. With many of these, your cat doesn’t stand a chance. Walking your cat on a leash helps prevent encounters with these dangerous wildlife and protect your cat.
Stops Them From Eating Things They Shouldn’t
There are some many things outside that our cats should not eat. Not only can they eat some roadkill or animals they caught, but there are many plants that can be toxic to our cats. You may not know all the toxic plants, but if your cat is leashed, you can at least stop them from munching on things you are concerned about. Unsupervised cats can also get into garbage. This likely contains spoiled food, or toxic food to cats, and get them very sick.
Prevents Trespassing On Neighbors’ Property
Many people do not like the idea of cats on their property, hiding in their garage, under their cars, or even going to the bathroom on their lawns. When your cat is on leash, you are with them and can keep them off of people’s property.
There are also dangers associated with cats going in people’s garages or shed. There can be rat poison, antifreeze, or other deadly chemicals your cat could ingest. On leash, your cat will never be in the position to get near those things.
No Unwanted Kittens
Spaying and neutering your cat is beneficial for medical reasons, but it is especially important for outdoor cats. Unwanted pregnancies lead to increased stray cat or shelter cat populations. Also, many outdoor cats are not healthy, and this can lead to unhealthy kittens. If your cat is leashed, you can prevent it from mating with any stray cats if they are intact.
Prevents Them From Getting Lost Or Stolen
When you let your cat outside, there is a chance they could get lost and can’t find their way back home. Cats are very smart animals, and typically can find their way home from many directions. But by just letting your cat outside, you are taking the risk that they may get lost. Also, if your cat is very friendly, it may walk up to strangers, who take it home thinking it was a stray cat. When you are walking your cat, you decrease that risk greatly.
The Fear Of The Unknown
One of the hardest parts of having an outdoor cat is not knowing where they go or what may happen to them. Every time you let your cat outside unsupervised, you take the risk that they may not return. Not only that, but that you may never know what happened to them. Did they get lost and are wandering around hungry or looking for you? Or were they get attacked by a wild animal and suffered in pain? Maybe someone scooped them up and took them to their place? You may never find out, and that can be difficult to live with for some people. Walking your cat and knowing at all times where they are when they are outside with you, can bring peace of mind to you.
Many cats, but not all, may enjoy some outdoor time. Being an adventure cat is not for all cats, and you should check out our article Adventure Cat 101 to see if it is right for you and your cat. Some cats are perfectly happy inside, and should not be forced into situations they are uncomfortable in.
If your cat does enjoy the outdoors, you want to make sure they are safe. The best way to keep your cat safe outside is to keep them on a leash. This not only helps protect them from all the things mentioned above, but also gives your peace of mind that you are with them the whole time if anything unexpected does happen. Adventure cats live quite enriching lives, and it’s all thanks to the safety of leashes!
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