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Bengal Cat Forums • View topic - Walking your Bengal – any tips?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:43 pm 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:47 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Hove, UK
Hi all,

I live in a first-floor flat so my Bengal will be a house-cat. The breeder suggested I get a harness so I can take her for walks and expand her world in a safe way. So I ordered a lovely bespoke harness and she is now used to wearing it for half an hour each day and doesn’t seem to mind it.

I’m interested to know the best way to start the walks, is there a better time of day you would suggest, anything that makes them feel safer when outside? What do you do if you come across a dog? Walking a cat is new to me so I’d like to be prepared so I can make it a good experience for her.

Also, I’ve been shocked by the scorn and judgement I’ve received from people when I’ve mentioned that I plan to walk my cat. You would think I had told them that I keep her in a small cage 24/7, one friend says she doesn’t even want to discuss it. I was really shocked!!

Thanks for any advice.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:13 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:23 am
Posts: 839
Location: West Sussex
You need a walking jacket, get them used to it before taking them outside.

Don't bother with the type with 2 straps as they can easily get out of them

......and don't listen to your "friend" who knows absolutely nothing about Bengals! :D

Heather


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:47 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Hove, UK
Thanks for the speedy response.

She already has a harness (made to measure) and is happy playing in it. Now she has been spayed I plan to start taking her outside in a couple of weeks.

Seriously, I was really shocked and annoyed by my friend. People just don't seem to understand that Bengals are different to regular moggies! I dont mind people being surprised but to be scornful and judgemental seems a bit much!!

For her first outing should I just see how far she wants to go outside the main door? If you come across a dog do you lift the cat up?


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:30 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:41 pm
Posts: 2367
Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
I would try taking her in more quiet areas to start off with, let her get used to being in the stairway first (my two are still scared of any echoes on the stairway, but Nala's still a bit uncertain about going down the stairs, Tigger happily runs down because he loves going to the back garden :lol: ). when she's fine with that, start with going on your street and I normally keep the routes the same when we go out, ie left turn to go up the hill to OH's parents' house; turn right to go to OH's garage where the car is parked if it's not on our street. Tigger normally prefers going in the car to walking now and will stop by any black car when he goes out the front door :roll:

I normally let Tigger judge what he wants to do if a dog comes by, I let him stay on the ground, unless it's an unleashed dog, then I pick him up because I don't know whether the dog is going to be friendly or not. Quite a lot of the owners though take their dogs to the other side of the road or go a different route if they feel it's not safe, otherwise most dogs we've come across were either scared of Tigger (but he's happy to see them) or excited to smell his scent (but Tigger's not happy). Nala's been taking baby steps and so far prefers to be carried but we let her so she gets used to the route to allow her to feel more confident (like Tigger did) before she starts walking herself.

As for your "friend's" comment, I would just ignore it. They have a particular idea about what cats do (ie roam around freely) and don't understand what it's like having a bengal. Everybody who we've been in contact with on the streets or going past their homes when they're in the garden have been interested to see the two of ours and none have been negative at all. One guy even stopped his car at the give way junction once and his friend had parked beside him. We could clearly hear him exclaim to his friend 'Was that a cat on a leash? Did you see that? A cat on a leash! That's AMAZING! A CAT ON A LEASH! HA!' before driving off :lol: Tigger wasn't fazed by it at all, just kept strolling on home like it happened everyday :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:18 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:20 pm
Posts: 768
Location: Colorado, USA
You might consider getting her used to a duffel type cat carrier, teach her to go in it on command and consider it a safe spot....and then set it out with the door open where you first explore so she can dash into it if she feels spooked. This is also a good way to avoid dogs should you encounter any unexpectedly.

Speaking of that, try and go out when you know most folks are NOT walking dogs, like middle of a work day.

Practice putting tension on the harness in the house, coaxing her forward a bit. They won't walk just like a dog, but its nice when you can guide them along a bit when needed and it allows them to get used to that leash tension. You can use treats or a wand toy as a reward for moving forward when you put on a bit of tension.

If you can bring a second person with you that would be great to keep an eye out around the corner in the beginning. Like if you are on the stairs, someone keeping an eye out down the stairs for a dog coming up, etc. At least until you know how she reacts outdoors.

Others mentioned a walking jacket...still something you might consider. I know you have a 'cat designated' harness, but you would be surprised what they can get out of when stressed. A walking jacket fits more like a shirt, and they cannot get their legs through the belly harness section.

