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How to Train your Cat to Walk on a Leash

There has been an increase of people keeping their cats indoors in recent years. With many cats getting hit by cars, going missing and catching parasites, owners are scared of their cats being hurt. While cats can still live a full life and have fun indoors, the majority of cats love adventuring past the front door and exploring what else is out there.

Most indoor cats will still be excited by the idea of being in the outdoors. Walking your indoor cat on a leash will remove the risk of being hit by a car, disease, parasites and losing your cat while still getting the benefits of adventure and exercise. The amount of people walking their cats is on the rise and they are seeing the advantages of doing so. However, if you feel that your cat won’t walk on a leash then you are most likely right, but it’s worth giving it a go: your cat might surprise you!

Teaching your cat to walk on a leash

Invest in a harness made for cats. In order to make her comfortable wearing it, let her wear it a few times around the house so they can get used to their harness instead of making them walk with it on the first time they wear it. Don’t use their collar in place of a harness – if your kitty runs away then the collar might choke her and cats can easily escape from a collar if they want to.

Try attaching a leash and walking her around the house or in the garden once she’s used to the harness. You can encourage her to walk around by holding treats in front of her face or clicking your fingers in the area you want her to go. For example, if your cat begins to walk give them a treat as a reward. Also, you can hold treats and the harness up to your cat; when they’ve shown an interest in the harness give them a treat. This will train your cat into associating the harness with treats.

When your kitty is used to being in the harness, take her outside. Try to go somewhere quiet with little traffic and no other animals. Let your cat explore freely; don’t try and push them to go somewhere that they aren’t interested in going.

Expect it to not work immediately! Your cat may just want to sit down in the grass for a while, or they may only take a few steps and then want to go home. This isn’t unusual - keep taking your kitty outside and they may start going further and further.

Important to know

Don’t tie your cats leash to anything outside and leave them alone, for example; leaving them outside a shop so you can go in. This is dangerous because your kitty could escape the harness or become untied and run off, also, if they’re threatened by another animal they can’t defend themselves and they might get tangled in their leash and risk hurting themselves.

Also, be sure your cat doesn’t eat anything on the floor; it could give them an illness. Furthermore, don’t let your kitty climb up any trees as it’s too dangerous when they’re wearing a harness.

If your cat doesn’t cooperate and won’t let you walk them, consider a cat containment system which will let your cat explore the outside but won’t expose them to any risks.