This is the first time I’ve had a cat that wasn’t allowed outside. We live near to a very busy street, where animals frequently become roadkill. The light poles often have signs about Missing Cats. And to top it off, we are close to a huge forest, where coyotes prowl and prey on small pets. As a result, I’m forced to keep the cat indoors.
The cat, of course, sees there is a big, exciting world out there, and wants to explore it. I don’t blame her. And after the first month or two of covid-19 lockdowns, restrictions and quarantines, I completely understand the desire and need to GO OUTSIDE.
As a result, we’ve come up with some creative methods of training our
dragon kitten to be able to go outside and have some adventures.
Step 1: Train kitten to wear a harness
We bought an XS sized harness back in May when she was very small. She doesn’t really like putting it on, but once it’s on she’s fine. We bought an extendable leash to attach to the harness. Of course cats are not like dogs – they don’t just walk out the door and walk along with you. It’s more like she walks us. At first we only walked around in our garden. Then we slowly introduced her to the front of the house, which has of course cars, people, and often dogs taking walks. So if you want to take your cat for a walk, know that you have to stay close, and be patient.
Step 2: Create a Cat Condo
Cats love to be outside. But sometimes I don’t have the time to take the cat out on the leash for a walk. This is where the Cat Condo comes in. I bought a big old birdcage, put some fake grass tiles in it, and added a scratching post and a basket for lounging. Result? Cat gets to hang out in the garden in a safe environment, and watch squirrels and chipmunks while enjoying the sunshine and fresh air.
Step 3: Buy astronaut backpack from Amazon
This covid purchase turned out to be the best of all. It’s called an “astronaut style” pet carrier, with a huge plastic window that lets the pet see outside clearly. It also has ventilation holes all over it. We took a few walks with the cat in the backpack and it went well. The plan is to take the cat on the daily walk to school.
Step 4: Take cat on awesome adventures
Now that she’s used to the harness, the leash, and the backpack, we put all of them together for adventure time. We just took a bike ride with the cat in the backpack. She loved it! She wasn’t crying or meowing at all.
She was also wearing the harness, so when we got to the park, we were able to take her out for a walk. She climbed all over the playground equipment, chased crickets, and had fun. And she seemed quite content during the bike ride too.
Yes yes, we will probably get a reputation in the neighbourhood as “those crazy people with the cat in the backpack”, but if it gets us out the house, gets my kid riding her bike more and hiking more, then yeah, we’re happy to be the crazy people who walk their cat!