Outdoor adventures are always so exciting (even if it’s just in the backyard or on the porch) and it can be even better if you can share it with your furry friend. But first, you’ll have to teach him how to walk on a leash.
We often associate this activity exclusively with dogs, but cats can be trained just as easily as dogs.
How To Train Your Cat To Walk On A Leash
Even though cat behavior seems totally different than that of dogs, we can use similar techniques while training. How To Train Your Cat To Walk On A Leash
1. Introduce the harness
Most cats will react more favorably to a harness rather than a collar. It’s much less restrictive and doesn’t feel like they’re being yanked around by their neck. The key is a positive experience. You can start by leaving the leash next to the food and every time he sniffs, rewards him with treats. Then try to wear the harness but without fastening. The best time is before the meal so that the dinner will distract him and won’t focus on that. If he feels comfortable then it’s time to fasten it and adjust the fit.
2. Attach the leash
Now you can start walking around the house before you take him outdoors. It’s completely normal for some cats to freeze up or refuse to walk the first few times they’re wearing a harness. Let him take the lead and Allow him to wander where he wishes while you are gently holding onto the handle. How To Train Your Cat To Walk On A Leash
You don’t know how your cat will react to that, so you have to be persistent, but also patient.
3. Going Out
If your cat is struggling with it, start out with smaller walks, and build up to longer excursions. If your cat’s interaction with the outdoors is only through the window, he will be stressed at first. You can start in your backyard and gradually make the walks longer. Stay beside him and let him decide when he’s ready to do a little exploring.
Keep the leash loose and follow behind your cat, but don’t force him to venture farther than he’s ready.
Additional Tips for perfect walks
- Don’t forget the treats. They will be a distraction for your cat, but they will also associate a positive type of reinforcement with this experience. Then you will trim the treats gradually and get rid of them as your cat gets more comfortable.
- Keep an eye on your cat. You have to be really careful while walking with your cat and always make sure that he won’t lick or eat anything. They could come across something that could be potentially poisonous or harm them in some way.
- Avoid Climbing on trees. Climbing a tree is not a good idea when tethered to a leash. He is not used to being tied and he can get easily injured, as he can miscalculate the margin of the leash.
The key to purrfect walks on a leash is patience. Before taking your cat outside you should also visit your vet, for some extra tips. Share with us your thoughts or photos of your cat walking on a leash in the comments below to be featured on our social media. How To Train Your Cat To Walk On A Leash
Photo Shoot: Zoë Gayah Jonker