A General Guideline On How To Train Your Cat To Be Walked With A Leash And Harness
Typically speaking, most cat owners keep their cats indoors. But, did you know that you can train your cat to walk on a leash? It’s true! Dogs are not the only domesticated animals that you can train to take on walks. However, training your cat to go on walks can be difficult.
This article will serve as a brief guideline to training your cat to walk on a leash. This includes the do’s & don’ts of leash training, the equipment you will need, and how to make it an enjoyable experience for both you and your cat.
Evaluate Your Cat
Keep in mind that this training will take some time and results may vary. All cats are different and not every cat will be inclined to go for walks. Therefore, only attempt to train your cat to walk with a leash if they are outgoing, adventurous, and enjoy being outside.
Not all cats are going to be good candidates for leash training and that’s fine. The important thing to remember is not to force your cat into this. Taking your cat for walks should be a pleasurable experience, not a forced experience.
Step 1: Harness
Invest in a quality cat harness that fits your cat. For more info on the best cat harnesses on the market, click here. Put the harness on your cat while indoors. When you do, give your cat a treat. This is so your cat associates the harness with rewards. Only give your cat treats while wearing the harness.
Let your cat wear the harness indoors for about 10 minutes, then take it off. Each time you put the harness on, gradually increase the amount of time they wear it. You want your cat to become accustomed and comfortable with wearing the harness. Establishing a positive relationship between your cat and their harness is essential!
Step 2: Leash
Once your cat has become more comfortable and accustomed to wearing the harness, attach the leash to said harness. Then, allow your cat to walk around freely as you follow with the leash. The key is to keep the leash loose and without tension. You don’t want your cat to feel you pulling or they might resist.
After a few minutes, remove the leash and harness. Repeat this process at least once a day over the course of a few days. Again, use treats when your cat is wearing the harness and leash to establish a positive and reward based relationship with this equipment.
Step 3: Indoor Tension
While supervising your cat, allow them to walk around the house with harness and leash on. Allowing the leash to drag behind them will create a minor amount of tension. You want your cat to slowly become accustomed to this minor tension. Again, use treats to reward them when doing this.
However, always supervise your cat when doing this. They could easily become stuck somewhere when having the leash drag behind them. Additionally, be sure to not let your cat play with the leash. You don’t want them to think that the leash is a toy to play with.
Step 4: Indoor Walks
Once your cat becomes more comfortable with the leash tension, try walking them indoors. Let them do most of the walking, but occasionally and gently guide them in different directions. Use treats to lure and/or reward them for following your change of direction.
It’s important to remember that this is a marathon, not a race. This process will take a considerable amount of time compared to a dog. Be patient, considerate, and supportive of your cat during this whole process. With the right attitude and attention to detail, your cat will be leash trained in no time!
Step 5: Outside Walks
The final step to this training is to take your cat for a walk outside. Pick a day with good weather and a comfortable temperature to walk your cat. Then, walk your cat to the door and lure them outside with a treat. If your cat is hesitant or afraid, do not force them. Stop and try again another day.
Once they are comfortable with going outside, take treats with you. Spend a few minutes outside walking your cat around the front or back yard. Keep this outdoor walk short and gradually increase the duration with each outdoor walk. Over time, they will slowly feel more comfortable with these outdoor walks. Finally, always end these sessions on a positive note with a treat and some attention.
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