One of the struggles that cat lovers deal with is training their cat to walk on a leash. Well, I am assuming that by now, you might be asking “Train a cat to walk on a leash? Is that even possible?” The answer is YES definitely, there are cat lovers who are constantly training their cats to walk on a leash, and another YES, cats can be trained to walk on a leash, believe it or not. Being able to train your cat to walk on a leash can be both beneficial for your cat and yourself – it improves the life of your cat through extra exercises, it cultivates their skills, and of course, it creates a quality bonding time between you and your cat.
Leash training can be done no matter how old your cat is, however, just like humans, cats can be easily trained while it’s still young. Kittens are more outgoing, social and comfortable than older cats which makes them easier to train walking on a leash. Here are the 5 steps on how to train your cat to walk on a leash effectively:
STEP 1 – LOOK FOR AN APPROPRIATE HARNESS
Looking for an appropriate harness can be a little tricky. This will require you to find a harness that is a perfect fit for your cat. Consider a harness that will support the chest, front legs, and the middle of your cat instead of a harness with just a leash and collar alone. There is a possibility that you may end up getting a pack of harnesses, but that’s okay since it’s for the safety and comfort of your cat.
STEP 2 – SET UP A “HARNESS THIS IS KITTY, KITTY THIS IS HARNESS” SCENARIO
Once you have chosen the appropriate harness for your cat, introduce it to him very slowly – give him some ‘getting to know each other’ moment with his harness by allowing him to sniff and play with it until they get along. It’s also a good idea to reward him with some treats as it will associate a positive relationship with the harness.
When you feel like he’s comfortable with the harness already, buckle it up and give him some time to move around the house. Observe how he reacts or moves with the harness buckled on him. Make sure that it’s not too tight or too loose, just enough for him to move freely and comfortably.
STEP 3 – FIND THE BEST TIME TO ATTACH THE LEASH
I know how satisfying it is to see that your cat get along with his harness and I understand how you get too excited about walking and playing outside, but it’s not yet the right time to go alfresco. Although your cat is already comfortable moving with the harness on him, it doesn’t guarantee that it will be the same once outside. Practice walking inside the house for some time by simply holding the leash up without any pressure and follow your cat as he moves or runs around the house.
The leash should be at least 3 feet long to make sure that your cat can move with ease. Training can become tiring to your kitty so always see to it that treats and water are available all throughout the training.
STEP 4 – PLAN YOUR FIRST OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
Now that he’s comfortable moving inside the house with the harness on him, it’s time to plan the very first outdoor adventure. Planning is crucial for the first outdoor experience as it may either entertain or traumatize your cat. Yes, it can be a traumatizing experience for your cat if that experience will involve shocking stimuli such as cars, dogs, and even people.
That being said, first outdoor adventure should be planned smoothly particularly the location. It should be somewhere safe, secure, and a place where your cat will feel relaxed. A semi-private place is ideal as you don’t have to worry a lot about cars, dogs, and people.
STEP 5 – YOU AND YOUR KITTY SHOULD BE BOTH PREPARED
Now that you’ve planned your first outdoor adventure, it’s time to be prepared about what’s coming next. First of all, make sure that the harness and leash are properly secured just in case he’ll outbursts. Carry him and let him observe the location first before putting him down. Once he’s down, allow him to sniff and roll over the grass, and slowly initiate a walk. Just allow him to do things he cannot do at home but pay extra attention so everything will go smoothly as planned.
You can’t be any prouder to see your cat enjoying the outside world but it is recommended to have his first outdoor experience short but fruitful one. This way, he’ll want it more and look forward to the next one.
Everyone is different, and cats are no exception. Some cats might be easier to train leash walking, but for some cats, it’s not their cup of tea. If the first outdoor experience didn’t turn out as planned, that’s okay. Don’t force your kitty to do things he’s not happy doing. Maybe he’s not yet ready or he’s not in a good mood that day, who knows? Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that the first trial didn’t go well, the next ones will be the same. You can try again and again, but make every trial more exciting as you go further by adding special treats. Take it easy on him and you’ll soon realize that it’s all worth it.
This training should be both comfortable to you and of course, to your cat. You need to start building a good foundation that you and your cat will enjoy doing together. Walking on a leash vary from cat to cat – while some learn faster, some may require extra attention (and patience). Startup with baby steps and reward them if they do something good. This will motivate them to do better in the future.
Walking on a leash especially outside is not a thing of every cat. Attempting to walk your cat on a leash outside without any consideration can be dangerous to him that’s why it’s very necessary to take some basics into account before anything so that it will be a successful bonding of you and your cat.