Cats have a reputation of being independent and stubborn. A lot of people also mistakenly believe that they do not like being outdoors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only are some cats happier outdoors, but they can also be leash trained too. Yes, you read that correctly. Cats really can be leash trained.
There are exceptions to every rule. We have seen cats that, no matter how hard their owners have tried, just won’t submit to a cat harness and a leash. But we’re talking exceptions to the rule here. By and large, cats are receptive to being walked on a leash if you approach training the right way.
Cats Are Not Dogs
Ask any cat lover and they will affirm that cats and dogs are not the same thing. We know that just by looking at them. But beyond physical appearance, cats and dogs have different mannerisms. They behave in different ways. So why do so many cat owners, hoping to get their feline fur babies outdoors, try to walk them like dogs?
Before you ever introduce your pet to a cat harness, know this: a harness is not the same thing as a collar. You can put a collar on a dog, attach a leash to it, and go for a walk. Harnesses are better, the collars will do. Not so for a cat.
Felines are very adept at escaping from collars. Their anatomy makes escaping fairly simple. Try to walk your cat with a collar and you are going to wind up chasing her down the street and watching her while she climbs a tree. If you want to leash train your feline friend, you will need a cat harness at the very least. A complete walk kit for cats would be even better.
Follow the Process
The folk at Voyager Harness say there is a detailed and proven process for leash training cats. Don’t be a hero. Follow the process rather than trying to do it on your own. You and your kitty will be much happier this way. Without getting into the actual details, here is a brief explanation of the process:
- Introduction – Introduce the harness and leash to your cat by placing it in places she frequents. Maybe leave it with her toys or next to her bed. You want her to see the harness and leash and know they are nothing to be afraid of.
- Put the Harness On – Once your kitty is familiar with the harness, try putting it on. Just watch for cues suggesting fear or discomfort. Any such cues are a reason to take it off and try again later on.
- Attach the Leash – When your kitty is content to wear her cat harness, attach the leash. However, don’t pull on it. Follow her around until she gets used to it. Then you are ready for your first trip outdoors.
Walking outdoors with a cat harness and leash can be tricky. Again, you want to avoid pulling on the leash as much as possible. Go slow and let your cat take the lead. If she shows any signs of fear, go back indoors and try again a few days later. With enough practice, she should get used to the idea and might even start looking forward to your walks.
Most indoor cats learn to welcome the opportunity to go outside. Not only that, regular exercise and fresh air are good for your cat’s health. If you’ve been wanting to get your furry friend out, be confident in the fact that most cats can be leash trained. Go slowly, follow the proven approach, and see what happens.