I am thinking of becoming a cat walker. You know, like a dog walker, only with cats. I think there may be money in it, since as far as I can tell, it is a vocation yet untapped. When I google cat walker, I get everything from fashion runway sites to wheel-rigs for cats with disabilities but no actual businesses. Cat walker jobs turns up all sorts of requests for cat sitting/dog walking. It’s clear that according to google, dogs walk – cats sit.
Not true. Cats need stimulation. A bored cat can become neurotic, act out, or fail to thrive. With the progression toward keeping our kitties indoors, new avenues of interest must be offered. Cat walking gets kitty back outside with the sights, sounds, and scents she misses in the house.
If you’re like me, and your husband hasn’t built that catio yet, the best way to get your cats out safely is with harness and leash. Not all cats like the harness, and some will fall over as if paralyzed.
Starting them early in life is the best way to assure a positive harness experience, but adult cats can come to like the harness as well, because it means adventure and maybe a bite of fresh grass.
Walking the cat is not like walking the dog. It tends to be passive, an empathetic bond between walker and walkee. In fact, most of cat walking is spent not walking at all, but standing while kitty eats grass, rolls in the dust, or sniffs the breeze.
Sometimes they get moving, and then the walker must be ready to run (still not walking), navigating over logs and through bushes. I warn you, the cat takes the low road, and you have to be quick not to get the leash in a tangle. I fondly remember “walks” in the woods with Dirty Harry. He would speed down paths known only to small creatures, leaving us bumbling along behind.
Note: Though cat walking is only now coming into style, the idea has been around for decades. In the 60’s, folksinger Norma Tanega, cut her hit song, Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog. Listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPZVrmJ2HH8. Some people say it was about drugs, but we know she was a cat-woman ahead of the times.
For real information on teaching your cat to walk on a leash, visit the ASPCA’s step-by–step guide: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/cat-behavior/teaching-your-cat-walk-leash