breaking news

Trump endorses Kemp for governor 

How to walk your cat on a leash — It may be easier than you think

Laura Moss was volunteering for a cat rescue group when one day she discovered a note and a tiny blue harness dangling beside the cage. The instructions at the local pet store where adoptions were taking place: Take the orange tabby on a walk.

Take a cat for a walk?

Much to her surprise, the skinny ginger seemed comfortable on a leash and knew right where he wanted to go, exploring aisles devoted to cat food, and later climbing atop a cat tree.

While the leashed cat left an impression on Moss, she didn’t leash-train any of her own cats for another decade – until one of her own cats, Fiver, seemingly content to see the world outside from his perch near a window, suddenly darted out the door a few years ago.

That’s when Moss, now 34, took steps, little by little, to leash-train her white cat with gray spots and started allowing Fiver explore a wooded backyard with a creek. She also started taking her cat with a big personality on walks in the neighborhood.

From there, she wondered about taking cats hiking, cats on camping trips, cats kayaking, even cat surfing (yes, really). Two years ago, Moss, a freelance writer, and her husband Cody Wellons, launched – an online resource for safely exploring the great outdoors with your feline friend. “Adventure cats” is a growing trend, challenging ideas about where a cat can go and what a cat can do.

The site already boasts 150,000 monthly visitors and growing.

Moss now has a new book, “Adventure Cats,” ($14.95; Workman Publishing) that includes step-by-step how-tos for turning your cat into an outdoorsy adventure feline which (once a cat is trained) can be easy as strapping on your backpack and grabbing your go-to litter box. The book also features a collection of sweet stories about adventure cats – like Nanakuli, the one-eyed cat who surfs in Hawaii; Jesper, the Norwegian kitty who loves trotting alongside his owner as she cross-country skis; Floyd the Lion, who scales the red rocks of Utah; and Bela, the Brooklyn kitty who loves urban exploring.

The book is filled with adorable photos of cats who shred the image that cats are lazy and aloof, content to be left alone inside.

While the best time to introduce a cat to a harness is as a kitten because they will be more accepting of it, Moss said older cats are capable of learning to walk on a leash but patience and plenty of rewards are required. Moss acknowledges not every cat is cut out, or has the desire, to leave the comfy, safe confines of a house. She even has a “Purrsonality Quiz” to help determine if your cat is a good candidate for going outdoors. (Hint: If your cat runs and hides at new situations and unfamiliar sounds and shows little interest in gazing out the window, he or she may be perfectly content indoors).

“I’ve heard about with some cats, you put a leash on, and it’s cool with it, but it is usually a gradual and deliberate process,” said Moss, who has a second cat, named Sirius Black, and a German Shepherd mix named, Maeby. (Both cats are leash-trained and venture outdoors but like to stay close to home).

In her book, Moss breaks leash training a cat down into a six-step process that begins with introducing the harness, and only by step 6 are you and the cat ready to go outside. The book is filled with many practical tips for traveling with cats – from what to do if you encounter wildlife on the trail to 14 essentials you need for every outing.

MORE: Cat weighing over 30 pounds big hit at North Carolina animal shelter

It’s worth noting walking a cat is vastly different than walking a dog. While dogs happily follow their owner’s lead, cats are more likely to take the lead. In other words, don’t expect side by side jogs or walks. A cat may see an insect and decide to hunker down for a closer look, or may want to stay put and watch a bird, or nibble on a blade of grass.

A different pace can be what makes it so special, too.

“It’s fun to watch our cats wander around the yard and see what they pay attention to,” said Moss. “Taking your cat outside is a unique way to experience nature. It makes you slow down.”

Here’s a look at some adventure cats on Instagram:

Pawsome view with a happy campurr. ⛺️😺 #AdventureCats 📷

A post shared by Adventure Cats (@adventurecatsorg) on

Put your best paw forward today. 🐾 #AdventureCats 📷 @pawsandwings

A post shared by Adventure Cats (@adventurecatsorg) on

#AdventureCats find the most meownificent views. 📷 @sukiicat

A post shared by Adventure Cats (@adventurecatsorg) on

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Living

Where is the third season of MTV’s ‘Scream’?
Where is the third season of MTV’s ‘Scream’?

MTV’s TV series “Scream” last aired an original episode almost two years ago. A third season starring former “Teen Wolf” star Tyler Posey was produced and shot last year in metro Atlanta. But it’s now July 2018 and MTV has yet to release the show or even reveal a launch date. So why has there been such...
Bruce Springsten’s Broadway show is coming to Netflix
Bruce Springsten’s Broadway show is coming to Netflix

If you couldn’t snag (or afford) a ticket to Bruce Springsteen’s lauded appearances on Broadway, at least there’s the TV version. Netflix will launch “Springsteen on Broadway” on Dec. 15, the same night as the artist’s final show of what will be a 236-performance run at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr Theatre. Springsteen&rsquo...
Georgia Archives to celebrate 100th anniversary with August dinner
Georgia Archives to celebrate 100th anniversary with August dinner

The Georgia Archives was founded in 1918 in a small room in the State Capitol. On August 18, its centennial will be celebrated at a special dinner. The event begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Georgia Archives — now at 5800 Jonesboro Road in Morrow — with a reception, tours and an exhibit on Georgia’s earliest land records. Next, those attending...
New trailer for Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ released
New trailer for Queen biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ released

Fans of Queen are getting another look at the upcoming biopic of the band that created the iconic songs “We are the Champions” and “We Will Rock You.” The second trailer released features not only those two hits, but also gives a peek into the movie version of how the band came up with the operatic sections of the film&rsquo...
YA author’s Decatur home shows off her literary flair, ‘chicken fortress’
YA author’s Decatur home shows off her literary flair, ‘chicken fortress’

When author Jackson Pearce is not writing, she enjoys tackling DIY projects, such as tiling the backsplash and installing a farmhouse-style sink in her kitchen, or building a “chicken fortress” in her Decatur backyard. “There were lots of odd challenges with this renovation, since it was bigger than anything we’d taken on before...
More Stories