Training your cat to walk on a leash
Just like dogs, cats can be trained to walk on a leash and there are many benefits to doing so.
With greater emphasis on keeping cats indoors and safe (from traffic and predators), many cats would not otherwise get to enjoy the great outdoors, unless they are provided with a cat enclosure.
Training your cat to walk on a leash is easiest when the cat is young. But it is important to take your time and don’t rush your cat.
Do not use a standard collar and leash on a cat as they can easily wriggle out of the collar if panicked. Use a cat harness instead. Look for a lightweight and comfortable harness.
- Start out by putting the harness on your cat for short periods of time. The harness should initially be placed loosely on the cat, and over time slowly tighten it until your cat is comfortable wearing the harness properly fitted. Extend the amount of time your cat spends in the harness. If your cat panics, back off and try again another day. Do not force the harness on a stressed or upset cat.
- Once your cat is comfortable wearing a harness, attach the leash and try walking around indoors at first. Do not pull on the cat, rather let the cat guide you.
- Once the cat is confident to walk with the harness and leash in the safety of your home, slowly introduce him to the outside world, preferably in the garden, if you have one. Avoid busy and noisy areas as this will stress the cat. Start out on short walks, and let your cat give you feedback.
Some cats will happily walk on a leash, others won’t. Patience and persistence are required, but if after several weeks or months, your cat still hasn’t accepted the harness, it may not be worth forcing the issue. Siamese, Orientals, and Bombay cats are all said to be quite adaptable to harness training.