Cat on a Leash.

Can you walk your cat on a leash? Yes of course you can, maybe.

But why would you want to? After all folks who want to walk a pet on a leash usually get themselves a dog, but you for your sins, have a cat.

Some cats are strictly indoor cats, safe and sound from the dangers of traffic, and the risk of fights with other cats, dogs or other animals.

Indoor only cats are safe too from the risk of roaming off and getting themselves lost.

A cat whose home is a high rise apartment has little option but to be indoors all the time.

Other cats have the option to come and go as they please. Their owners provide a pet door for them to slip in and out of.

Cats that can explore the outside world are thought to suffer less psychological problems due to being confined within a house or apartment. Outdoor Cats are less likely to overeat through boredom.

Cat on a Leash - Best of both worlds.

Perhaps your cat is an indoor cat and always has been. But you have always known that kitty would love to explore the outside that she can see from the window.

You though, do not want to expose her to all the dangers that could await a cat in the outside world, especially a cat that is not used to it.

Walking your cat on a leash could provide you with the best of both worlds.

cat in a harness on a leashAlways use a harness. Never attach a leash to your cat’s collar.
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So how do you train your cat to walk on a leash? First you have a good long talk with yourself.

Tell yourself that this is going to take patience and time, your cat is not going to accept going for a walk on a leash just like that.

Secondly, tell yourself that, no matter how patient you are in the end your cat may still stubbornly refuse to be walked.

Cats are cats and all of them are individuals, most can be persuaded to walk on a leash but some may never do so.

You will need a harness for your cat. Do not attempt to leash train or walk your cat using a leash attached to your cat's collar, it would put your cat at risk.

Cats necks are flimsy compared with dogs' necks, you don't want a strain on your cat's neck when she resists the leash, which she will.

Your cat should be wearing a collar with an identification tag, even if she is an indoor only cat, but a collar is not suitable for leash training.

Get a harness designed for a cat, it will probably have a metal ring at the center to affix the leash away from your cat's neck.

The harness will need to fit securely without being over tight.

Your first task is to persuade your cat to tolerate wearing the harness, do this within the safety of your home so your cat cannot bolt off through the indignity of being encased in some strange contraption.

Don't expect your cat to accept the harness straight away.

No doubt your cat will squirm, wriggle and shy away from the harness, don't make a fuss just wait it out for another opportunity to try and slip it gently on your cat.

girl with cat on a leash
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Needless to say it will do no good to shout at your cat or give any sign that you are frustrated by her reluctance.

If it takes several sessions before you can fit the harness on kitty that is no problem.

Once you do have your cat in her harness give her plenty of praise.

Forget about attaching the leash at this stage.

Just let your cat get used to wearing her harness.

It is very possible that she will lie down and fuss at the strange thing that you have put her into.

If she does, just let her wear it for a few moments and then release her giving her plenty of praise.

In tomorrow's session you can try letting her wear it slightly longer.

If your cat is happy wearing the harness, encourage her to walk towards you by tempting her with a healthy treat.

Repeat this over several sessions, when your cat seems quite comfortable with wearing her harness you can move to the next step in her training.

OK, kitty is now happy to parade around your home wearing her harness.

Now try attaching her leash and letting her drag it around while you keep watch in case her leash should snag on something.

Your cat’s leash should be light but strong (nylon is good,) little kitty will not want to drag too much weight.

The next step in leash training your cat is for you to pick up the handle end and follow your cat around.

Do not try to guide her by pulling at the leash, keep the lead slack, use encouraging words to entice kitty to move around.

If your cat sits or lies down, pulls at the leash or stops dead in her tracks, then you stop too. Wait until she is ready to move on again and then continue.

If your cat clearly does not want to continue her leash training, then simply unhook the leash and take off her harness, give her praise and resume at her next session.

Outside With Your Cat on a Leash 

Congratulations, your cat has got used to walking around indoors, wearing her harness, with you at the other end of the leash.

Time to try and walk your cat on the leash outside. If you have a grassed area or yard this is the place to start.

Pick as quiet a time as possible, there will be plenty of sounds and smells that your cat is not used to especially if up to now she has been a strictly indoor cat.

Just make it a short session at first, likely your cat will not want to walk but instead will be investigating all those new smells.

Be patient, before you know it you and your cat will be out and about.

Don’t expect your cat to be trotting beside you for miles like a dog. Walking your cat is a different experience, more like letting your cat investigate where she wants with you in control enough to keep her out of trouble.

Your cat will benefit from all that fresh air, not be bored with being indoors all the time and likely use her litter box less.

If after all your effort your cat simply does not take to walking on a leash it’s no failure, some cats will not be persuaded. If your cat is young you can always try leash training again when she is a little older.

Cat Psychology : Listen to your cat.
Cat psychology should help us recognize that when a cat misbehaves she is often only trying to tell us something. Perhaps we should listen.

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