You See A Dog Walking On A Leash. So, You’re Probably Thinking, “Why Not Do It With My Cat?”
Thankfully, it is true that you can walk your cat on a leash, but you need to train him. So, the next question would be, “How?”
You don’t have to look for the answer elsewhere. In this post, you will learn some helpful tips on how to leash train your cat.
Introduce The Harness
Here’s what you shouldn’t do: immediately put your cat in a harness and leash without a proper introduction.
Your cat needs to know first what’s going on. The more your cat understands why he is being put into a harness, the more he would be cooperative and submissive.
Purchasing a harness may be a bit tricky. Perhaps, you might just want to consider these two points while choosing.
- For Comfort: Distributing pressure across multiple areas so the harness won't choke your cat.
- For Safety: Preventing your cat from slipping out of their harness.
The best harness for your cat is the one made from lightweight and soft materials, cut and formed in a way that he can walk normally.
After purchasing the right harness, introduce it by leaving it inside the house for him to play with and smell, so he won't be afraid of it. Let him sniff it and give him treats while he does so.
Once he got comfortable seeing and coping with harness on the same roof, you can proceed to the next step.
Try It On
Now, with lots of confidence, you can place the harness on your feline. Fit it firmly but not tightly. After putting it around his body, give him a treat.
Let the harness stay for an hour. If he walks around normally with no obvious problem while wearing the harness, then it is a good sign that he is coping well with the new equipment.
If he is comfortable with it, you can now practice fastening the harness and adjusting the fit. No more than two fingers should be able to fit underneath the harness.
You need to assure your cat that the harness will not harm him in any way. Your cat should be able to trust you that you won’t grab and force him on wearing the harness.
Remember, cats can get rid of the harness if they feel frightened. So before proceeding to the next step, make sure that your cat is comfortable with the harness.
Attach The Leash
Once your kitty gets used to wearing a harness, it’s time to attach the leash.
Take him into a room where he cannot break or snag his leash with any object. At this moment, let him wander freely as you hold him on the leash. Feed him treats and reward with toys to make him feel comfortable.
Like the harness, you need to find a good leash too. But you may try the lightweight leashes that are 4 to 6 feet long, for they are the one that suits the leash training for all cats of different sizes. However, longer or retractable leash can be used once your cat is able to manage the weight and length of his first leash.
Teach Your Cat To Walk An A Leash
When your cat feels comfortable with the leash, you can practice by following him around, keeping the leash loose in your hand. Providing treats and plenty of praises is necessary for this process to succeed.
After your cat gets used to walking on a leash, you can now advance on walking outdoor.
Make Him Feel Comfortable Outside
First, pick up your harnessed kitty and carry him outside to a quiet area. (Don't let him walk out the door on a leash for he may get used to doing it too when he's not leashed.) Ideally, the first outdoor space should be enclosed with a fence and not filled with anything that may cause distractions.
Your cat may be in high alert when you take him outside for the first time. So, take things slowly. Patiently stay beside him and let him decide when he is ready to explore. Keep the leash loose and follow him, but do not force him but rather let him do what he is ready for.
Going Out For A Longer Walk
Keep in mind that walking a cat is different from walking a dog. Cats are smaller and lighter. So, they can be easier to handle while taking a walk.
Continue to hold the leash and let him walk freely. Do not pull your cat if you want him to walk the way you want to go. You can pet him using treats or toys so he may walk your direction.
While outside, beware of risks. You must stay away from the things that may harm your cat such as busy roads and barking dogs. Also, prevent him from climbing trees on a leash. It is not safe. Even though he is trained, it may scare him and cause him to be afraid of going out for a walk in the future.
If your cat is new in leash walking, refrain from using retractable leashes, which may not give you enough control over your furry friend. A normal leash allows you to keep your cat close and be able to easily pick him up during a dangerous situation.
It is absolutely normal for cats to freeze up, walk uncomfortably or totally refuse to do so during the first few times. Your cat has never experienced the sensation of having something on his back before, so it is going to take some time to adjust.
Also, it is important to pay attention to what your cat is comfortable doing. Do not force him to go beyond his comfort zone. You can still help him stay happy and active by having an indoor adventure.
Remember, patience is the key to be successful in leash training your cat.
If you have more questions, feel free to do more research. Don’t hesitate to talk to your vet as well for more expert advice.
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