Though Ragdoll cats are known to be indoor cats, many pet parents wonder if it is possible to take their furry little friend for a quick walk outside. Especially if their pet pal has been longing to go outside! However, most Ragdoll breeders do not prefer this and will make you sign contracts that you should not let your Ragdoll cat outside due to their docile nature.
Since the debate goes both ways, you do have a valid question: “Can I walk my Ragdoll cat outside? Yes, it is even healthy for Ragdoll cats to explore nature. If you love your cat and you are an outdoor person, there is no reason why you should suppress your desire of taking your pet pal along with you. All you need is a leash, and make sure that you avoid any distractions along the way.
However, in order to get your Ragdoll cat used to the outdoor environment and make the experience less traumatic for them, you need to follow certain steps. First, let’s have a look at the pros and cons of walking your Ragdoll cat outside.
The Pros and Cons of Taking Your Ragdoll Cat Outside
Since Ragdoll cats are indoor pets that are extremely friendly and clingy, you may not find them walking with owners in the park. They also tend to be too trusting and love the mellow atmosphere indoors.
They are often known for their dull and laid back nature that again reinforces the fact that they shouldn’t be walked outside.
As mentioned earlier, some cat breeders make you sign contracts for not letting your Ragdoll outside. However, that should not stop you from taking them on a walk. You should know that since
Ragdoll breeders take extra care of their pets, the clause is to make sure that you do not lock him / her outside when you leave for work and let them back in when you return.
On the other hand, there is nothing more rewarding than having a well-behaved cat that does not cause chaos when you are out strolling in the park.
Many cat owners spend weeks, or even months, training their Ragdoll cats so that they can walk them around and enjoy the open weather.
Most people oppose the outdoor trips of Ragdoll cats, since they are docile and have a trusting nature, so they would not be able to defend themselves against their rivals.
The decision whether you can walk your Ragdoll cat outside may be subjective, but it is definitely a personal one. Sure you can walk your Ragdoll outside, but you should keep a couple of things in mind before you do.
How to Train Your Ragdoll Cat to Walk with a Leash?
Yes, you can walk your Ragdoll cat outside, but you should train them first. All you need to do is:
- Take your cat outside with a leash on
- Take 5 steps away and crouch down
- Call your Ragdoll
- If he/she answers and walks towards you, pet it and offer treats
- Repeat the process until it walks straight to you.
This was a short answer to how you can train your Ragdoll cats. However, there is more to the process. People also use a clicker method to train their Ragdolls, but a leash is commonly used.
Step # 1 – Put the Harness On
- Start by showing the harness to your Ragdoll
- Let it sniff the harness (Make sure the cat knows that there is nothing to be afraid of)
- After the cat sniffs the harness, offer a treat.
- Next, slip the harness over his / her head (Do not complicate it by moving its legs)
- If your Ragdoll stays calm, offer a treat and pet it. (Reassure the cat that everything is okay)
- Now, slip the harness over the legs and lock it.
- As soon as the buckle makes the clicking sound, offer your Ragdoll another treat.
- Continue this practice until your cat is fine with the harness on and does not agitate.
Step # 2 – Take your Ragdoll Outside
Most people think that the walk with the leash on should be practiced inside first. However, if your cat has already accepted the harness and is comfortable with it, there is no point in waiting to take your cat outside. Just make sure that you minimize the distractions.
- Drive to a peaceful and quiet location
- Try a location where there are no dogs in sight and only a few people or cars nearby.
- Put your Ragdoll on the ground, with the harness and the leash on.
- Move about 3 feet away from him/her and crouch down.
- Call your pet
- If it comes, offer a treat and pet it.
Make sure you crouch down properly because this helps the cat feel that you have created a safe zone for him / her under your legs. Since Ragdolls are too affectionate and less confident, they will immediately find their shelter under your legs if they feel unsafe.
Just make sure you do not stop rewarding them on every step of the way.
Repeat this process a number of times and not with too many gaps. If you feel that your cat has learned, start increasing the distance at which you stand and call your cat.
This way, it will also learn that it should not run away but follow you instead.
It is important that you walk in front of your Ragdoll rather than allowing them to take the lead since distractions can make them go crazy on the leash.
Moreover, staying in front will also allow you to take care of any potentially threatening situations like a dog walking towards you.
