How to train your cat to walk on leash

Question: Do you think it’s a good idea to take my cat for walks? There are harnesses and leashes for cats at the pet supply store.

Well, it depends very much on your cat. If you have a couch potato or a cat that’ll hide a under the bed at the slightest change in routine, better not. If you have an outgoing cat though, then you may be able to give it a try. For the most part, cat walking looks like a nope:


Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash

Let’s assume you have a cat who may be a prospect for walking, or maybe a kitten you can raise to accept a walk as part of the normal routine. Get a harness made for cats, because a cat can, and will slip out of one made for a dog. Make sure to introduce your cat to it slowly, let your cat play with and smell it. When your cat seems comfortable having the harness around, work up to short periods with it on.


Walking a cat isn’t like walking a dog. While you train a dog to go where you go without pulling you off your feet, walking a cat is really about accompanying a cat while it wanders around. Try it in the house first to get your cat used to having a leash, then graduate to exploring your own safe yard.


If all goes well, it’s time to go for a real walk. Be aware that you accompany the cat and consider the possible damage a terrified cat can inflict. You want to be sure any place you walk is unlikely to have dogs, especially loose ones.


If there is a chance your cat could come into contact with other cats, you’ll want to make sure your cat has been vaccinated properly, so talk to your veterinarian about how to protect your cat from transmitted diseases. That’ll save you quite some trouble if something were to happen.


You’re probably not going to engage in any extensive nature hikes with your cat, but more like going a couple hundred meters in any direction from your front door.


Consider the Other Options

I’m guessing by now you’ve realized why most cats don’t get walked. Harnesses and leashes are probably more often used as safety devices to prevent a cat from escaping when you’re going somewhere like a vet, or travel.


More likely than not your cat will be happy if it never sees a harness, much less wears one. If all you’re trying to accomplish is getting your indoor cat some access to the outside, perhaps just opt for a roomy patio.

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