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Tips, Tricks and Pawsitive Challenges for Cat Walking by Siamese Adventure Cats Mizu and Milo

Mizu and Milo, the Siamese Cats from Stuttgart

In early 2022, after a long-distance relationship, Natalia and her partner moved together to Stuttgart, Germany. They have always dreamed of having two Siamese cats. To prepare for their joyful cat pawrenthood, they built a wooden cat parkour six months before getting their cats: Mizu and Milo. Natalia and her partner were filled with excitement for this new chapter in their lives.

They got Mizu and Milo from local breeders. They visited the Siamese cats for the first time when they were only eight weeks old and instantly fell in love with the two kittens. In April 2022, when they were twelve weeks old, Mizu and Milo moved into Natalia’s urban apartment.

Continuously Changing Cat Characters

Mizu and Milo can be described as  continuously changing their characters. Mizu was initially a daredevil but has become very relaxed over time. On the other hand, Milo was quiet as a kitten and has now turned into a tornado.

Both cats are highly intelligent. With the right approach, they can be taught a lot. Above all, Mizu and Milo are very friendly, social, and of course full of life!

Cat Walking by Clicker Training

  Natalia and her partner came up with the idea of taking Mizu and Milo for a walk because they live in an apartment in the middle of Stuttgart and wished for their cats to enjoy the outdoors. Before going out for the first time, they extensively researched on the internet. 

They found and recommended the German channel "Travelers Garden" which also has English subtitles. On this channel, you can find all the important information about walking your pets. Additionally, Natalia is currently working on a guide about "Walking with Cats" based primarily on her own experiences. 

Before going for walks, Natalia and her partner started clicker training with Mizu and Milo when they were four months old. Clicker training is a form of Pavlovian conditioning. The cat hears a click when it does something right and associates it with a reward. This helps them connect commands with something pawsitive. Currently, both Mizu and Milo can follow around forty commands.

First, Natalia and her partner were teaching the cats by clicker training how "to follow" them inside the apartment. They did so, initially, without a harness and leash, and later, a week before the first time, with these garments. 

Natalia and her partner also found it important that Mizu and Milo first knew and obeyed their own names. To train the cats to do so, Natalia called Mizu to her, she came, Natalia clicked, and only then rewarded her with lots of praise and a snack. Natalia repeated this process with both cats. Teaching them to "follow" them was the next step. 

Natalia emphasises that it is crucial the pawrent leads the way, not the cat. That's why Natalia and her partner always walked ahead in the apartment and called the cats to follow them. All of this was connected with the clicker.

Once Milo and Mizu had settled in well at home in Stuttgart and received all the necessary vaccinations (including microchips), they ventured out into their cat pawrents' secure garden for the first time.

Before their first outdoor adventure, it was crucial for the cats to get accustomed to wearing a harness. The choice of the right harness is also important. Natalia has written a PDF on the topic of harnesses.

Special Treats Only During Joyful Clicker Training

Natalia and her partner use a combination of clicker training and special treats to teach commands and outdoor walking. With special treats, Natalia means delicious snacks like meat or pastes that are only given during training sessions. The cats need to understand that training is something special.

In addition, Natalia always recommends keeping training sessions short, as cats have a limited attention span and can quickly lose interest. From her own experience, she has found that it is more effective to practice the same commands multiple times a day in short sessions. It's okay if the cats don't understand right away; it takes time, and it's crucial not to overwhelm them.

It is also key to try having as much fun as pawsible during training, as cats can sense your enjoyment, and it positively impacts their training progress.

When it comes to outdoor training, walking with cats is a matter of getting used to it. Natalia and her partner call it socialization and sensitization. What the cat doesn't know at first, it is generally afraid of, and this fear can trigger escape behaviour. Natalia finds it important to mention that some animals are braver while others are more fearful. 

The initial training consists of showing the cat that you are capable of ensuring its safety. You have to show the cat that there is no danger in things when you are around. At this point, you can practice again with a clicker, praise, and treats. Again, keep the training sessions as short as pawsible.

Ever Evolving Challenges 

Natalia and her partner are constantly seeking new challenges and improvements when it comes to exploring with their cats. Whether it's taking them to the beach, hiking in the mountains, or meeting other adventure cats, they want to experience as much as pawsible with them. It brings Natalia and her partner so much joy, and going on adventures together enriches the entire family.

One of the challenges she and her partner face is bringing the concept of walking with cats closer to society. It is a wonderful activity for both the animal and the human, yet many people still have a negative perception when they see a cat on a leash. This is mainly because so few people engage in this activity or are aware of it. They feel that more education and awareness are needed to show people how, where, and when to walk with their cats.

Additionally, many indoor cats suffer from boredom and lack of mental stimulation. Walking with cats should not simply simulate outdoor freedom, but also provide enrichment and engagement for them in their otherwise mundane lives as house cats.

It's important to remember that Mizu and Milo don't walk perfectly, and they don't have to. They have good days and bad days, just like any other cat. Their nature is completely different from that of a dog, and their walking style reflects that. Climbing, sniffing, lounging, grazing on grass, observing their surroundings - all these activities are part of a cat's walk.

Natalia and her partner are always looking for ways to overcome these challenges and make improvements in the world of walking with cats. It's a journey that they are passionate about and one that they hope will continue to gain acceptance and understanding from society.

Natalia’s Message for Other Cat Pawrents

Natalia stresses that it can be time-consuming and sometimes even very tedious to teach a cat something. One should also be aware that once you start taking them for walks, you should stick with it. Natalia and her partner see it as quality time or as a hobby because it's great to spend such intense time with your pet! 

It would be a dream of Natalia and her partner if there were special cat parks for cats. Places that are secure and where only cats are allowed. Their Instagram friends Akira and Apollon, who were featured previously by Global Cat PR Agency CatSwoppr, and who are also known as @catventure, have put a lot of effort into this and have created a Google Maps map with cat-friendly places. 

On this map, cat-friendly areas throughout Europe are marked by many cat pawrents. This map should serve as a helpful guide for others. You can also add new areas globally yourself.* This project shows that there is an interest in promoting walking with cats!

Thank you for reading the story of Mizu and Milo. You can follow these lovely Siamese cats and their cat-walking adventures on their Instagram account

*A note from CatSwoppr: in the future, we also hope to collaborate on the map with cat-friendly places, as we are building the minimum viable product (MVP) of our app CatScanR, which is like Google Maps, Linktree, and Whatsapp all rolled into one. With the CatScanR, you can scan your immediate surroundings or explore the entire world on a map to connect and communicate with fellow cat pawrents and cat enthusiasts.

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