Dogs have the pleasure of going for walks just about every single day. You see them, you envy them, but you are a cat person and house cats stay indoors around the clock. Do not be sad. Did you know that you can take your cat for a walk too? Here is how to leash train your cat so both of you can enjoy daily walks.
Step 1: Introduce the harness
When it comes to walking a cat on a leash, a harness should be used instead of a collar. Harnesses keep pressure off of the cat’s neck, this is especially important for cats with sensitive tracheas.
Choose a harness that will best fit your cat. They are usually sized based on weight. Slowly introduce your cat to their new outerwear by first letting them sniff the harness. The goal is for them to be comfortable with it and not be scared. Use treats as positive reinforcement and to associate the harness with a reward.
Put the harness on your cat and let them walk around the room. Let them get comfortable moving with it on.
Step 2: Introduce the leash
Next, your cat should be shown the leash, in the same manner, they were introduced to the harness. Let them smell it and touch it. Again, use treats as positive reinforcement. Once they have figured out that it is nothing to be afraid of, attach it to the harness and let them walk around the room without any tension on the leash. This exercise should be done in an open room without any furniture that the cat could get snagged on.
Once the cat becomes desensitized to the leash, start walking around the house. Allow your cat to become familiar with pressure on the leash. Use the give and take method the same way you would leash train a puppy. When asking to move a certain way, apply pressure on the leash, and once the cat gives in to it, immediately release and give them a treat.
Step 3: Go Outside
After you and your cat are comfortable with the leash indoors, it is time to go outdoors! Before you open the door, ensure the harness is a proper fit and your cat cannot slip out of it. Also, double-check the leash is securely attached to the harness. When you open the door, it is always a good idea to carry your cat outside. This way they can’t bolt out the door and they will start to realize if they want to go outside, they must be carried. Again, be sure to use plenty of treats to let your cat know when they did something good.
Start your outdoor adventures close to the house and for a small amount of time, eventually build up to walks around the block. Soon you and your cat will be looking forward to walks and adventures too! Have you ever taken your cat for a walk? Where is their favorite place to go?