Why should dogs get all the fun? Many indoor cats would love to go outside and indulge in the sunshine but it is often far too dangerous to let them simply wander around as they
please. Busy roads, large dogs as well as thoughtless people are hazards a lot of us don’t want our cats exposed to. So why not train your cat to walk on a leash?
Many people believe that you cannot train your cat to walk on a leash. It’s true that some cats will absolutely have nothing to do with the whole business. They apparently think it is entirely beneath them to be seen out of doors on a leash like a dog!
However, most cats are prepared to entertain the idea and some who actually come to like their walks. There really isn’t any way of knowing which way your cat will turn out unless you try.
What will you need?
The first thing you will need is a properly fitting harness and a light weight leash.
It doesn’t need to be fancy, just sturdy and well made. Trying to teach your cat with only
a collar is not a good idea. Pressure around their necks seems to make some cats freeze. You want to teach him to move forward, not lock in place. The second thing you will
need is a bag of treats. Preferably something he really likes but doesn’t often get. The third thing you will need to train your cat to walk on a leash is lots and lots of patience.
Start off slowly
Begin training inside your home. Do not take your cat outside until he or she is walking freely and comfortably along with you on their leash. Place the harness on your cat and let
them get accustomed to it. If your cat is especially timid, you might want to leave the harness where he or she can investigate it and get used to seeing it first before you put it on them.
Leave the harness on your cat for ten to fifteen minutes a day for the first few days.
Later that period can be raised to fifteen to twenty minutes. Give one or two treats during the time they are wearing the harness so that he or she associates it with good things. When your cat is fully comfortable with the harness, add the leash in the same manner, and allow them to drag it around for a while. Slowly increase the time over several days, and don’t forget the treats!
Teach your cat to follow you
After a week or so, your cat should be comfortable wearing both harness and leash. Pick up the end of the leash and just hold it. Don’t try to lead him anywhere. If the cat moves around, follow them about. Do this exercise for a few minutes a day until your cat is comfortable with it. Now comes the big step, teaching them to follow where you lead.
Place your cat to your side, your leash should be in your left hand. Let your arm hang relaxed at your side. Now take a treat in your right hand. Turn toward your cat and show them the treat. Now take a couple of steps forward, continuing to show the treat. Take a couple more steps. If he or she follows to your new position, give them their treat and a lot of praise. However, if they are reluctant to move forward, place the treat closer to the cat. If they take a step, give praise and also the treat.
In the event that your cat doesn’t want to move forward no matter what you do, don’t drag them. Pick up the cat and take them somewhere else to take off the harness. Do not give a treat since they didn’t do as you asked. This is where you will need plenty of patience. Keep repeating the lesson every day, encouraging the cat to move further each time.
Train your cat to walk on a leash outdoors
When your cat is walking freely on leash with you all over the house, it’s time to take them outside. Begin in the back yard if you have one, if not choose a spot that is safe and quite as close to home as possible. In the event that you cat freezes and refuses to move, don’t panic. Reassure the the cat that it is safe and take them back inside. Try again the next day. If they try to off off on there own you can easily check them with your leash. Again start off slowly for a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the time and take your cat further out. Before long you will be able to take nice long walks wherever you choose.