Can You Walk Your Cat?

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BestPawForward #CollectiveBias

As you know, we got a new kitten – Juniper – at the start of summer vacation.

cat

Her health, safety, and happiness have always been important to me – and I have discussed bonding with her at length with friends, with the rescue adoption counselors, and with our vet. I have never had a young kitten before and especially with this much intention to have her for keeps. We want her to be an indoor cat, and to have a long, safe, healthy life. Her satisfaction and happiness are important for me, especially since I work from home and I’m nearly the sole caregiver for both pets.

Purina Beyond

Juniper is five-months-old and it’s been great. She watches the outside world with fascination, but since we live in the woods, there are too many predators in our woods and even in our yard for us to let her out. I had been wondering lately if there was an easier way to take her in public, rather than stuffing her in a crate and hoping for the best. I don’t want her to associate the outside world with just fear (and the vet) but I also hadn’t known how to open her world without putting her in danger. I talked to our vet about ten things to consider before walking a cat on a harness (no collar) and got great tips.

Know your cat! Most kittens can be trained on a harness or leash. Most will appreciate it too, but if you suspect your cat has a history of trouble with the outdoors or leashes, or anything at all that might spook her, that should give you pause first.

Buy your cat a harness, but not a collar. Cats can climb in ways that dogs cat, and a standard collar could hurt your cat, while a breakaway collar could detach. Cats can find their way out of leashes in ways most dog can’t!

Start slow! Baby steps. Dogs are easier in this respect, I think, but the first time we took Juniper out on a harness and leash, she had NO idea what was happening. Her heart was pounding! We just went around the yard, and she calmed.

Expect setbacks. As a cat owner, you probably already know this!

Use treats! Kittens generally do respond to food treats, verbal praise, and affection praise. Do your harness/leash training sessions when your cat is hungry – or if your cat is like mine – that could be all day. Break treats into small pieces.

Get used to putting your harness and leash on your cat INSIDE, and make sure it’s snug and not tight. Once you put the harness on, instantly praise your cat and give him or her a treat. Continue the treats with every new step in the harness.

Once your cat seems comfortable and is walking around in the harness, THEN, step outside the door. Stay close to the front door at first, and then stay close to quieter areas. Outside noises can be so jarring at first. This takes baby steps.

Make sure your cat doesn’t pick up anything in his or her mouth. It can be dangerous.

Coax your kitty farther on each outing, continue the verbal praise and treats, and keep exploring. If it doesn’t work after some time, you can explore other alternatives like cat strollers, or outdoor, enclosed spaces for cats.

Never leave your cat unattended outside.

Juniper was found by our local animal shelter, and she was malnourished, dehydrated, and only one pound when found. They nursed her back to health, and we were lucky to adopt her. One thing I love about her is that people know we have a cat. She doesn’t run away or hide. She explores people, so it’s only natural that I felt she could safely explore the outdoors. When we first got her, I got so much advice about the proper food to feed her. I took it seriously, because her health is a priority. Since I love Stop & Shop so much as is for my family, I was so happy to find a wide range of natural and healthy pet products.

We use Purina Beyond dry and wet foods, for BOTH pets!

I love Stop & Shop for all things for us, so it makes sense to get boy dry and wet food, as well as pet toys and care items.

On Sunday, October 16th, there will be money-saving coupons on Purina Beyond products in your local Sunday newspaper. Here are a few: 1. You can get $2 off any size Beyond Dry cat food. 2. $1 off the Variety Pack of wet cat food – Buy 3, Get 1 Free. 3. You can find $2 off Any Size Beyond Dry cat food. 4. Lastly for Wet Dog Food: Buy 5, Get 1 on any Beyond Ground or In Gravy Canned Products, Buy 1, Get 1 on any Beyond Purees, $1 off Beyond Ground Entrees Variety Pack.

We use Purina Cat Chow Naturals, Beyond Natural Wet Cat Food, Beyond Purees or Beyond Natural Purees, & Purina DentaLife. We use them as *health and wellness aids, and to continue enjoying the benefits of these products.

I try to make smart decisions with Juniper because she means a lot to me. The importance of her happiness through walking outside was key for me to continue that journey. The importance of her *health and wellness maintenance is what makes me purchase selections from Purina, such as Beyond cat and dog food, and DentaLife products as well.

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Try the new Purina DentaLife with a $2 coupon available HERE!

Now, would you walk your cat outdoors? What do you do to bond with your pet?

*Not to be taken as professional veterinary advice. Please consult your veterinarian for recommendations and practices appropriate for your pet.

10 Tips For Bringing Home a New Kitten

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PerfectPortions #CollectiveBias

For us it was heavenly to finally bring home a tiny kitten after years of wanting one. I had never had a small kitten as a pet before, or ever really been around kittens. I had experienced cats and older kittens, and even feral kittens in our barn and neighborhood, but they were older and pretty self-sufficient. Nothing had ever prepared me for taking this tiny girl home.

