How to Train a Cat to Walk on a Leash
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Are you wondering how to train your cat to walk on a leash? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Teaching a cat to walk on a leash take some training and time, but in the end will result in a greater bond between you and your cat. It will also ensure that your cat does not run away and can enjoy exercising in a safe and comfortable environment.
We recommend starting leash training for cats when they are young, making it a habit from an early age. You will also have to consider that walking your cat on a leash will take time and will depend on the cat as an individual.
Here at AnimalWised we aim to give you our top 4 tips on achieving success with walking your cat. Above all, it is important that you offer your cat a calm environment and that you remain patient and positive. Keep reading to discover how to teach a cat to walk on a lead.
To begin with, you have to choose the correct cat harness. Do not ever think of taking your cat out with a simple collar and a leash. By doing this, you run the risk that your cat will get scared and become stressed. In addition, some collars can damage a feline's trachea, thereby hindering its normal ability to swallow. A harness distributes a cat's force between its shoulders, belly and chest: avoiding physical harm. The correct measurement must be taken at the outline of your cat's chest. Make sure that when buying the harness, the harness complies with this measurement.
It is also important that you choose an appropriate strap for your cat's harness, avoiding the ones used for dogs as they can harm your cat. We recommend contemplating the use of an elastic strap, allowing your cat more freedom and less pain in the case that it pulls.
As we mentioned at the beginning, before even contemplating the possibility of walking your cat with the leash, you will have to make sure that it feels comfortable when wearing a harness. In order to do this, place the harness on the cat while in the house for a couple of minutes a day, allowing it to familiarize itself with this body hugging object. Remember to always use positive reinforcement, praising your cat or giving it a treat every time it wears the harness. Once normalized, and you can tell that your cat is comfortable with the harness on, you can introduce it to the strap. This next procedure is the same as that with the harness, hook the strap and let it drag. Allow your cat to move freely with the harness and strap, awarding it and praising it appropriately.
Next, start holding the strap and follow your cat wants to go. Do not direct the cat yourself, as at first, they need to feel comfortable and familiarize themselves with these objects.
Preparing a cat to go outside with a lead can take some time, therefore it is necessary that you remain patient. The outside presents a cat with a lot of stimuli which can prove to be threatening and scary. Once in its harness hooked to the lead, open the door and slowly lead your cat outside, if they seem scared or hesitant, do not force it. Try this every day until they are comfortable.
The moment you get past the threshold of the door, make sure to reward your cat appropriately. Your first outings should be short, no longer than 6 minutes to be specific. If they are too long at the beginning, it may result in an anxious cat. In addition, it is important to make sure that the weather is appropriate for the walk, and that it is not raining. You want to give your cat the opportunity to gather and get used to all of its surrounding smells, without the interruptions of loud noises or weather complications.
Once your cat seems to be more comfortable, you can increase the lengths of the walks and start moving further away from home. But it is important to always let your cat to choose the path it wants to take, by accompanying the movement with your hand like a spectator.
Here are some tips to follow when teaching a cat to walk on a leash:
- Before starting this process, we suggest making sure that your cat's vaccination and deworming schedules are up to date. It is your obligation to ensure, not only the safety of others, but also that of your own pet. Remember that if a cat leaves a house and has not been vaccinated, they are immediately susceptible to catching diseases and infections which can be fatal.
- Watch your surroundings and avoid any things which might cause mental or physical harm to your cat.
- The goal of walking a cat away from home is for its enrichment, allowing it to explore new stimuli and build its relationship with its owner. But remember, it is not a dog, do not expect that one day you can release its leash. It is very unlikely, due to its nature, that a cat will reach that point of confidence and security.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Train a Cat to Walk on a Leash, we recommend you visit our Advanced education category.