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How to teach a cat to walk on a leash?

author Lucy Byrne | Care and raising

If cats don’t like anything, it’s when someone forces them to do something. And even worse, if they are limited in their movement. They are wild and unfettered animal that love freedom more than anything. Even domestic cats are like that. Give them enough space and time to get used to the novelty and do not force them at all.

The cat needs to get used to the whole thing. Some cats may be already used to anti-parasitic collars or a calm collar. Can that be made use of? Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that a leash won’t be a significant problem for them.

It is generally recommended to rather go for the combination of a harness and a leash. Does that seem weird? A harness might be a brand-new thing for the cat (and we all know they don’t like novelties) but the same applies to harnesses and cats as to harnesses and dogs – it is the best solution with regard to their safety.

Before you go outside with your cat, get your cat used to the harness at home. The sooner the kitten gets familiarized with the harness, the less it will protest against wearing it. Put it somewhere and leave it there, so the cat can sniff it and maybe it will successfully ignore it. Trust me, it will know about that new thing at home. And it will be thinking about what you’re preparing.

In a convenient moment when the cat is active during the day, try to put the harness on and observe its reactions. Behave like nothing strange is going on and play with the cat as you usually do. Repeat the experiment the next day. And continue doing this until the cat doesn’t even know it is wearing something. You can try walking on a leash at this moment.

It is very likely that if you put a cat on the leash, it will give you “you’re kidding me, right?” look. Do not make the first experience with the leash longer than necessary and repeat it in a day or two. Similarly to dogs, you can motivate your cat with treats which you might give it before you put it on a leash.

When it is ready to go out, expect that if it’s the first walk of your cat, it will be a bit surprised about anything. The best option is to take it into your arms (or into a crate) – also because of dogs in the neighbourhood which might not be fans of cats and carry it to a safe place where it can explore the surroundings. Avoid places where people walk dogs.

Always use common sense and intuition. If you can see that the cat doesn’t feel very well, it’s better to go home. Even though it is inquisitive, you shouldn’t overdo this. Also, take a few treats with you when going outside. After all, the cat deserves a reward for the courage.

And a last piece of advice for the end. If you start going for regular walks, pay attention to the protection against parasites such as dog-fleas, etc. Then, you can only enjoy your adventures together:).

What about you? Have you tried taking your cats outside on a leash? How did they react?