We brought Juniper home about a month ago from a large and wonderful animal shelter in our area. She was the first kitten I saw, but I had to play it cool and look at the many others in the shelter. After all, this was kitten season. Scarlet urged me to put a deposit and hold over little Juniper, so I sent an inquiry to the front desk. A counselor came to talk to me and showed me this girl’s tiny, but impactful history. She was found at only one pound, and dehydrated and malnourished. She was nursed to health and put up for adoption with her brother when she was old enough to go home with someone. Then we walked in.

This is Juniper now:

Just last night, we slept hand in paw. She crept into bed after I crept into bed, after watching a late-night Hallmark movie (what?) when everyone had gone to bed. Juniper jumped onto the bed, circled all around me twice, and then settled in between us, with one paw firmly in my outstretched hand. That is what I most wanted. I wanted the interaction a cat brings to your life. I wanted this friend – this tidy housemate – this glorified stuffed animal that she is! And I realized last night, that I must be doing something right. We introduced her to a home with two active adults, two highly active young kids, and a dog.

She is flourishing, and importantly, so are we. I’m thinking that the fact that we have the children and the dog made it a more thoughtful process. I worked with the shelter, the shelter worked with me, and the same thing happened with the vet at Juniper’s first post-adoption checkup. I took seriously all that goes into bringing a kitten home, and I think it made the transition more smooth. Are you bringing a kitten home soon, or thinking of doing so in the future? These tips are for you!

10 Tips For Bringing Home a New Kitten

1. In my experience, everyone is looking for something different. I was looking for a kitten that was affectionate and inquisitive, and didn’t shy away from my touch, nor the touch from my kids. I think that personality is suiting us well.

2. Transport your new kitten home in a cat carrier. If you don’t have one, often the shelter has cardboard ones you can buy, but you will probably need a carrier in the future for vet visits, or any rides in the car the cat may one day need.

3. Prepare a small room or space for your kitten for the first few days or weeks at home. Kittens can get into small spaces, and they also spook easily, so having a smaller space for her to explore first will get her more comfortable with your home. Keep your kitten separated from other pets at first, and secure all electrical, curtain and blind cords, because they can harm her. Set up food and water bowls, toys, a scratching post, and maybe a bed, and keep the litter box as far from the food as you can. Make sure your kitten can get in and out of the litter box, and that she has safe hiding places within the space.

4. Litter box training is actually easy, because cats instinctively like to bury. Put the litter box in a secluded spot, and place your kitten in there, after she’s finished a nap or a meal. Keep doing so regularly and help her simulate digging.

5. Are you introducing your kitten to children? Be cognizant of children under five, because they can be rougher on kittens without realizing. Show your children how to hold a cat with one hand just behind the front paws, and the other supporting the kitten’s hind paws. They should never grab a kitten’s tail or ears, or pick it up by the scruff of its neck. They should pet the head gently and wash their hands after. If the children have friends over, they can teach their friends.

For adults too, it’s best to get down to her level and let her come to you on her own time.

6. Within a week or two of being adopted, take your kitten to her wellness visit at the vet. Make sure you bring immunization and health records from the shelter (if applicable), because they can come in handy. Ours gave us a rabies vaccine voucher.

7. When you are ready to introduce your kitten to the house, make sure you keep your pet safe by kitten-proofing. I mentioned electrical cords, but also factor in Christmas decorations, blinds, curtains, balloons, rubber bands, chemicals, medicines, dental floss, and many more items. And keep your washing machine and dryer doors shut at all times.

8. If you have a dog or other cat, make sure they have been checked by your vet. Never leave them alone together for the introduction. Perhaps keep your dog leashed for the introduction. Reward both pets for their calm behavior together.

9. Get your kitten safe toys without sharp edges, choking hazards, and more – like scratching posts, small stuffed animals, and a ball too big to fit into her mouth. You can also buy a fuzzy mouse, a plastic fishing pole, etc.

10. Have good quality food and treats for your kitten. We go to Walmart to find SHEBA® PERFECT PORTIONS™ and SHEBA® Meaty Tender Sticks Cat Treats for Juniper. They are easy to spot in the Pet Care Aisle with the cat food and treats.

The easy snap portions make it easy to feed Juniper the exact portions of food recommended by her vet. We certainly don’t want to overfeed Juniper. The food is what we want, and also, like they say – SHEBA® WHAT CATS WANT™!

One thing I didn’t previously know about cats, is that you can give them treats. Really! They love them. The vet recommended it too, as a way to bond with Juniper and praise her for calm behavior. SHEBA® Cat Treats are made with mouthwatering ingredients in a fun, stick-shaped snack. They are made with real meat and no artificial flavors.

Want more info about SHEBA® PERFECT PORTIONS™ and SHEBA® Meaty Tender Sticks? Click here for great inspiration!