This is usually what happens, they freak out over something that scares them and get to the end of the leash, they turn around and pull backwards against the tension, and they point their front legs forward with their flexible shoulders and use their backlegs to shove the belly harness section off, and then they are free. It seems like they couldn't do that, but those shoulders compress to almost nothing when they point their arms and wallah, it slides off. The walking jacket hugs their shoulders/chest and is almost impossible to slip out of.

Good Luck :). My crew walks sometimes on the front porch and top of the front yard, but we live on a busy corner with LOTS of dogs, so thats the extent of our adventures. I sometimes put a pen outside on the porch so they can sit in the sun and watch the people go by.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:47 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Hove, UK
Thanks for all the advice, it's really helpful!

She has one of these harnesses: http://www.mynwoodcatjackets.moonfruit.com/

I like the duffel bag idea, where did you order yours from?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:37 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 7:20 pm
Posts: 768
Location: Colorado, USA


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:27 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:51 pm
Posts: 110
Location: United Kingdom

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:54 pm 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:47 pm
Posts: 32
Location: Hove, UK
Thanks for all the advice. I will let you know how I get on.

As snow is forecast here soon I probably won't attempt to take her out for a few weeks...


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:42 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:25 am
Posts: 407
Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
I still take Millie out in the winter, albeit for a fraction of the time than in the summer and only on days when the temp is above freezing. I'm very careful about the salt on the ground though. During our summer walks, I just let her walk out the front door. but in the winter when the steps are full of salt, I carry her down and to the backyard where there is no salt on the ground.

My advice is much like the others, take it slow, let her set the pace. If you push her too fast it could hamper her progress and set you back.

Again like others, if a dog comes by, I can tell by her body language if she is scared and wants to be picked up. or if they can just pass each other. Millie hates cars though, so I pick her up no matter what. If I dont' notice one and it whizzes by, she flies into a panic and races for home.

I get very odd looks by people as well. one neighbour came out of her house one day to see if I was actually walking a cat... when they ask why, I tell them she's more like a dog than a cat, and she has to run off her energy, just like a dog... that being said, it's a great way to tire them out before bedtime!!!

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Millie & Monty



Ottawa, Canada


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:58 am 
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Bengal Cat

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:36 pm
Posts: 39
Our Bengal is turning 3, and I've had him outside on a leash almost every single day for the last 2 years.

We have a yard that's fenced in, so it was pretty easy to keep Zeuss in an enclosed area at first. The very first day he was outside, there was snow on the ground, so we knew pretty quickly that Zeuss didn't much mind the elements. He's been outside with more than a foot of snow on the ground, and he's pretty determined that the snow won't keep him from wherever he wants to go, and the fact that we have squirrels here year-round (even with snow) means we pretty much always have something to stalk/chase around the yard. (We wash his paws when we come in if we think he may have been on any salt, and he gets some extra food if it's particularly cold out. If it is under 20 degrees, we're probably staying in. Probably. )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R87Gennepm0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqmbnqI5EQE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmBG8AJijko

At night time, when there are no cars around, we'll sometimes head out for a walk around the block. When he heads out at night, his tail is straight up in the air, antenna-like, and he moves at a very brisk pace. Funny to see the difference at night as opposed to the day. If anything really spooks him, we're never that far from home, so we usually just sprint back to the yard if possible. If we've been outside for a while, or if Zeuss has had enough for a bit, he just heads back to the door, and in we go.

The 2 best benefits of walking Zeuss are the following:

1. If Zeuss sneaks outside, or bolts out when the door is open, he now stops in the middle of the yard and waits for you to come out with him. So long as you don't go running over like an idiot (which might make him keep moving), he's so used to having a human with him that he'll wait for you to catch up and start playing with him. Makes it simple to just pick him up and bring him back in.

2. Zeuss wasn't much for petting his first few years, but after a brushing became part of the outside ritual (when we come in, his jacket comes off, I put a towel on the floor, he walks over onto the towel, and I brush him for a minute or 2 before he gets off the porch into the house), he came to love the attention. Now I can just show him the brush when I'm on the couch and, provided I'm wearing pants he likes, he'll hop right into my lap for a good brushing session. I can't imagine he'd have let this happen if we didn't get him to take a brushing after the daily walks.

BTW, while on the leash, Zeuss has still managed to pull a baby bird out of a tree and catch a fieldmouse before we ever realized what was happening. Both the mouse and the bird were freed soon after, but it was quite an eye-opener each time. The bird he jumped and grabbed off a low-hanging branch, and the mouse I think was just stupid enough to try to run by Zeuss when he thought Zeuss was looking for squirrel.

We got the walking jacket from here: http://www.hdw-inc.com/walkingjackets.htm


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