Diary of a Cat Walker, #21
Cat walking can be meditative. It can be challenging. It can be fun. But most of all, it can be time consuming.
For most cat walkers, the one thing it's not is an aerobic event that you can squeeze in at the drop of a hat and be done with in 10 minutes. You can't combine it with a spin on your bike. You can't rush through it just to get it done.
It's a different and more enjoyable activity altogether. I love walking Gloria Vanderbilt and do so nearly every day. I feel guilty when I miss a day, and of late, that hasn't happened often. I'm always on the lookout for new places to walk, places that are scenic, full of life, and provide a bit of variety. I'm also always trying to push the envelope a little, so after some of our walks, I stop at a café and get a drink. We sit outside at one of their tables and Gloria -- who doesn't like the approach of strangers -- gets more treats and attention while I drink my coffee. I've done it enough times that she understands the routine, but she's still a little apprehensive when people approach...once they've arrived and begin to chat, her discomfort, for the most part, melts away and she'll even allow them to pet her.
Most of my walks -- including the trip to and from -- take about 60 minutes. They can be a bit longer if I have to travel a bit of a distance to get to the place we're going to walk that day. So what does that mean if you have multiple cats? Should you rotate through them?
I'm going to suggest you don't...at least not for the first year you're training your cat. If you can work in two walks a day, great, each cat can be walked. Any more than that and, well, it could be challenging to say the least. At the beginning of the training, the "walks" will be necessarily short, so it may be easier. As time goes on, you'll want to expose your cat to more and more and going out with "daddy" will be something your cat looks forward to and begins to expect. It will become part of your cat's routine. That's happened with Gloria. She used to be anxious about her trips, but she's gotten over it. Now, she gets anxious if I don't take her, and comes to me with a plaintive whine. For this reason, trading off isn't really an option at this point. When I hit the one year mark, maybe, but even then I'll likely give her some time out in the back yard (on an aerial dog lead) when I'm taking one of the other cats out for a walk.