Step # 3 – See the Signs
After you and your Ragdoll have mastered step two, and your cat feels a lot more comfortable, you will observe the following signs:
- Your cat starts sniffing things
- It starts playing with the grass
Give your cat more time to explore the surroundings and let the leash lose to a certain extent. It will not run but act calmly.
Once the cat feels safe outside, you can start taking small walks but do not go too fast. Make sure you walk slowly with your furry friend, allowing them to enjoy the experience.
After a while, you will find your Ragdoll at ease when you grab the leash and walk towards the door.
Can I Use the Same Steps for My Adult Ragdoll Cat?
Most Ragdoll owners are of the opinion that even if they wished that they could take long walks with their cats, they wouldn’t be able to do so since their Ragdolls have grown up from their kitten phase and no matter how dedicated they are to train them, they will avoid the works.
Also, they will freak out at the sight of the harness, so putting it on would be an impossible task.
Even though it largely depends on your Ragdoll’s personality, and kittens do learn easily, age is not as important as you think.
All you need to do is to be extra patient! Do not force your Ragdoll to do anything it is not comfortable with. You need to be patient, since putting a leash on is really the biggest hurdle you may ever face with your Ragdoll.
Always make sure that you have treats in your pocket since this will help your cat associate the harness and the walks with something friendly, and tasty!
Things to Keep in Mind
Walking your cat has become a trend today, however, not everyone is really open to adopting this trend. Cat owners often say that cats need their territory and a sense of control.
Obviously, you will not walk your cat in a crowded place, I know I wouldn’t because cats are more docile animals when compared to dogs, but they do need some fresh air once in a while!
While indoors can be dull and unhealthy since the indoor atmosphere tends to saturate with bacteria and other microbes, outdoors can give your Ragdoll a reason to exercise and stay healthy as well as active.
Moreover, cats that stay indoors may develop psychological problems over time due to the lack of exercise and boredom, and so taking an outdoor trip will definitely help them in various ways!
However, before you take your Ragdoll out for a walk, here are a few things you should consider:
1. Do NOT Use a Collar
A cat’s neck is not as strong as a dog’s, and therefore it can cause serious damage if your cat freaks out.
You should keep in mind that even though Ragdolls are quite dull, they can sense danger and may act fast, not giving you the time to control the situation. A harness is always a safer option, even if it is a bit tough to put it around your Ragdoll’s neck and legs.
Here are a few links to quality harnesses for Ragdolls:
- Gooby – Comfort X Head-In Harness
- Mynwood Cat Jacket/Harness Caramel Adult Cat
- Choke Free Small Dog Harness
- Read our article on the best harnesses for Ragdoll cats here for more information.
2. Cats are NOT like Dogs
You can always train your cat to walk with you or follow you, but you should not forget that it is a cat that you are walking and not a dog.
Your Ragdoll may take the time it needs, and you will have to be patient with the results.
There will be distractions along the way, like smells that are too interesting, so you have to be ready to allow your cat to do its thing. If you stay patient, your Ragdoll will reward you in due time by following you and staying calm. Just do not pull the leash!
3. Patience is Key
It cannot be stressed enough that you need to be patient for this process to work. You will have to give your cat the time it needs to adjust to the new outdoor environment.
Just do not upset your Ragdoll by pulling the leash too often! Always show love and care, and you will get the same in return.
Walking your Ragdoll can be a great exercise for you and your fuzzy little friend. Plus, it allows you to bond on a different level altogether! It will keep them from getting bored and give you a more active pet friend.
Though training can be a difficult task and may eat up a lot of your precious time, you will get there if you are patient and persistent in your efforts.
Can Ragdoll cats be left alone? Ragdoll cats are known to be quite affectionate and clingy, so they prefer staying close to their owner. Therefore, leaving them alone for extended periods of time is not recommended.
If you need more information on that, you should read our article on leaving Ragdoll cats alone.
Are Ragdolls hypoallergenic? No, Ragdoll cats are not hypoallergenic, as they do not have an undercoat like other cat breeds.
Do Ragdoll cats shed a lot of hair? No, the Ragdoll cat breed is not known to be a heavy shedder. Since they do not have an undercoat, they do not shed as much as other cat breeds.
Also, they are not a lot of work. Read our Ragdoll Cat Grooming Guide to learn about the things you need to on a weekly base when getting a Ragdoll.