Last Updated on: April 20, 2023 by Crystal Uys
You might see all the videos and pictures across the web of cats enjoying outings just like dogs. You might also think that it requires special training to make a cat walk on a leash, but you might be pleasantly surprised to know just how easy it is to train them.
If you have a cat with wanderlust in its heart, taking them out to see the sights might be exactly what they need for enrichment. So here we’ll go over how easy it is to train your cat to walk on a leash and how to do so safely. Let’s discuss it!
Our 8 Tips to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash:
1. Take Personality Into Consideration
Some cats will be totally gung-ho about going out on a leash. They are curious to see the sights and smell the smells around town. Others, however, are not going to be all that thrilled.
We would much prefer snuggling up in our favorite window for a session of sunbathing and grooming rather than venturing out to the great unknown. So, if your cat is showing a lack of interest, the whole process might not work as expected.
However, most cats show somewhat of an interest in exploration, so you shouldn’t have much of a problem. Still, it’s best to take every individual cat into account.
2. Measure Your Cat!
Before starting the shopping process, you must measure your cat appropriately. Each leash and harness will have its own sizing chart, so it’s best to check the information on the commerce page.
Have a record of your cat’s measurements to match them to the sizing chart shown. Typically you’ll have to measure around your cat’s neck, chest, and down the length of the back.
3. Buy a Suitable Harness
Don’t underestimate the power of reviews when you’re trying to purchase your cat’s harness. You will see a lot of great marketing on pet websites, promising a satisfactory product. But we know the real results come from seeing what purchasing customers say.
Buy a harness that gets raving reviews from happy buyers and check all materials to make sure it’s up to par.
4. Practice Indoors First
You won’t want to take your cat out the first day you have your harness. They really need to warm up to the idea. We all know cats have a mind of their own and prefer independence. So, make it fun and make it seem like their idea.
When you try it on them, make sure to do so slowly and in a way that doesn’t evoke any stress response from your kitty. Allow them to smell, circle, and get used to it before even trying to put it on them. It might help to have a partner on hand for this portion, especially if your cat’s a little rambunctious.
Wearing a harness for the first time can be awkward and uncomfortable for your cat. Putting it on in the home and allowing your cat to begin the walking process inside your space can help.
5. Use Positive Reinforcement
Of course, your cat isn’t a dog and will require slightly different training. However, they have one thing in common—they love treats. Use a kitty’s favorite treat to persuade them to be a good sport about the process.
They might not thrive on praise as much, but they will certainly be motivated to comply. You can also use a trail of treats outdoors to encourage your cat to walk (and they’ll think it’s their idea.)
6. Make Sure the Weather Is Good
Pick a sunny, temperate day to explore the great outdoors. You won’t want your cat’s outdoor experience to be cold or rainy. It’s best to ensure the ground is dry, so they don’t get uncomfortable sensations on their feet.
7. Start Small
You could always expand your horizons later, but it is best to start small at first. Try to take a little jaunt around the backyard or on the sidewalk right in front of your home. Once your cat is familiar with the process, you can start taking longer walks, even ones away from home.
8. Keep Your Cat Safe
When you are taking walks with your cat, your primary responsibility is keeping them safe. Remember to obey road rules and watch bikes and other traffic. Also, remember that other cats and dogs in the neighborhood could draw attention toward your kitty.
Be ready to swoop your cat up if they are in any imminent danger. A loose dog on a mission can do a lot of damage. And even if they don’t, one scary event could alter your cat’s perception and make future walks challenging. So, just be mindful of your surroundings on walks.
Yes, it’s certainly true that walking your cat on a leash is entirely possible. However, it depends on your willingness to work with your cat and its personality. Most cats will acclimate and even enjoy taking walks and having adventures.
Remember, always buy a safety harness and leash that fits appropriately. If your cat is able to slip out, it can cause real trouble. Plus, you can avoid long delays with training due to returning merchandise.
Featured Image Credit: Amerigo_images, Shutterstock
About the author
Cat mom to Ivy – a feisty little rescue kitten that is her one and only child. For now! Throughout her life, she has been introduced to the special love that can be found in the bond with a cat. Having owned multiple felines, she is more than certain that their love is unmatched, unconditional and unlike any other. With a passion to educate the public about everything, there is to know about felines, their behavior, and their unique personalities, Crystal is devoted to making sure that all cats and their owners know the importance of conscious living – and loving!