If you live in an urban area, it is possible that going outdoors means your cat needs to be on a leash. Although many cats are hesitant to learn to walk on a harness and leash at first, most can be taught with some patience and a few tricks of the trade.
What You Will Need
If you are going to teach your cat to walk with a harness and leash, you’ll need a harness that is specially designed for cats. Unlike dog harnesses, cat harnesses are often wider and designed to comfortably support a cat’s smaller body. Additionally, cat harnesses offer a leash attachment ring that is located on the back rather than the neck. This helps reduce the risk of injury and makes learning to walk on a harness and leash more pleasant for Kitty.
Once you have purchased a harness that fits your cat, it’s time to find a leash. A kitty leash should be long enough to comfortably reach your hand while you are walking fully erect alongside the cat. You should not have to stoop or crouch to avoid pulling on the cat’s harness.
Teaching the Cat to Wear the Harness and Leash
Cats are often doubtful about the prospect of a harness at first, so it is wise to let them get used to the feeling of the harness for a few days before expecting them to walk anywhere while wearing it. Put the harness on Kitty at home and let her get used to the feeling in the comfort of her own home. Chances are the cat will attempt to pull the harness off and may glance back often, confused about the new feeling. Trust that most cats work their confusion out quickly and soon adapt to the feeling of the harness.
Once your cat is comfortable wearing the harness at home, attach the leash and allow Kitty to drag it around for a few moments to get the feel of having something attached to the harness. Once the cat is used to the leash, pick up the handle of the leash, walk off and use treats to entice the cat to follow you. Be sure to execute these exercises with plenty of praise and positive reinforcement. Although it may take a while, cats trained in this manner will eventually learn to walk on a leash much like a dog.
Once the cat is comfortable with both the harness and the leash, there is a whole world of possibilities available to you and your feline friend. You can take Kitty for walks downtown or simply enjoy an evening stroll around the block. Cats love being outside and it is likely that being on a leash will be a fun and exciting adventure for your kitty. No matter what you choose to do, you can rest assured that your beloved cat will be safe and sound in the great outdoors once she has been trained to walk in a harness and leash.