It’s not just dogs that like being outside, cats love being outdoors too if given an opportunity. However, many cat parents avoid doing so due to safety reasons of them leaving the house and will not be able to find their way back. But have you thought of leash training your cat so they can get to experience the world around them and to stimulate their mind?
Just like dogs, you can train your cat to be comfortable with being on a leash. It is very natural for cats so start with slowly sensitizing your cat to the equipment. Some will take to it sooner than the others. Our cat Max doesn’t mind while others need time.
So here’s what you need to know: Leash training a cat is different from leash training a dog and therefore requires different equipment. Make sure you use equipment that is specifically designed for cats.
Yes to: a well-fitted cat harness
No to: a small dog harness
Yes to: A lightweight, nylon or cloth leash
No: chain leashes, flexi-type leashes
Don’t forget to have ID tags on your cat and vaccinations are up to date.
Now let’s get started!
Step 1: Get your cat used to wearing the harness indoors first.
Place the harness on your cat without the leash attached. Give him a treat or two with the harness on then slowly take the harness off. Only give treats when the harness is on, do not give treats when the harness is off. Repeat this process while gradually increasing the amount of time your cat wears the harness. You want this step to be as pleasant as possible to form a positive association with the equipment.
Step 2: Get your cat used to walking on the leash (without tension) indoors.
Once your cat is comfortable with the harness, attach the leash to the harness. Begin by allowing your cat to walk around as you follow with the leash loose. After a short time, remove the harness and leash and repeat this process for a few days until your cat is relaxed and freely walking.
Step 3: Get your cat used to leash tension indoors.
While supervising, allow your cat to drag the leash behind him or her while freely moving around your home. This will allow your cat to feel and get comfortable with a little bit of leash tension. Always make sure to supervise this and never leave a leash or harness on an unsupervised cat. Remember to take it slow and positively.
Step 4: Walk your cat indoors.
Put on the harness and leash and follow your cat as in Step 2. After the cat has walked a bit, gently try to lead your cat in another direction. Use treats either dropped on the floor or held in your fingers to lure your cat and then reward for moving if you need to. Reward your cat with praise and treats if he walks on his own, too! You can use mousse like treats to make it easier.
Step 5: Go Outside.
Start by walking your cat to the door, opening the door, and encouraging him to go outside. This can be the corridor of your apartment or your garden (to start with). To help with this, toss a treat or use the mousse tube and step outside with one-foot and lure your cat. If your cat is frightened or hesitant, do not force him to go out. Instead, stop for the day and try again later. Make sure to bring treats for your cat when walking outside. Keep the time spent outside to a few lovely minutes. When it comes to training, it is far better to end on a positive note than a negative one. Also consider no traffic area and safe from dogs, joggers or anything that might spook your cat.
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P.s. we have many cat-lovers in our community, so get in touch and let your cat meet his/her new best friend!