How to Train a Cat to Walk on a Leash
Walking a cat on a leash is a relatively new trend, and it is certainly one that is growing. Opinions are divided as to whether this is appropriate for our feline friends, but there is no denying the fact that many people have had success getting their cat to walk alongside them on day trips while attached to a leash.
If you like the idea of being able to take your cat out when you visit new places while keeping it safe, then training it to walk on a leash is a good idea. But remember, not all cats will take to leash walking. If your cat is distressed by being in a cat harness, you might have to forget about it.
Start Training at Home
According to those at Voyager Harness, before even trying to take your cat outside on a leash, it is important to get it used to wearing a harness. Make sure you buy a harness appropriate for the cat’s size and ensure it fits well. Something to remember in terms of walking a cat is that a leash should never be attached to a cat collar. Cat’s throats are much softer than dogs so a leash on a collar could cause injury.
Your cat might fret a bit the first time that you place the harness over its head, so be sure to have plenty of treats on hand. The best way to get the cat used to the harness is to associate it with reward. So, only give it treats when the harness is on. Once you take the harness off, stop giving the treats.
Each time you put the harness on, you should give treats and increase the amount of time that you leave it on. The cat should soon get used to wearing it.
When your cat does not resist the harness, you should attach the leash. Let it run about dragging the leash behind it so as to get used to it. It is likely to play with the leash in the beginning.
Training the Cat to Walk on the Leash
Once you are sure that the cat is used to both the harness and the leash, you can begin holding the leash while it walks about the house. Follow the cat with a loose leash and continue to walk this way for a few days.
When it is comfortably walking with you on a loose leash, you can start to use some tension to lead the cat one way and then another. Never pull the leash too hard. The idea is to use tension to guide it in the direction you want it to go. You can use treats to get the cat to move in the direction you want.
If you have your own yard, you can practice walking outside here before you head further afield. Never force the cat outside if it is reluctant to go. Even after walking fine inside for weeks, your cat may not like to be outside on a leash. Cats like to explore when they are outside, and they will usually run and hide if they are alarmed in any way. This is not possible when on a leash, so some cats will become distressed by this lack of control.
The best way to get your cat used to walking outside is to teach it inside first. Some cats love being on a leash, but others are genuinely stressed out when placed in a harness. You should never force your cat to walk on a leash, and you should follow their lead in the matter.