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Is There Such a Thing as a Cat Park? Interesting Answer

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

Beautiful grey maine coon cat in leash and harness walking in the city park

Dogs get to have all the fun! There are dog parks galore, no matter where you look. Are cat parks among all the rapidly developing pet activities? Well, a simple look at feline behavior can tell you a few things about how that whole charade would go. So no, there isn’t such a thing as a cat park.

While it seems like a relatively simple topic, it isn’t. There are tons of reasons why the reality of a cat park wouldn’t work quite as well as a dog park. That’s not to say that cats should be allowed to explore and have fun, but in this article, we will explore why this isn’t a very prevalent idea.

The 4 Reasons Why There Aren’t More Cat Parks

So why aren’t there more cat parks? Are our felines being left out in the cold, forgotten? Not necessarily. There are legitimate reasons why this idea hasn’t been explored to its full potential. Here are some reasons most people steer clear of cat park concepts.

ragdoll cat in a park looking off to the side
Image Credit: Aaron Zimmermann, Shutterstock

1. Cats Don’t Get Comfortable Right Away

Cats have a much harder time acclimating to new social settings than their canine counterparts do. A dog could do one quick butt sniff and be totally okay with whoever is around. They waste no time getting past the initial stages of meet and greets and go straight to the fun stuff.

A cat, on the other hand, will be very suspicious and uncomfortable with their surroundings until they fully adjust to the new environment. They would slink around the park, running from cover to cover, likely making odd noises and acting bothered and anxious.

Another hard part about this is they will probably not understand why it’s happening. If they’re not used to the area, they might think that you’re dropping them off or feel very vulnerable in unfamiliar surroundings.

On average, it takes around 2 weeks for a cat to be comfortable with their new surroundings. Obviously, you wouldn’t be hanging out at a cat park for 2 weeks while your cat gets cozy.


2. Cats Don’t Require the Same Outlets as Dogs

Cats and dogs are very different when it comes to exercise requirements. While cats can vary drastically with energy levels, they still require significantly less than dogs. Some cats might be happy with 30 solid minutes of exercise per day.

Others might be bouncing off the walls every few minutes, constantly needing that stimulation. Cats with higher energy levels might need more outlets such as cat scratching posts, cat trees, and toys requiring physical outlets.

However, if you took a cat to a park and let them run around, they would likely leisurely stroll through and check out the scenery. They wouldn’t need to chase other cats or run in laps around the perimeter.

balinese cat sitting on pathway in the park
Image Credit: SJ Duran, Shutterstock

3. Cats Aren’t as Social as Dogs

Let’s face it. Cats don’t walk around making friends like dogs. Dogs thrive on the attention and companionship they receive from dog parks and other public settings. Cats, on the other hand, would prefer to spend most of their time alone.

They have a very small circle and even lovable cats often prefer to go it alone. Your cat wouldn’t really miss the park to meet up with their neighborhood friends. They are more likely to be territorial and uncertain of other cats at first.

Cats are already sizing each other up, seeing who the bigger cat is and who will rule the territory. Since these ruthless predators prefer a life of solitude, they don’t want to be friends with strange cats—especially not when they meet for the first time.

You’ll have a lot more cats walking around disgruntled than you will the opposite. Cats are like the kids at the school dance standing at the edge of the auditorium with their arms folded—they don’t want to join the dance floor.


4. Cats Can Escape from Fences Easier than Dogs

If you think about it, if a person were to make a cat park, they would have to enclose the entire thing. Cats are exquisite at climbing fences and trees and can easily scale a perimeter with minimal effort.

If your cat escapes off a leash, they could disappear, or, even worse, they could get injured. If someone were to enclose the entire cat park, it would be very expensive and likely be a much smaller space. Since so many more safety precautions would likely be implemented, the park’s cost might also be pricier.

Ginger cat red and white walking on wooden fence in the garden looking at the camera
Image Credit: Nancy_Zonneveld, Shutterstock

The 3 Other Ways to Exercise Your Cat

Rather than taking your cat to a cat park, you should consider some other options. Until cat parks become a full-blown thing, and all of the kinks are worked out in between, we’ll have to resort to other methods of socializing our feline friends.

1. Teach Your Cat to Walk on a Lead

It might seem like a minor possibility, but that’s not quite so! We underestimated our cats for quite some time. Cats are capable of walking on a leash, but most of them love it once they’re acclimated.

You can buy cat harnesses online or in pet shops. It is imperative to make sure you buy the correct fit so you don’t have your cat slipping out of the harness during walks. This can be very dangerous.

Since cats are much more flexible than our children and dogs, finding the appropriate size can be more difficult. When you are ordering, make sure that you’re measuring correctly and looking at each individual sizing chart.

Lady walking cat with harness
Image Credit: Amerigo_images, Shutterstock

2. Go Backpacking

Even though you can’t quite get your cat out to exercise, you could also always try to purchase a cat-specific backpack. Many of these backpacks have clear or mesh covering so your cat can easily see the scenery. They might not get to run around, but they can explore new terrain with you.

Buy backpacks carefully. Remember, your comfort is just as important as your cats. You will want a backpack that comfortably fits around your shoulders since you will be carrying it for long periods at a time.

You must also ensure enough storage space to bring your cat treats, food, water, and bowls. Having a leash and harness is also a good idea in this case, or when your cat needs to stretch their legs and use the potty.


3. Build a Catio

To allow your cat to enjoy the great outdoors without directly putting them outside, you could always try to build a catio if you have the space. Catios are often made of wood and chicken wire, or some other fencing material with small openings to keep your kitty safe.

There are tons of options to build your own catio online. Or, you can always buy prefabricated products that just need to be thrown together. Ultimately, the choice is yours. Choose the method that works best with your budget and experience level.

long haired cat stretching in an outdoor catio
Image Credit: SariMe, Shutterstock

Conclusion

So now you can understand a little bit more about why cat parks might not be such a successful idea. If anyone knows anything about cats, it would make someone severely hesitant to build a cat park.

In the future, something of this nature could be implemented, but it would have to be well thought out and carefully constructed. For the most part, there are other far more engaging ways you can spend time with your feline in public.


Featured Image Credit: Goldeneden, Shutterstock

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