How to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash
The average cat loves roaming around and exploring their surroundings, and staying indoors at all times sometimes goes against their naturally adventurous spirit. Not only is giving them an occasional walk a fun thing to do, but it can actually be quite good for their health, especially if they’ve been getting lazy and you want them to be a little more active.
Training your cat to walk on a leash is the key to fun, safe outdoor adventures.
Here’s how to do it.
If you think you might want to train your cat to walk on a leash, get started as soon as you can.
If possible, start while your cat is still a small kitten because that way they’ll get used to being on a leash a lot easier. Older cats will have more trouble adjusting but it’s definitely not impossible, it just takes a little more time and patience to get them to accept something new.
Choose the right adventure gear.
Your cat is a certified Houdini. They’re nimble, quick, and can bend in some pretty impressive ways, so a collar is generally not the best option for most kitties.We recommend that you get a good harness instead, because that way, your furball won’t be able to twist their way out of it or injure their neck if they try to run. The best thing to do when getting new pet accessories and leashes is to introduce them to your pet in a non-threatening manner, by allowing them to inspect those new items first. Get a sturdy harness with a leash and you won’t go wrong.
Don’t force anything.
Yelling at your cat and forcing them to wear the leash at all times is likely to result in them just running away from you. They’re known to be stubborn, persistent creatures, and if they start associating the harness with something bad they’ll never really get used to it. You want to be gentle and avoid wrestling them into a harness if they are very obviously anxious and twitchy. You can try to help your kitty to feel less stressed in the unfamiliar surroundings with the Feliway pheromone spray, diffuser or wipes, that mimic pheromones cats use to mark a friendly environment.
Make it fun by rewarding your cat with treats.
One of the ways to get your cat to associate the leash with something positive is to simply give them a treat each time you put it on. Be sweet, pet them, snuggle them, feed them their favorite treats and encourage them with a gentle voice. When they start getting nervous, release them and let them roam the house. Do this every day for a few weeks, never forget the treats, and your kitty will come to be relaxed even with the leash on.
Before you hit the trails, take walks around the house.
Before you even think about leading them outside, use the leash to give them walks around the house and the backyard if you have it. Once they get used to that, you can take them outside and keep the walks short at first. Walk around familiar areas, and be ready to take your cat back home if they get scared. Be careful not to tug at the leash too much.
A harness and leash is for shared adventures – don’t tie up your cat outdoors.
A dog might be able to handle being tied to a lamppost or a tree while you do your shopping, but cats are a lot less likely to just sit still and wait for you. They will get scared and try to run away, so it’s very important never to leave your pet outside unattended.
Once you’ve trained your cat to walk on a leash, you’re ready to take on the world!
Walking your cat can be a really great workout for them – it will keep them fit, happy, and a lot less prone to running around the house. It’s a good way to spend some quality time together as well, and if you are simply patient and kind with your pet, they will easily get used to the leash and start looking forward to your walks together.