Teach Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

BY | July 12 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY

shutterstock_153203048_2

Yes, you read that right. Catsโ€ฆ walkingโ€ฆ on leashes! While it might sound funny, the truth is that taking your cat out for a stroll around the yard or neighborhood can be a great way to get them some

exercise, stave off obesity

, and reduce

boredom

.But how can you get your cat comfortable walking on a leash? Follow these steps.

1. Vaccinate and Protect Your Cat

If you plan to be taking your cat outside for walks, make sure they are up to date on their

vaccinations and protected from fleas and ticks

.

2. Purchase a Harness and Leash

When it comes to walking a cat, a

harness

is the most popular choice. Harnesses are comfortable, secure, and give you control without putting pressure on your catโ€™s throat or neck. As for a

leash, any type will do, but consider getting one that keeps your cat within 6 feet of you.

3. Familiarize Your Cat With the Harness

Leave the harness on your catโ€™s bed or near their food for several days. Hold the harness and let your cat sniff it, and offer them a treat when they do. Touch your catโ€™s back with the harness or gently drape it over their neck and shoulders, then offer a treat.RELATED STORY: How to Train a Cat

4. Fit the Harness

After several days of familiarization, you can try putting the harness on your cat while offering treats and praise. You should be able to fit two fingers (no more, no less) between your catโ€™s body and the harness. Leave the harness on for only a few minutes at a time, continuing to offer praise and treats. Repeat this training daily for several days. If your cat stays relaxed with the harness on, increase the time that they wear it. If the cat ever gets upset, remove the harness right away and try again later.

5. Attach the Leash

Once your cat is relaxed wearing the harness, you can attach the leash. Let your cat drag it around while you offer treats and praise. Keep an eye on your cat to make sure that the leash doesnโ€™t get stuck or tangled. Repeat this for several days.

6. Walk Around Inside

Once your cat is comfortable dragging around the leash, pick it up and offer a treat. Let your cat guide you around, going wherever they please. Keep the leash loose and offer praise and treats. Practice this for a few days.

RELATED STORY: What Can Affect a Catโ€™s Lifespan?

7. Encourage Your Cat to Follow You

This one takes patience, but it will be worth it once youโ€™re outside and your cat is cruising confidently by your side.

  • Encourage your cat to go where you go by using a calm, positive voice.
  • Apply gentle pressure to the leash, but never tug or yank. If and when the cat turns in your direction or follows you, offer treats and praise.
  • Drop a treat on the ground and let your cat eat it, then return to the far end of the leash. When the cat comes to where you are, offer another treat and praise. Repeat this as many times as it takes.

8. Head Outside

Youโ€™ve put the work in, and now itโ€™s time to head outside. Always attach the harness and leash before you walk through the door; this will prevent your cat from running away. Start in a quiet spot and let your cat explore with you following behind them. Once your cat seems relaxed, you can start guiding them where you want to go.

9. Regular Walks

Once your cat gets used to walking, chances are they will love it and want to go as often as possible. To avoid your cat pestering you to go outside, walk them at the same time every day, and never take your cat out if they are crying or bothering you. Instead, wait for your cat to quiet down and then take them outside. Your cat will soon learn that being quiet, calm, and patient will earn them a trip to the great outdoors.

Is it okay to leash your cat?

An increasing number of cat owners take their pet out for a walk on a leash. Most-but not all- felines love being outside, an environment of birds' mellow chirping and the scent of trees and grass. If your cat is of the outdoor type, then walking it on a leash will strengthen the bond which exists between you two. It is perfectly okay to leash your cat.Do understand not all cats like a leash to put around their body. They may not like to walk outside the home. If your cat is of the indoor type, do not force it outside. Respect its decisions.

Not all cats love unadulterated nature

Not all cats love to go outside the house. Some may actually detest trees, grasses, and wild animals. Those who do love being outside may love it so much that they scratch everything, especially trees. Once they understand you have no problem if they scratch outdoor things, they will be extremely happy. Remember a cat outside will be much more intelligent than an indoor cat. This is as the outdoor kitty thinks more. It will find out how to use its body and the smells of different things which come its way. The cat will be more engaged.Taking your cat outdoors may transform the always scared kitty into a brave feline. When your cat knows that nothing bad is waiting for them around the corner, it will be more confident. Being confident means a happier animal.

Train before leash

Do not put the leash on your cat one fine day and then take it outside. Train it indoors before you open the main door. Buy a harness and keep it in the house. Allow your kitty to get familiar with it. When it does, strap your cat in. Ensure the harness makes a comfortable fit. Allow your cat to wear the equipment inside the house. It will drag the strap around. Give it time to get conditioned to the fact that it is fine to wear something. Reward it regularly. Give it wet treats when you slip the knot around its head. In a sentence, the cat must be comfortable with the harness.When you are sure your cat has no problem with the leash, it is now time to take it outside. Open the main door. Allow your kitty to smell its surroundings. Permit it to choose the walk direction. Do not take your cat the first time to a place filled with traffic. Noisy conditions will frighten your cat. Take him to a calmer place instead. Do be warned that your cat may try to escape at the slightest opportunity. It may do this once you open the main door. Make it amply clear that you will open the door only after it opts to wear the harness.

Do you walk your cat? Leave a comment and tell us about it, and sign up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.

Was this article helpful?

You May Also Like