Scientist highly recommend cat owners in cities to walk their furry friends outdoors on leads

Dr David Grimm, deputy editor of Science magazine, recently wrote a post enlisting the benefits of having your feline friend on the leash


                            Scientist highly recommend cat owners in cities to walk their furry friends outdoors on leads

Pet owners should start walking their cats on leads in order to give them more "enrichment", according to scientists. A growing movement, attached with the hashtag #catwalking, aims to urge pet owners to begin taking their furry friends on walks, more so if they are cooped up indoors all day.

There has been an increase in interest to provide cats with more freedom, especially in towns and cities as most cats are stuck indoors for long periods of time, Daily Mail re reports.


 
 
 
 
 
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One adherent of this strain of thought is Dr David Grimm, deputy editor of Science magazine, and who wants others to follow his example — he has been walking his two cats on a leash for at least thirteen years.

In a post for the New York Times, the scientist said, "We just wanted our two kittens to experience more of the world than our cramped apartment in Baltimore. We need to start walking our cats. I'm not saying that you should put your cat on a leash like we did but it does keep them from running out into traffic."

Dr. Grimm added that we should "let our cats outside for thirty to sixty minutes a day to rove yards, stroll sidewalks and disappear into shrubbery. We should pick them up when they head for the street. We should whistle or clap when they begin stalking a bird. And we should have a bag of treats ready when it's time to call them back indoors."


 
 
 
 
 
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He isn't the only one. Instagram is flooded with pictures of owners taking their cats on leashes throughtrains, buses, and parks, with more than 38,261 posts on the photo-sharing platform including the hashtag #catwalking.

The movement can be traced to organizations such as Adventure Cat, a website created in 2015 dedicated to courageous domestic cats enjoying the outdoors. PetSafe UK and PetPlant are two well-known pet brands that have released their own line of cat walking products, including a range of cat harnesses and leads.

That said, some animal rights groups argue that a cat's sense of freedom is highly important and putting them on a lead steals their independence from them.


 
 
 
 
 
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Speaking to Daily Mail, an RSPCA spokeswoman said that toys and climbing frames are likely to be more beneficial if one wants to keep cats mentally stimulated.

"Some cats may be frightened by the experience of being on a lead, so we would ask all owners to take this into consideration," she said. "This is because a sense of control is very important to cats and being walked on a collar or harness prevents them from having control.

"It may be more difficult for them to be able to move away or hide from anything which might scare or worry them. If an owner feels that putting their cat on a lead would not be stressful for their pet then they should introduce them to this experience in a slow, gradual and positive manner. If any signs of distress are seen such as the cat trying to pull away or getaway then this should be stopped immediately."


 
 
 
 
 
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Cat behaviorist Anita Kelsey, however, disagrees. According to her, if a cat wants to go outside, the owner should train him or her on a lead. Speaking to The Guardian last year, she said: "If a cat is going mad being kept indoors, they're crying at the windows all the time, and you've done everything you can to bring the outside in, that's when I help people train the cats to walk on a lead."

Having said that, letting a cat outside can also help calm down some pets' "destructive behavior", Kelsey added.