One advantage of having a dog is that you can leash them up and take them pretty much everywhere with you. But what if you are a cat person? This article will discuss The Anti-Cruelty Society’s tips on how to train a cat to walk on a leash.
Gather Your Materials
Many people who attempt to leash train a cat assume it is alright to use dog equipment. Those people are wrong. Do not use a small dog harness on a cat. Instead, purchase a cat harness in the size necessary for your feline. Do not use a chain leash or a Flexi lead with your cat, as a chain lead can be too heavy and a cat can seriously hurt themselves getting tangled in a Flexi lead. Instead, use a light cloth or nylon lead. You will also need your cat’s favorite treats.
Start Harness Training
Harness training a cat is the first step to leash training. Slowly and carefully put your cat in the harness. Do not be discouraged if they immediately pancake to the floor; like anything new, harnesses take a little getting used to. No matter the reaction, offer your cat a few treats while they are in the harness. After a few minutes, remove the harness. Repeat this step every day until your cat is comfortable enough to walk around in the harness.
Bring On the Leash
The next step in leash training a cat is to attach the leash to the harness. Again, make sure to give plenty of treats once your cat is harnessed up and the leash is attached. Allow your cat to walk around while you hold the leash loosely. It is important that there is no tension on the leash and that your cat sets the pace. If you only make it three or four steps the first day, do not fret. Keep practicing every day until your cat will walk with the tensionless leash indoors.
Once you have them walking, try applying a little tension to the leash. This step may take a few extra days (and a few extra treats), because your cat is used to walking unrestrained. Regardless, push ahead, practicing every day until they are able to tolerate walking around indoors with tension on the leash.
Go For an Indoor Walk
Once your cat is used to the leash tension, it is time to go for an indoor walk. During this training time, you are going to take the lead. Gently direct your cat the way you want him to go by using vocal cues like, “Come on, kitty,” or dropping treats for them to follow as you walk. Make sure to reward your cat with treats when they decide to walk on their own.
To protect your cat from dangers and let them play and explore how much they want you to need to secure your kitty with a cat tracker and get notified when they are closer to the dangerous area. Alternatively, you can create an invisible fence with the help of an application and let your furry friend enjoy their freedom and be safe at the same time.
Go For an Outdoor Walk
Once you have mastered the indoor walk, it is time to take your cat outside. This can also be a very slow process, but it is important to go at your cat’s pace. Feel free to try to lure them outside with treats.
Once your cat makes it over the threshold and outside, encourage them to keep walking with treats. Allow them to explore at their own pace before trying to take the lead. If at any point your cat is uncomfortable, stop and try again the next day.
When your cat is comfortable exploring on a loose leash, take the lead. Start in your own yard, where your cat has become comfortable, before venturing into the neighborhood. If your cat shows interest in going out of the yard, feel free to take him as far as he wants to go. Just watch out for dogs and any small animal they may want to chase.
Walking your cat is a fun experience, but it takes some time to get them acclimated. By following the above tutorial, you and your cat can have a fun, bonding experience while they learn a new skill.