Setting up a leash training cat routine that actually works can be very difficult, particularly since cats are known for their independent and unique personalities.
If you’d like to attempt to teach your feline friend to walk on a leash, check out the tips listed below.
Find the perfect harness
The right kind of equipment can make a world of difference when it comes to leash training, whether with a cat or a dog. In most cases, collars should be used for cats for identification purposes, and not for walking.
The Rufus & Coco Studded Cat Collar is a great option for pet parents who need a bit of peace of mind when they aren’t home and their cats prefer taking a stroll through the neighbourhood rather than being cooped up indoors.
In general, using a leash and collar on a cat can potentially be harmful. If your cat pulls too hard all of a sudden, she can inflict harm on her larynx.
If you try our own Soft Mesh Cat Harness, for example, your cat will be comfortable and at ease, and you’re also assured that she isn’t going to be harmed in any way.
Get your cat used to the harness
As much as you might want to take your pet out for a walk right away, the truth is that some cats might never get accustomed to wearing a harness, especially if they’ve also never even worn a collar.
So, it's safe to say that it’s a better idea to keep the harness around and fasten it on your cat’s body several times a day until she gets used to the idea of wearing it. Once that happens, you can leave it on her body for several hours and gauge her reaction.
Attaching the leash
Once your cat is fully comfortable moving while wearing the harness, you can begin practising leash walking. This needs to be done indoors first since, again, you have to assess your pet’s reactions.
If the leash is longer than necessary, you can simply hold it in such a way so as to keep your cat as close to you as possible. As your cat’s comfort levels increase, you can extend it and leave your pet to walk farther from you.
To make sure that your cat gets used to the harness and leash easier, you can use positive reinforcement and treats. Talk to your cat. Many pets react well to hearing their owners’ voice, since they know that nothing bad can happen to them when you’re around.
Praise your cat and give her treats when you see that she is getting more and more comfortable. Never leave the harness and leash on for more than several minutes if you see that your cat is frightened or gets agitated. It doesn’t take much for your cat to begin hating these accessories, and then you will never be able to teach her how to walk on a leash.
Go for a walk near your home or in your yard
Once your cat has gotten used to the harness and leash, you can go out for your first walk. However, for safety purposes, you should try to limit the outing time-wise and keep it in a safe space, such as your yard or right near your home.
Let your cat walk freely and coax her into continuing to do so by giving her treats or toys.
Real Fish Crunchers are an excellent choice for training as they are not only made with healthy ingredients, but they’re also tasty, so your cat will easily love them. Plus, they have no added flavourings, colourings, or preservatives, meaning they are completely safe for pets.
Be prepared for anything
Some cats, especially those that are used to indoor living, might not react well to being outdoors, especially for a long time. Pay as much attention to your pet’s behaviour as possible to see whether, at any point, she becomes uncomfortable.
Moreover, you should consider that cats that go outdoors are more exposed to both internal and external parasites, and they can also pick up other diseases from other animals or the environment.
Avoid walking your cat in busy areas where there might be a lot of traffic, other people, pets, and children, especially if your pet isn’t used to spending time outdoors and in the presence of strangers. These things can all be scary to a cat.
Keep your expectations realistic
Some cats might never learn how to walk on a leash. There isn’t a good or a bad time to start leash training, but it's generally assumed that younger animals are better at learning than adult and geriatric cats.
If you try to teach your cat to walk on a leash for several months and you see no progress, there is a possibility that she might never learn how to do it.