Kitten Loves the Great Outdoors

Proper care from her owners makes walks safe for this kitten.

By J. Veronika Kiklevich, DVM | Posted: Fri May 13 00:00:00 PDT 2005

Printer Friendly
Q. Our 8-month-old, spayed, indoor cat enjoys going outside for walks. We started out by carrying her around when we went outside for short walks. We always make sure she wears a leash and harness, just in case she leaps out of our arms.

She quickly took to the idea of walking with us and now follows along on the sidewalk, much like a dog. She has been going out with us two to three times a week and she loves it. However, we're concerned about potential health risks. We apply a prescription flea preventive on her monthly, but we still wonder if the walks are a good idea, and if there is anything else we can do to protect her. One of our main concerns is the protection of her paws. She has white paws and they tend to get dirty very easily. We can't bear the thought of her licking those little paws after a trek through the outdoors, so we've been gently washing them off after each excursion. We've seen paw boots for small dogs, and wondered if these could work for our cat.

Are we doing anything we shouldn't be, regarding the walks?

A. I commend you on your dedication! This is a great way for you and your cat to get exercise and will provide variety in her life as well. As long as you faithfully use the flea and tick preventive to protect her from getting fleas and heartworm exposure, and maintain current vaccinations, you are not putting her at risk for other diseases. Veterinarians worry most about cats allowed to roam freely and interact with other cats.

Diseases such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunosuppressive virus (FIV) are only transmitted by cat-to-cat interactions. Several parasites and other diseases are transmitted to cats from prey, either mice or birds. Continue having her wear the harness and leash to help prevent an encounter with cars and other street vehicles.

I've had clients that have tried using booties on their cat's paws for various reasons, but they were generally unsuccessful because cats simply resent this foreign material and spend most of their time rolling around, biting at their feet and trying to kick the booties off. I have found that cleaning their feet with hypoallergenic, unscented baby wipes is most effective. Keep up the good work!

Printer Friendly

 Give us your opinion on
Kitten Loves the Great Outdoors

Submit a Comment   Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

12/28/2012 2:49:38 AM

best to keep cats inside

Janet    Bethlehem, PA

2/11/2012 6:48:50 AM

good article, thanks

Anna    Ashville, AL

7/6/2010 8:50:19 AM

I like this arcticle. My cat, Kabrina, is an indoors cat. We decided when we got her and her brother that it would of course be best to keep them indoors, because of danger to cars, dogs, sickness and diseases, and predators since we live out in the country. We sit on our front porch with the cats in the mornings, and they play with each other, chase lizards and the occasional bumble bee, nap, explore, and simply just sit and observe the wild life. They are quite content, and they are very healthy (despite the fact that Brina`s sweet face earns her an extra treat sometimes, so she`s a little chubby!)

Loretta    Maynard, MA

6/15/2010 8:20:38 AM

I think cats should be indoors unless their under control on a leash. Too many cats in our area have disappeared because of the growing coyote population. Cats become part of the coyote food chain.

View Current Comments


Top Products

ADS BY GOOGLE