Leash walking is a great way to experience the outdoors with your cat. Besides the exposure, walking is also great for your pet’s health as it helps your pet to get more exercise. However, you cannot just get up and go walk your cat on a leash; your cat first needs to be trained to behave well while on a leash. Therefore, I’ll show you how to train a cat to walk on a leash in this article.
Important Things To Note And Do
Before you begin leash training your feline friend, there are several things you should note about cats as the unique animals they are. The first is your pet’s health and physical state. Is your cat free of any illness, and is he old enough to walk long distances? It’s best to check with your vet for confirmation if you are unsure.
The next is the material you’ll need, which is the leash. As with every other product, there are many leashes in the market, making picking the perfect one difficult.
Nevertheless, go for a leash that is made using safe materials and is durable. It should be able to fit around your pets’ neck without causing any discomfort.
With these things checked, here’s how to leash train your cat for walking;
1. Introduce The Leash
As it is new, your cat would see the leash as something foreign and try to secure herself. This is why you must first introduce it to your cat, so she understands it is harmless.
Carry the leash along whenever you both want to play and let her play with it. You can also drop it in her favorite places like her bed or beside her food. She needs to keep seeing it and get used to it being around her.
To make it easier, you can get a leash that’s her favorite color or rub her favorite scent on it and let her sniff it.
2. Try To Put The Leash On
When your cat is used to seeing the leash around, it’s time to put it on. It’s best to do this when your cat is distracted, so she doesn’t notice what is going on.
You can quickly put the leash on when you’re both playing or when she’s getting prepared to eat. In one way, it’ll make her feel like the leash is part of the good time she’s about to have.
If you succeed in putting it on, take it off immediately if your pet shows any sign of not wanting it. The last thing you need is for your cat to feel threatened by the leash.
3. Let Your Cat Walk Freely With The Leash
After putting the leash on, your pet should walk and go about her normal activities with the leash on. Don’t try holding it and pulling so she doesn’t feel the tension at this early stage.
A leash on your pet might make your pet feel as if she’s carrying an extra load. By letting her walk freely with the leash several times, she’ll get used to the feeling on her skin and also the little weight it adds to her.
However, she should walk freely with the leash only indoors. While outdoors, you’ll always need to hold the leash, so she doesn’t get the wrong impression she is free to go where she pleases.
4. Reward Your Cat With Treats
Treats are always useful when you’re training your pet to do something new; it’s always part of the process. Giving your cat treats frequently as you train keeps your cat happy and motivates her to continue.
It would be best to give her treats at strategic times, so it appears as a reward. For example, give her some treats immediately after you succeed in putting the leash on her.
If she’s walking around with the leash and stops at some point, give her treats to encourage her to continue.
5. Practice Short Walks
You want to train your pet to walk on a leash, and this is the point where the walking begins. Your pet must be used to walking around with the leash by herself.
Please pick up the leash when she’s walking and follow her lead. At first, don’t try to pull her in any direction, but she should feel your presence around her.
Walk with her indoors, and you can step outside but only within your compound, places that she’s familiar with.
After following her lead for some time and she’s not bothered with you walking beside her, you can take control by pulling the leash and leading the directions.
6. Go Outside
At this point, you are ready to step outside. As you step out, it’s still necessary to take things slowly, most especially if you have an indoor-only cat.
Your walks don’t have to be very far from your home. As you’ve started from your compound, gradually increase the distance by walking around your neighborhood and so on.
If your pet is entirely new to outdoor life, select a quiet and safe area to walk. It should be free from too much noise, and there shouldn’t be many people, so she doesn’t get agitated.
Also, now your cat is going outdoors, you will need to learn how to keep an outdoor cat safe as there are many dangers on the road. See the video below for more tips.
7. Be Patient And Consistent
Do you know how cats learn? There are several ways, one of which is repetition. Your pet isn’t going to grab everything listed above in a day. It could take weeks and in some times months; it all depends on how fast your cat can learn.
Therefore, there’s a need for you to be patient all through the training period. Be consistent by training your cat every day and ideally at the same time.
8. Avoid Using Force
Cats do not learn from applying force; you should know this as a cat owner. So, if you’re cat isn’t willing to be leashed trained, you shouldn’t force him to go through with it.
Also, during training, if your pet does something you don’t like, don’t physically punish him. According to VCA Hospitals, physical reprimands are the least possible forms of cat punishment.
Even worse, it could make your pet disinterested in wearing the leash.
By following the simple tips on how to train a cat to walk on a leash discussed above, you can get your pet to enjoy the outdoors with you. Please share our post on how to leash train your cat for walking with others if you found it useful.