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How to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

Are you interested in learning how to train your cat to walk on a leash?

Getting into a harness and outside can be different for every cat. Make sure you are fully prepared with a leash, harness, and these tips to keep your kitten or cat comfortable and safe.

Keep reading to learn about the most effective tips on training your cat to walk on a leash.

It All Starts with a Leash and Harness…

The two things you will need to walk your cat are a leash and a harness. Make sure that they are comfortable and the appropriate size for your pet when purchasing. Since your kitten or cat must be content in their harness before walking outdoors, purchasing a cozy and well-fitted harness will speed up the training process.

You don’t want to use a cat collar in place of a harness. As you may learn while teaching your cat, they can become nervous and fidgety while outside leading them to pull on the leash. Cats are highly more likely to slip out of a collar than with a harness.

Steps for Training Your Cat

Successful leash and harness training begins with these steps. Make sure to master each step completely before moving to the next. Your cat will gain confidence walking on a leash, and both of you will become more comfortable over time.

  1. Purchase your supplies: A leash and harness are the only two things you will need (and maybe some treats, too!). Measure your cat’s chest before going to the pet store to find the best fit. An adjustable harness is perfect for a kitten that is still growing.
  2. Introduce your Cat to the Harness: Before you can put your cat into the harness, make sure he or she is comfortable with it (this may take a couple days). Place the harness next to his or her water/food bowl or a common sleeping spot. There may be a lot of sniffing and playing here.
  3. Place your Cat into the Harness: The best time to put your cat’s harness on is right before mealtime. Two fingers should fit comfortably between the harness and fur. Give lots of attention and treats to encourage your cat to feel comfortable.
  4. Attach the Leash: After having your cat wear the harness for a few hours a day, attach the leash when you feel he or she is comfortable. Let them run around the house dragging the leash along, but be careful that it doesn’t snag around furniture.
  5. Hold On to the Leash: Again, after having the leash on for a few hours a day, start to hold onto the leash as if walking the cat indoors. Don’t restrict your cat’s movement and allow him to lead first. Once he or she is comfortable, you may begin to lead the walk around the house.
  6. Begin Your Walking Outdoors: Take your first outdoor excursion! It is best to start out small, maybe taking a brief walk in the backyard. Remember your cat is sensitive to noise and other animals (especially dogs), so comfort them and go back inside if they become too afraid.
  7. Practice, Practice, Practice: You won’t be running around the block together on day one. Take slow steps allowing your cat to feel comfortable, and then taking charge of direction while your cat is walking on a leash. Over time, your kitty will become well acquainted with the outdoors.

If you feel at any time your cat is uncomfortable with the current step, go back one. It is much more beneficial for harness training if you let you cat tell you when they are ready.

Patience: All Cats are Unique Beings

All cats are different, and for this reason they all become acclimated with the outdoors in different ways. You may know from experience some cats are much more willing to run out the front door than others.

When you’re learning how to train your cat to walk on a leash, take as much time as both you and your kitty may need. All cats can react differently at various stages during training.

Most importantly: if you try to force harness training onto your cat too aggressively, you will lose. In fact, any force can erase all the steps you’ve taken thus far and lead you cat or kitten to distrust you. And we don’t want that!

Feel free to comment below sharing your own experiences of training your cat to walk on a leash! 

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