Walking a cat on a leash may seem as exotic as, say, strutting around with a python draped around your shoulders—but it’s entirely normal and natural. Sure, many cats might need some extra convincing that you’re not entrapping them, but leash training cats can definitely evolve into a mutually beneficial experience.
A Furry Space Bubble
This probably goes without saying, but it’s a good idea to give Fluffy his or her space when it comes to new ideas. If your feline has always been an apartment-dwelling cat, it’s quite possible that walking down the avenues together is the very last thing on his or her “to-do” list. To be sure, many cats just don’t feel safe or comfortable outside the home. Please don’t force the situation.
However, if you’re the lucky owner of an easy-going, adventurous feline or a fairly young cat who’s open to new experiences, you’re poised for success.
A Critical Component
Leash training cats is easier when you have the right get-up-and-go gear. There are lots of harnesses to choose from, and the most common have adjustable straps or look like a jacket. It comes down to your cat’s own unique preference and what will be safest for him or her.
Introduce the high-quality harness to your cat during a relatively happy moment, such as after a meal or nap. Have him or her try it on. This may take some doing, but with patience and perseverance, you’ll get it right. The fit should be snug, but leave enough space between your cat’s body and the harness for two fingers.
Some cats simply don’t know what to do when wearing a harness. Offer scrumptious, nutritious treats during the process to create a positive association. Slowly increase the time your cat wears the harness each day (inside only, of course), and try to distract him or her with playtime and snuggles. You’ll be amazed at your cat’s newfound confidence!
When the time is right, attach the leash to the harness and allow him or her to get used to the feeling. We’ve seen elastic leashes that allow for limited roaming and fixed-length leashes. Again, it’s a matter of personal preference.
Get Ready for Fanfare
The big, wide world can be super scary. Restricting outdoor experiences when leash training cats is one of the best ways to ensure success. When your cat proves that he or she can handle the sights, smells, and sounds, try venturing to other locales. Consider driving to a park or outside the city to give your cat varied impressions of the natural world.
Leash Training Cats is Enriching
Creating an opportunity for your otherwise indoor-only cat to go outside is one of life’s greatest gifts. Similarly, if you have a cat who likes to dart out the door, leash training is a great solution.
If you’re having trouble getting your cat to embrace leash training, we encourage you to contact us with questions or concerns.