People regularly go on walks and hikes with their dogs, providing exercise and bonding time for everyone involved.
Now an animal trainer is encouraging people to consider including their cats in these fun outdoor outings. Not only can cats be trained to walk on a leash just their canine counterparts, according to Laura Partain, cats also benefit from spending time with their humans outdoors.
The Tennessee woman arrived at this conclusion after hiking with her cat during the pandemic. “It took probably four or five months of really working with her, but I really saw her transform from this timid cat that didn’t want to go outside and was really nervous to a cat that’s amazing on the trail,” Partain told 10 News. “She walks like a dog now.”
In fact, her cat thrived to such a degree that Partain, who used to train show goats, founded a training school to teach other felines to walk on leashes. But even if people don’t sign up for her classes, the Nashville resident hopes the Tennessee Cat Adventure Club will encourage pet owners to reconsider their cat’s potential as a hiking/walking companion.
“I really want to help people see their cats in a different way and to get out of the mindset of ‘Oh, my cat would never do that,'” Partain said. “To look at their cat and say, ‘How can I help this cat to have a better life. How can I help enrich this cat’s life and train them?’ They’re actually really fun to train.”
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Since the pandemic began, 14 feline hikers have already graduated from the adventure club’s program, which is based in Nashville but also offers virtual classes. “I encourage people to train the cats themselves, but I also offer training services,” Partain told the station. “So when people are like, ‘I’m stumped. I don’t know what to do with my cat.’ That’s when I’ll say, ‘give me a call.’
But while Partain loves walking cats on leashes, she acknowledges that cats aren’t as easy as dogs to train.
“A lot of dogs really want to do anything to please their people. Whereas a cat and a goat are a little bit more transactional. They’re like, ‘What do you have for me? I don’t want just a pat on the head. What do you have for me?'” said Partain, who convinces most leash-wary cats with treats and a well-fitting harness.
Check out the Tennesee Cat Adventure Club for more information!
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