How to Teach a Cat to Walk on a Leash
Many cat guardians
long to give their cats the excitement that being
outside brings. Sight, movements, sounds and smells
are enticing to cats. On the other hand, cat guardians
know that letting their cats outside without supervision
is NOT a good idea. Solutions for some guardians
include fencing their yard or using a large cat
playpen. If your cat enjoys the outdoors and you
want to find a compromise, try training your cat
to accept a harness and a lead.
- First, get your
cat used to wearing a harness indoors. A harness
is safer than a collar because it is more difficult
for a cat to get out of one. You can give her
smelly cat treats while she is wearing it or put
it on right before her mealtime to help her get
used to the new sensation. You can also have a
playtime with her favorite toy while she wears
it for the first time to distract her if she seems
at all bothered.
- Once she is used
to wearing the harness, attach a cord to the harness,
and let her drag it around so that she gets used
to the feel of tension on the harness.
- If your cat is comfortable
with it so far, pick up the lead in the house
and see if you can get her to follow you. You
may use cat treats or something that she really
likes to help coax her to follow along.
- Once she is comfortable
with all of the above steps, you can now go outside.
Make sure the first few times you lead your cat
outside that it is a quiet time of day and start
in the backyard or a place where there will less
activity. We do not want your cat to have a negative
reaction or be frightened by this new experience.
- Coax your cat to
walk along with you, offer her special treats.
You may also just sit someplace quiet in your
yard, and let her explore while you hold on firmly
to the end of the leash. Keep the first several
sessions short so she does not become overwhelmed.
If she seems scared or does not explore, pick
her up and take her back inside and try again
later. Some cats will love to actually go for
a walk, others will prefer to just stay in one
area and sniff
- Never leave your
cat outside unattended for his or her safety.
grass and woods are much more interesting to your
cat than a concrete sidewalk! Using a leash with
a harness makes it safer to take your cat outside
to give mental stimulation and possibly physical
exercise as well.